Much has changed since the Vietnam War when returning veterans were considered unwelcome by some U.S. citizens who were intensely against the war. Today, it is not unusual for ordinary citizens to approach a veteran and offer a heartfelt, “Thank you for your service.”
At SAMS, veterans or family members of veterans make up 75% of our workforce. We hire veterans because they make good employees and bring a unique set of skills to the marketplace that are hard to match.
First, Veterans are committed. They signed up because they believed in their country and they are void of a sense of entitlement. Second, there is no place like the military to develop leadership skills. Our servicemen and women are constantly asked to learn new things and rise to the challenges at hand. They are not afraid to make rapid decisions. Veterans also understand the value of camaraderie and team building, skills that are essential to building a successful business.
One of the most important skills veterans possess is the ability to translate military jargon and communicate the skills they learned and jobs they performed in the service to their civilian careers. Those that go on to work for government agencies are more likely to hit the ground running because they have knowledge and have adapted to the environment.
It pays to recognize some of the advances that have been made in regards to our returning vets. Changes over the years have not come quickly or completely, and there is still much to do.
Today, there are a variety of programs to help veterans transitioning to the private sector. The Army offers a Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program (SLF-TAP), which all soldiers who have served 180 days or more on active duty are required to take. It includes classes about benefits, financial planning, career preparation and more.
Additionally, a rapidly increasing number of independent non-profit organizations have risen to the challenge of helping Veterans.
Operation Renewed Hope Foundation makes it a mission to end homelessness for veterans.
Easter Seals offers career guidance and functions as a full-service staffing agency (temp, temp-to perm, direct hire) placing veterans, military spouses, National Guard and Reservists, and wounded warriors. They also offer homeless veteran reintegration programs and much more. Their Steven A. Cohen military family clinic provides high-quality, accessible and integrated outpatient mental health care to veterans and family members.
Many other non-profits like the Gary Sinise Foundation and Warriors Ethos have developed programs for veterans. Warriors Ethos focuses specifically on the transition process.
So this Veterans Day, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come in treating our vets, and think about what we still have to do.