A new call to action from military leaders is asking private sector employers to hire more vets. Here’s the report, from Elaine Sanchez, American Forces Press Service:
Military leaders today issued a call to action to federal and private-sector employers: hire wounded warriors. It’s a decision they won’t regret, said Marine Corps Col. John L. Mayer, commander of the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment.
“That same spirit [service members] bring to the battlefield — the same spirit they bring to the team, the same spirit they bring to every single thing they do — they’ll bring to your company,” Mayer told a group of employment officials gathered for the 2012 Wounded Warrior Employment Conference here.
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The services’ wounded warrior programs — the Army Warrior Transition Command, Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, Navy Safe Harbor and Air Force Wounded Warrior Program – teamed up to host this two-day conference, intended to educate federal and private-sector employers about the benefits of and best practices for hiring wounded, ill and injured troops and veterans.
Employment is a major focus for all of the services as troops progress through their recovery, Army Brig. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, commander of the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command, told the audience during the conference’s opening session.
Even as service members are recovering, they’re being prepared for the next stage of their careers. Many wounded warriors complete internships and education programs during recovery, Williams explained. And early on in the treatment process, he added, transition specialists start talking to the troops about what’s next.
“We’re working hard to help them prepare to succeed in the civilian workforce,” he said, noting about 50 percent of wounded, ill and injured soldiers in his program separate from service after recovery. “That’s where all of you come in,” he told the employers. “You’re here because you and your organization are committed to hiring wounded veterans. You already know that it’s an ongoing commitment – not just hiring one veteran to check the box, but hiring many of them.”
Williams acknowledged some of the potential barriers to wounded warrior employment. Wounded warriors’ resumes may not align with available positions, he noted, and there’s no standard definition of a wounded warrior for employers to use. Additionally, he said, hiring managers need more information about behavioral health injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
“That’s what we’re here to work on — to show you some best practices from your peers and educate you on the ways to make each wounded warrior hire you make a success,” Williams said.
In return, employers will gain much more than they bargained for, the general said, ticking off the qualities that make wounded warriors standout employees. They have personal integrity, strong leadership skills and respect for diversity, he noted. They learn new skills and concepts quickly, work well as individuals and as team members, and, above all, they’re resilient, he added.
“They’ve overcome incredible life-altering physical and behavioral injuries that most of us can’t even begin to comprehend,” Williams told the audience. “And despite all of that, they’re looking forward to tomorrow, to finding a job that will build them a better life and provide for themselves and their families.”