The U.S. unemployment rate is hovering just a bit over 4 percent. A steadily improving economy means that most people who want work are finding it. Yet there remains a group of people who are not finding employment as easily as they should in a tight job market. I am speaking of military veterans.
During my conversation with our November Thought Leader, Chris Andrews, he pointed out that there are many veterans who remain unemployed months, even years, after leaving the service. While they have the skills for the jobs they seek, they often have to accept positions that are beneath their abilities simply because they lack a résumé demonstrating accomplishments in private industry. Many vets also lack the connections that their counterparts in the private sector have garnered during years of working for a variety of employers.
Veterans can bring solid skill sets acquired during their service. Those who have been in military logistics offer experience working for one of the largest and most complex supply chain operations in the world—an operation that connects every continent and involves multiple modes of transportation.
Veterans also bring a dedication to their work that has been honed with military precision. They are disciplined, skilled in following directions, and used to working in teams, and they understand the responsibility that comes with service. They are self-starters, show up for work on time, and are loyal and conscientious. In supervisory roles, veterans understand both the chain of command and the value of mentorship.
So, how do we as supply chain professionals tap into the benefits of this potential work force? Andrews suggests that employers contact nearby military bases to connect with officers working on local transition teams. They will know of servicemen and women who will soon transition to civilian life and have the particular skills that employers are seeking.
Another great way to connect is to get involved with the "Vets to WERC" program, an initiative aimed at matching military veterans who have logistics/supply chain experience with employers needing their skills (and of which DC Velocity is a co-founder). You can find information on the program here, including stories about veterans who have successfully transitioned into private-sector supply chain roles, and resources for getting your own initiative started at your workplace.
As we observe Veterans Day this month, let us all strive to offer more than just our thanks for their service. Let us help put these veterans into meaningful roles that benefit our companies and our industry.