Another Veterans Day has come and gone, and while the parades and speeches are over, honoring those who have served in the US armed forces needs to be an ongoing effort. For our industry specifically, it is important to recognize and address the challenges that many American veterans face while seeking employment after their military service has ended. Parades and holiday sales are great, but they are not enough to thank these brave men and women for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf. To truly honor our veterans, companies must take strong steps to ensure they have good employment options when their service is complete and the resources they need to be re-skilled into high-demand professions.
The good news is that America’s veterans are a highly motivated, team-oriented and skills-based workforce in the waiting. While the majority of my experience has been in the staffing and recruiting industry, my first career was with the US Marine Corps. This opportunity provided me with the unique ability to develop leadership capabilities and enhance decision-making skills and dexterity. Many of the people I served with also developed technical skills that can be redirected toward private sector jobs.
Unfortunately, many veterans have historically struggled to find work when they leave the armed forces. According to a 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, there were 581,000 unemployed veterans in 2020. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic increased veteran unemployment rates to 6.5% at the height of the pandemic.
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At the same time, industries across the United States are facing unprecedented labor shortages, particularly in manufacturing, transportation and engineering. One way to fill these workforce shortages is by matching unemployed veterans, many of whom left their military service with technical training, to these high-demand job positions. Utilizing veteran labor will alleviate these shortfalls while also ensuring that veterans and transitioning service members have meaningful employment opportunities.
While veterans can bring unique skills and values to the civilian workforce, the reality is that some will have skill gaps that prevent them from filling these in-demand positions. To overcome this barrier, there needs to be a substantial investment in skilling, retraining and certificate programs designed for former service members looking to re-enter the workforce. These programs can help veterans take the skills they already have from military service and hone them to better fit the industries that are most in need of labor.
Randstad US is committed to strengthening veteran employment in the United States, having established the Veteran Center of Excellence to help organizations create and manage effective veteran hiring and retention programs. The Veteran Center of Excellence offers several recruiting tools and programs that are designed to help veterans bridge skill gaps and create a talent-rich workforce. In addition, Randstad has also created a veteran partnership ecosystem through its various relationships with Military.com, The Wounded Warrior Project, Centurion Military Alliance, Hiring Our Heroes, TPS, Veteran Jobs Mission, and RiseSmart. These partnerships enable Randstad to work with service members before separation to ensure a seamless transition to the civilian workforce.
As both the CEO of Randstad Technologies Group and a proud former member of the United States Marine Corps, I recognize the tremendous values, leadership and skills that veterans bring to the workforce and how they will continue to shape it for years to come.