Veterans and spouses of military members can bring many desirable characteristics to the workforce. Many veterans come equipped with exceptional work ethic, team building and communications skills, and leadership experience at a young age. Military spouses are hard-working, highly educated, and adaptable. So, as employers across the country struggle with workforce shortages, it is important to remember this often-hidden population of valued talent.

Where are veterans and military spouses, and how can employers take advantage? 

Nearly 200,000 military members separate from active duty every year. About a quarter of that population returns to their original home of record. Another quarter stays in the area of their last duty station. But the remaining half go somewhere else, either following a spouse, returning to a favored location they discovered while in service, or selecting somewhere they can find meaningful employment.

Despite a low unemployment rate, underemployment remains a concern for the military community. According to national studies, almost one out of every three veterans are underemployed, and the percentage is higher for military spouses.

Multiple factors go into that statistic. Often, the transition from military service to civilian life can be rapid, not offering ample time for soon-to-be veterans to translate skill sets accurately, obtain industry relevant certifications, or choose a career that will be fulfilling. In addition, employers often make the mistake of hiring them for insufficient roles, not taking full advantage of all the skills and attributes military service can offer over a short period of time.

So, how can you help? 

Educate your staff on the unique skills veterans can bring to your organization. From infantry to intelligence, and communications to logistics, almost every military occupational specialty equips individuals with the professional attributes needed to be successful in virtually any career. Military members possess excellent communication and organizational skills and the ability to think strategically, adapt, and overcome challenges. 

States, like Ohio, offer employer training for free through their Veterans Workforce Team. Other national organizations, like PsychArmor and Hiring Our Heroes, can provide guidance and support through their platforms and programs. This education can be invaluable to understanding this hidden workforce of veterans and military spouses. And if they don’t have the certifications you need, G.I. Bill and post-military educational benefits could offset the cost of obtaining industry credentials through partner programs like Apprenti or Google Career Certificates. 

The talent is out there – it is often just misunderstood. And don’t hire a veteran because they are a veteran. Hire a veteran because they are the most qualified candidate for the position. If you aren’t sure where to start, connect to resources so you can be better prepared to find, understand, and employ veterans into meaningful and successful careers.

Resources to learn more about working with veterans

For more information about working with veterans, please check out the following resources: 


 

Ryan Blackburn
Manager of Veteran Workforce Development
Ohio Department of Veterans Services