Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Creating Career Opportunities for Veterans Strengthens Businesses

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Creating Career Opportunities for Veterans Strengthens Businesses

Article excerpt

Every minute of every day, we all benefit from the work of our military. As much as we admire and respect the contributions of our men and women in uniform, we can never do enough to demonstrate our gratitude for their sacrifices. These men and women have the experience and fortitude to contribute greatly to our country, including our businesses, after they leave military service.

After serving 33 years in uniform, I can say without question that the experiences I gained from my military training leadership skills, the capacity to perform at a high level under pressure, the ability to work collaboratively within teams would be difficult to replicate elsewhere. Later in my career, I was privileged to serve at the U.S. Department of Defense where I was responsible for recruiting, training and overseeing benefit programs for millions of active duty and reserve military personnel. It was there that I earned a true appreciation for what it takes to build, strengthen and motivate the workforce of one of the most important organizations in our country, the U.S. military.

The men and women who serve our nation come from all backgrounds and are some of our best and brightest called to service by a mission they view as greater than themselves. Their contributions shouldn't stop with their active service, and the private sector would do well to follow the example of the military as they look to strengthen their own teams.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who have served since September 2001 is 5.1 percent. That's only slightly higher than the overall national rate, but veterans' unemployment has been a chronic economic issue in this country for decades. Today, many veterans continue to face barriers to finding steady, well- paying jobs with benefits.

Not only does this mean these highly skilled patriots and their families are struggling, it also means American companies and their customers are missing an opportunity to reap the benefits created by a more diverse workforce, representing a greater variety of experiences and skills. American companies could be doing more to leverage the many different skills and backgrounds of military veterans, and ignoring this opportunity does a disservice to customers and their communities. …

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