Continue to Serve | Veterans Have the Skills and Patriotism That Government Agencies Want |
Published in the March/April 2013 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Don’t worry; the sky isn’t falling. It’s no secret that there are calls from all over the United States for the federal government to spend less. But, while those calls might result in fewer employment opportunities, the fact remains that federal agencies have been directed to hire as many veterans as they can; visit www.fedshirevets.gov.
Veterans have enjoyed various forms of federal hiring preference since the Civil War, and their odds are even better now. Federal agencies have hired thousands of veterans since November 2009, when President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, and established the Veterans Employment Initiative.
Veteran new hires totaled nearly 29 percent of total federal employment hires in fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011 – October 2010 through September 2011; data for FY 2012 were not available at press time). This is the highest percentage in 20 years. The total for FY 2009 was 24 percent; for FY 2010, 25.6 percent.
Even better, in FY 2011, 22 of the 24 agencies included in the President’s Veterans Employment Initiative posted percentages above their FY 2009 baselines and/or met their total veteran hire goals. In that same period, 23 of the agencies posted percentages above their FY 2009 baselines and/or met their goals for total disabled veteran hires, based on preliminary data.
The goal of the President’s Veterans Employment Initiative is to help federal agencies identify qualified veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans seeking employment with the federal government, and help them adjust to the civilian work environment once they are hired.
The establishment of Veteran Employment Program Offices in 24 federal agencies has helped veterans identify employment opportunities within the respective federal agencies, provide feedback to veterans about their employment application status, and help veterans recently employed by these agencies adjust to civilian life and a workplace culture often different from military culture.
In addition, the Office of Personnel Management issued a strategy for boosting the employment of veterans within the federal government. The strategy emphasizes training, coordination, marketing, and the inclusion of military spouses in hiring initiatives. Part of the strategy involves making sure that government agencies know that following veterans’ preference – which gives servicemembers an advantage over other candidates in the hiring process – is critical in meeting a government obligation to veterans.
The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998, (VEOA) ensures that veterans are able to compete for government positions that previously may have been available only to existing civil service employees.
The Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) and 30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans programs allow eligible veterans to fill certain positions without competition. You can learn more about these three initiatives at www.fedshirevets.gov/hire/hm/shav/index.aspx.
The Disabled Veterans Enrolled in VA Training Program allows eligible disabled veterans to receive training or work experience at VA.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E; www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/) helps veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, find, and keep suitable employment – defined as work within the veterans’ physical, mental, and emotional capabilities, and which matches their patterns of skills, abilities, and interests.