As we look forward to Labor Day, it’s not only a day to relax and enjoy some time off with our families, but it is also a day for all Americans to reflect on the tremendous job and sacrifices that our Veterans, our Service Members and their families endure for us on a daily basis. Secretary Solis and I believe strongly that Veterans deserve good jobs – meaningful and successful careers. We are working harder and smarter to help Veterans to achieve their full potential. That is why the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) has mobilized to provide better training opportunities and increase awareness among employers of the valuable skill sets that Veterans bring to the table.
The Department of Labor recognizes that the skills obtained during an individual’s military service can meet or exceed the requirements of the civilian workforce. To ensure that we can support the smooth transition of our Service Members into these civilian careers, we are working aggressively to educate transitioning Service Members on available programs, including the Transition Assistance Program, Job Corps Demonstration Project, new employer outreach pilots, and the Federal Hiring Initiative.
As our Service Members transition from the military, the Transition Assistance Program’s Employment Workshop provides them with a solid foundation of knowledge and tools to assist in their successful transition into the civilian workforce. We are in the process of transforming our TAP employment workshops to make them more engaging, economically relevant and immediately useful.
We recognize that leveraging and improving existing programs does not go far enough in facilitating the transition to civilian credentials and licensing programs. VETS and the Department’s Job Corps program have launched a demonstration project that will allow 300 young Veterans to obtain training and assistance with job placement at no cost.
As a way to increase awareness of the potential of our Veterans, we are launching a program with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that will allow VETS’ state directors to address hundreds of CEOs and senior executives at a time, via Chamber breakfast and lunch events, to explain the value proposition for hiring Veterans and how to hire Veterans within their city or state.
Making employers aware of what Veterans have to offer goes beyond the private sector and also includes civilian government jobs. Through the Federal Hiring Initiative, the Council on Veterans’ Employment has a goal to align Veterans’ and transitioning Service Members’ skills and career aspirations to Federal employment opportunities, leveraging the considerable investment that the country has made in our Service Members’ military training and experience.
Our goal is to provide a clear pathway for Veterans to transfer the significant experience they gain in the military towards good jobs in the civilian economy through innovative programs, and collaborative engagement with public, private and nonprofit sector organizations. As we move forward, we will continue to look for better and more effective ways to inform and enable transitioning Service Members and Veterans of opportunities to achieve their potential, realize their aspirations and attain the Department of Labor’s vision of “Good Jobs for Everyone!”
Ray Jefferson is Assistant Secretary for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service