Veterans Employment Initiative Shows Progress
Washington, D.C. – Today, the President’s Interagency Council on Veterans Employment was briefed by U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Scott Gould, and Department of Labor’s Assistant Secretary for Veteran’s Employment and Training, Ray Jefferson, to inform them that thousands more veterans have been hired by federal agencies since last November when President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, and established the Veterans Employment Initiative. Also at the briefing, the council adopted a more aggressive new benchmark for veteran hiring among federal agencies.
More than 32,800 veterans have already been hired in the first six months by federal agencies, exceeding last years’ number at this time. During the briefing at the Department of Labor, which was attended by representatives from Veterans’ Service Organizations, veterans and those currently serving in the military, Gould, Jefferson, and Director Berry joined agency officials from throughout the federal government to announce a new benchmark and discuss the progress made.
“Our mission is simple: hire more veterans,” said Director Berry. “The strong sense of patriotism and public service held by members of our armed forces does not leave them when they exit from active duty. It benefits our government to utilize their skills and dedication to service.”
Council members adopted a new benchmark for veteran hiring among federal agencies at today’s meeting. The Hiring Percentage Model will guide an agency’s goal setting based on the current percentage of veterans hired, to include disabled veterans. Those agencies with lower hiring percentages will have more aggressive goals, but will soon graduate to other tiers based on their performance.
“The jobless rate among Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is unacceptably high,” said Deputy Secretary Gould. “The Federal government wants to hire Veterans because of their experience, leadership skills and commitment to our Country. Working together, we can do a lot of good for our Veterans and for our Nation.”
The goal of the President’s Veteran Employment Initiative is to help Federal agencies identify qualified veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans seeking employment with the Federal government, and help veterans adjust to civilian life once they are hired. Much has been accomplished in the first 10 months since the signing of the Executive Order which points directly to the uptick in the number of veterans hired, including:
Veterans were 30.2% of total new hires during the first six months of FY 2010 compared to 26.8% in the same period in FY 2009. This is approximately a 3.5 percentage point change. That is 2,600 more veterans hired into the Federal Government in the first half of FY 2009.
The establishment of Veteran Employment Program Offices in 24 Federal agencies in March 2010.
The development of a Government-wide Strategic Plan on Veteran recruitment and employment which was released in January 2010.
The creation of a Government-wide marketing campaign on the value of veterans, which launched in November 2009, and launching the www.FedsHireVets.gov website in January 2010, which established an information gateway on Federal employment for veterans.
The Veterans Employment Symposium in July 2010 which provided training to HR and hiring managers.
While the Government is experiencing a strong increase across the board in the first six months of 2010, there are some notable increases. The federal agencies that have already indicated a positive increase in veterans in the first six months as compared to FY 2009 include the Department of Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice hired, and the Department of Interior.
“These employment outcomes show how seriously agencies are taking this initiative,” said Assistant Secretary Jefferson. “There is still much work to do, but it’s clear that the federal government is up to the task.”
The Council is co-chaired by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. Director Berry serves as its Vice Chair and Chief Operating Officer.