Secretary Solis has often said that the best way to honor veterans is to offer them jobs when they return stateside. This is especially true for veterans returning with disabilities suffered in service to their country. The department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service has created a web-based toolkit that is designed to assist and educate employers who have made the proactive decision to include wounded warriors in their recruitment and hiring initiatives.
Deputy Assistant Secretary John Moran answers three questions about the efforts by VETS to help employers find and place wounded warriors in jobs that can lead to successful careers:
Why is the information on America's Heroes at Work necessary? Due to the advances in medicine and protective equipment, increased numbers of veterans are surviving battlefield injuries. For many of the wounded and injured service members, employment will play a major role in their recovery. Thankfully, a lot of employers understand that and they want to help but they don't know where to start. It was clear to VETS that these same employers need support and education concerning how to assist returning service members in their transition to civilian life and employment.
What resources are provided? The site is geared toward assisting the employer to better respond to the needs and capacities of the returning service member. It provides fact sheets, Web-based training tools, success stories, links to available resources and educational presentations designed specifically for employers. It also contains an employer toolkit that is intended to simplify the recruitment, interviewing, hiring and accommodations processes for employers interested in hiring veterans.
What is the one message you would like to convey to employers interested in — but concerned about — hiring veterans? Employers are concerned about the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury on a veteran's job performance as well as the cost of accommodating these veterans in the workplace. The first step is to help employers understand that not all veterans need accommodations in the workplace but when they do, many can be made easily. The focus needs to be on what the veteran can do — not the disability. Many injuries do not affect a veterans' ability to work. PTSD and TBI are treatable conditions and are not unique to the military. We have found a great deal of success when the returning service members, regardless of the disability, are provided with the proper employment support in the workplace.
The U.S. Senate on Jan. 1 confirmed Keith Kelly of Montana as the assistant secretary of labor for veterans' employment and training. President Obama in September announced his intention to nominate Kelly to head the department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service. Since 2005, Kelly has been the commissioner of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, where he previously served as the administrator of the Unemployment Insurance Division. From 2009 to 2010, Kelly served as chair and vice chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. He was awarded a Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman's Badge for his service with the Army's 101st Airborne Division.