I have met with several veteran groups and one vet told me something profound. “It’s not that employers just aren’t pro-veteran. They are actually looking for reasons to say no and rule you out because they think you’re damaged goods.”
There’s a general belief among Americans that most veterans suffer from a mental health issue, despite that number being much, much smaller. The first thing we need to do is better inform the American people and, in particular, employers on this reality to combat this prejudice against hiring veterans.
We also need to invest in, and create, mentorship programs for veterans. Non-profits such as American Corporate Partners are doing great work at matching veterans with mentors who can help them find and adapt to a new career. We should invest in other non-profits, and create programs within the federal government, that also help veterans adjust to civilian life. And we should also incentivize businesses to create mentorship programs internally, that provide both a non-veteran and veteran mentor to newly hired veterans. These mentors could help veterans in their careers, and also advocate internally for veteran candidates to be hired.
In order to help veterans find fulfilling and stable careers, the government should research and maintain a database of in-demand skills and professions, and match veterans to these jobs based on their skills. The government can also partner with businesses in these areas to match up qualified candidates, and incentivize businesses to hire veterans. This can take the form of subsidies, both for the hiring itself and also for the investment in helping the veteran transition from their career in the military to their career at this business, since the rigidity, culture, requirements, and networking required can be very different, and a transition/learning window is often required.
Finally, the federal government should provide resources to veteran-run businesses. This can take the form of initial investment, low-cost financing options, and preferential treatment.
(Read Andrew's full policy of Veteran Assistance here.)
Problems to be Solved
- checkIt can be difficult for veterans to find work when they return home, or for veteran-run businesses to succeed
- There are many issues unique to the veteran community that we need to address. The transition to civilian life should be smoother, and we need to put more support structures in place. Public misconceptions have lead to issues with employment. Homelessness is a perennial problem, and the VA - especially the Veterans Health Administration - can do much more to improve the well-being of those who have served. These heroes protect and serve us during their tenure, but they come home to a quick thank you and an economy that isn’t set up to help them succeed. We owe them more than a handshake.
- checkIncrease veteran employment options