The article included a boast by President Trump in his February State of the Union Address. He shared veteran unemployment was at only 3 percent.
Of course, COVID-19 has thrown all the job numbers off – for veterans and nonveterans alike –as millions claim unemployment. But private sector hiring managers need to hit the green light on veteran hires either now, or as soon as they are able once COVID’s rough waters come to a calm.
At IGH, we feel skills learned in the military should lead to private-sector jobs. And our hiring record shows it. Last year alone, we had a 35 percent veteran hiring percentage. Comparing to the general population, less than 10 percent of Americans are vets. Our CEO is a service-disabled veteran. Our Director of Human Resources and 80 percent of our field leadership team are veterans.
We have a Veterans’ Advocacy Group, made up of selected veteran employees. That group, along with our human resources department, ensures our veteran employees are receiving all the benefits they earned in service to our country. The group also advises on special recognition events for the veterans in our midst.
All IGH employees participate in training programs together. What we often see is that military veterans become valuable peer leaders for non-veterans. When our veterans are peer leaders and trainers, we see them naturally rise to the top for promotion opportunities.
When we hire, we absolutely evaluate the candidate’s military specialty and skills as part of the process. A candidate might not have a specific degree or certificate to show from their years of military service. But we know based on military training that hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars have been invested into that service member through military training programs.
IGH Deputy Program Manager James Northcutt spent 22 years in the military and 20 years in a civilian role. Northcutt shared how military service prepared him for his current position: “Throughout my military and civilian careers with the Department of Army, everything I accomplished adds value to my current IGH role. I can draw from my career experiences in human resource development and community relations to drive success in support of our customers and providing quality products and services.”
Often more valuable than a paper trail of training and certifications are the ethics and values veterans bring to civilian positions. We know veterans have experience in teamwork, problem-solving and chain of command. They also, and importantly, believe in serving a greater good. At IGH, our contracts support crucial government functions that better the lives of Americans. Our veterans know personally what sacrifice and service mean and they apply those values to each task they take on.
The U.S. Department of Labor offers a Hire Vet Medallion Award Program to recognize employers who hire veterans. We are eligible for the medium size employer platinum level award, based on our high number of veteran hires in 2019.
The Hire Vet award we applied for is nice, but more rewarding is seeing our veterans thrive in their positions, mentor others and achieve promotions.
Soon the COVID crisis will be over. And we believe there should be a position for every veteran looking for gainful employment within the private sector. At IGH, we’ll continue to put an emphasis on hiring veterans.
Michael V. Sanders, Interactive Government Holdings, Chief Executive Officer