Column: Hire our veterans

Jan. 31, 2013

Hire our veterans
By Sen. Joe Hune

As every business looks for truly exceptional employees, I would like to suggest an untapped resource: our veterans.

Veterans have proven their worth on the battlefield in far-off places, and many of them would now like to prove their work ethic right here at home.

The Michigan Legislature as well as the federal government have been making strides to employ our heroes. Just last week Walmart vowed to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. In a release, Walmart said that “Job turnover is such that they ought to be able to easily accommodate any vet looking for work.”

Walmart’s pledge is the largest commitment to hiring veterans made so far by a single company. “Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make,” Walmart CEO Bill Simon said. “Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training, and a passion for service.”

Another great organization for veterans is AT&T. In 2012 G.I. Jobs magazine recognized AT&T as one of the Top 50 Most Military-Friendly Employers for the seventh consecutive year. Electronic Recruiting Exchange recently recognized AT&T’s program as the Best Military Talent Program.

In addition, AT&T has developed a program to educate managers across AT&T on the benefits of hiring military veterans; launched a Military Skills Translator that allows veterans to use their current Military Occupation Code/Military Occupation Specialty to find out what civilian jobs at AT&T could be a good fit for them; and organizes a veterans employee group of more than 4,000 members.

“Every year, AT&T hires hundreds of military veterans to join our team,” said AT&T Director of Government Affairs, Jim Kirsch. “The self-discipline, teamwork and skills gained in military service are valuable to AT&T, where many of those same values are part of our everyday culture.”

Hiring veterans may be of particular interest to small businesses. Instead of having to purchase pricey insurance plans for employees, veterans often are afforded Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits. Such benefits are lifelong for qualifying veterans and will exempt a business employing a veteran from the compulsory purchase of health insurance for him or her. This benefit also extends to qualified reservists and National Guard members.

For any further information on VA programs, please visit www.va.gov. To view a booklet on benefits available to veterans as well as other useful links, click on the ‘Veterans Services’ link.

If you have any further questions please email my office at SenJHune@senate.michigan.gov or dial toll-free 1-855-563-4863 and my staff will be happy to assist you.

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