“Today, nearly four million Americans have a service-connected disability. At a time when many employers are struggling to fill positions, hiring veterans with disabilities can boost diversity and inclusion efforts,” explained Jeff Hall, national employment director for DAV (Disabled American Veterans).
For example, Dave Ellis found it difficult to get a job after receiving an honorable discharge from the Army. “I had a severe back injury, but I also carried mental scars from active duty,” he said. After six months of searching, he was able to find a supportive company that understands and values the traits that come from military training, including job-ready skills, tested leadership abilities and a mission-focused work ethic.
For others, however, it can be a struggle. In fact, a survey in The Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation found that 57 percent of veterans with disabilities transitioning to the civilian workforce feared hiring discrimination due to their disability.
“The reality is that many of America’s businesses, big and small alike, recognize the importance of hiring veterans with disabilities, but often don’t know where to begin,” added Hall.
To address this need, DAV has published “The Veteran Advantage: DAV Guide to Hiring and Retaining Veterans with Disabilities.” This free, comprehensive guide is the result of more than four years of study about what the veteran community contributes to the workforce and how hiring veterans, especially disabled ones, can improve a company’s bottom line.
The 36-page publication, which can be downloaded at http://dav.la/jobs, offers best practices and helpful tools for employers. But it goes further, helping to correct misperceptions and inspire more organizations to hire from this talent pool. Content includes statistics about veterans with disabilities, in-depth onboarding and retention strategies, a practical checklist for employers, and explanations of financial incentives, tax credits and other support.
The Guide also highlights powerful testimonials of veterans thriving in successful careers, and case studies from employers who benefit from having disabled veterans in their workplace. Nationally respected companies such as First Data and USAA apply the findings within their own internal human resources departments and hiring teams.
There are also free and helpful resources that veterans themselves can take advantage of to help with the transition into a civilian career. For example, DAV holds free career fairs throughout the country for veterans and their spouses. Details are available at http://dav.la/jobs.
“While our nation’s veterans, particularly those who have been injured in service, are faced with unique challenges, they also offer the skill sets, loyalty and dedication needed to help successfully power America’s economy,” said Hall.