As the single largest employer in the United States, it follows that the government hires more veterans than anyone else. But the relationship between the two goes beyond sheer numbers; in fact, the federal government has a history of hiring former service members since the days of the Revolutionary War. In recognition of their sacrifices, it was common to give preferential treatment to individuals who served in the armed forces during the hiring process. It wasn’t until 1944, however, that this practice was codified into U.S. law with the Veteran Preference Act.
In a nutshell, Veteran Preference laws state that when government employers are considering hiring two equally qualified candidates, a veteran and a civilian, the position should go to the veteran. According to the law, federal employers can hire individuals based on their veteran status without running afoul of Equal Opportunity laws, which outlaw discriminatory hiring practices.
While Veteran Preference laws have given veterans an edge when competing for jobs in the public sector, their jurisdiction basically ends there. In other words, preference laws did nothing for veterans seeking employment with privately owned businesses. In recent years, however, the private sector has embraced Veteran Preference. Why? It’s good for business.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2016, at least 19 states provide tax credits or grants to private employers who hire returning veterans, which can also help defray the costs associated with retraining.
Additionally, veterans possess desirable skills that make them stand out to employers. Defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, for example, recruit former service members who have experience dealing with weapons defense systems. Other STEM-based industries seek out veterans with backgrounds in engineering and computer programming to join their ranks.
Of course, hard skills aren’t the only assets employers are interested in. Anyone who has served in the armed forces recognizes the importance of teamwork, respect for the chain of command, personal responsibility, and leadership. Employers often consider candidates who possess these qualities a cut above the rest.
What employment opportunities do veterans have?
One of the best ways veterans can pursue a career in the private sector is through American Corporate Partners. ACP is a nonprofit organization committed to helping veterans transition from the armed services to civilian life. According to their 2018 annual report, ACP offers veterans career guidance and development through mentoring, career counseling and networking opportunities. Since 2008, ACP has paired with over 75 corporate partners like Disney, AT&T, Wells Fargo, and many more, to help returning service members define their own success at home.
Veterans seeking work in the public sector—or returning to states without Private Employment Veteran Preference—have several resources at their disposal to help them in their pursuit to rejoin the workforce. For example, FedsHireVets is a veteran employment website run by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that assists returning service members find employment with the Federal Government.
Regardless of whether they’re seeking public or private employment, in order to receive the benefits of Veteran Preference laws, veterans must be eligible. To learn more about eligibility requirements, be sure to visit TheMilitaryWallet for more information.
Homes 4 Families proudly supports and hires veterans. We believe that veteran to veteran support is key to the long-term success of our military families. Veterans have a great understanding of teamwork, responsibility and can personally relate to the veterans we serve within our organization. Visit our careers page to learn more and apply for one of our open positions today.