Employers: Don’t overlook veterans‘ job strengths

Operation VETS Connect is an effort to connect returning service members and veterans with employers

“Operation VETS Connect” is a 100-day challenge concluding Dec. 10 for New Hampshire’s business community to demonstrate support for our veterans and returning service members and to find great employees to fill their vacant positions at the same time.

Under the leadership of Governor Hassan, the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security has partnered with New Hampshire’s military community in an aggressive effort to connect our brave, returning service members and veterans with hiring employers.

While providing re-employment services to our veterans is a year-round effort at the Department of Employment Security, this program is a targeted, yet robust, effort to increase awareness amongst the business community as to the strengths and skills veterans bring to the workplace.

Making a widget is something that can be taught. Discipline, teamwork, a strong work ethic – often referred to as “soft skills” – are not always easily teachable. Yet for our veterans, these are natural strengths that they have spent years perfecting in their military jobs.

However, the intangible skills that veterans bring to the job do not immediately translate onto a resume and are not always easy to demonstrate in a job fair environment. That is why we are urging New Hampshire’s employers to participate in “Operation VETS Connect” so that they can experience first-hand the strengths our veterans have to offer.

In order to gain a better understanding of a veteran’s intangible skills, employers can bring a veteran into a job opening without any cost and without any risk through the Return To Work (RTW) and On the Job Training (OJT) programs.

The RTW program allows an employer to bring a prospective employee on board during an initial six-week trial period for up to 24 hours per week without payment of wages. The prospective employee would continue to collect unemployment benefits during this time. However, the program is open to prospective employees regardless of whether they are receiving unemployment benefits. The state also provides workers compensation coverage.

Following RTW, the employer could then take advantage of the $500,000 in available funding in the OJT program, where the state would pay up to 90 percent of the employee’s wages.

There is nothing more tragic than an unemployed veteran. We urge New Hampshire’s business community to join “Operation VETS Connect” and demonstrate their support for our veterans and returning service members.

Registration information can be found at nhes.nh.gov/media/job-fairs/index.htm.

Major Gen. William Reddel is the New Hampshire adjutant general, Brigadier Gen. Carolyn Protzmann is deputy adjutant general and George Copadis is commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security.

Categories: Opinion