Honoring Veterans Through Employment

By John R. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy (WWCTP)

This morning I spoke to a room full of hiring managers and HR professionals at the Navy’s Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference. My message to them was simple: Hire More Wounded Warriors and Veterans.

And tomorrow, as we mark another Veterans’ Day and reflect on the sacrifices made by generations of men and women in uniform, my message will remain the same:

Hire More Wounded Warriors and Veterans.

What better way is there to show a young Soldier that you value the work he did on three deployments to Afghanistan than by offering him the opportunity to put those same skills to work in your company?

What better way is there to honor the sacrifices made by a combat-tested Veteran than by recognizing that she can lead a corporate team just as well as she could lead a platoon in Iraq?

I truly believe that our wounded warriors and veterans are the greatest this country has to offer. These are some of the best trained young people we have ever produced. I can promise that they will inexorably change the DNA of any company or organization, bringing their unique talents and experiences to problem solving and decision-making processes. This is what I call the “Vet Effect.”

There are many companies and organizations across the country who have already caught this vision, and I hope that there will be many more. We simply cannot afford not to maximize this vast human capital resource.

And I am not the only one in the government who thinks so. Just this week, President Obama announced a host of programs and resources to help our veterans get back to work including the Veterans Job Bank, a partnership with leading job search companies that allows employers to “tag” and post job openings for veterans. The Veterans Job Bank is housed on the National Resource Directory, an online portal my office is very pleased to support.

This is one of many ways my office is working to support wounded warriors and veterans in the workplace. I hope many more companies, organizations and agencies will rise to the challenge and join us. We need more veterans working on Main Street, not sleeping in the streets. We need our wounded warriors running factories, not sitting on the couch playing video games.

And so, as we mark another Veterans’ Day to take a quiet moment to honor veterans both past and present who have given our country so much, let us also reflect on how we can give something back by providing a wounded warrior or veteran with the opportunity to get back to work and continue contributing to make this country great.