On Tuesday, I was excited to be with thousands of our nation’s Veterans in Detroit at the VA for Vets Hiring Fair. The fair went through Thursday, with interviews and job offers happening on the spot for jobs all around the country and across a wide variety of occupations–from pizza companies to big-name consulting firms–along with government agencies. I was especially impressed to see video interviews happening with people all around the country.
For folks in Detroit, staff were on hand to help give tips and guidance for job searches through USA Jobs with computer terminals right there, so Veterans could take an immediate look themselves. We had staff on hand to help Veterans translate their service experience into terms civilians will understand and suggest jobs that might fit the skills Veterans have gained during service. We also had folks ready to explain the federal security clearance process, so applicants could get a sense of what information it helps to have ready and how they can help their case move quickly. Taken together, it was just about everything Veterans might need to know to help make their job searches successful.
And even if you weren’t in Detroit this week, you should know that my organization, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is proud to help job-seeking Veterans year round. We’re working with the VA and other agencies to implement the President’s Veterans Employment Initiative within the federal government. We’ve been able to help thousands of our brave service men and women transition into civilian work. In 2011, over 28% of new hires in the federal government were Veterans, a 20-year high. We’ve also increased our hiring among disabled Veterans, from 7% of new hires in 2009, to 9% of new hires in 2011.
If you’re a Veteran looking for a job, or if you know someone who is, I hope you’ll take a look at the resources available to you. There are now Veteran Employment Program Offices in 24 federal agencies, helping Veterans write resumes for civilian occupations, and helping Veterans find and apply for jobs that match their skill sets. We’ve also made sure that the new Recent Graduates Programs keep the application window open up to six years for people who serve in the armed forces after graduation. You can also look online at Feds Hire Vets.
These are just a few of the ways we’re honoring our sacred obligation to serve those who serve our country. Together, we can help more Veterans put their skills and experience to work at new jobs.
John Berry is the Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management, where he is responsible for recruiting, hiring, and setting benefits policies for federal civilian employees.