Federal Agencies Learn Best Hiring Practices for Wounded Warriors

Army Warrior Transition Command logo“Hire Wounded Warriors!”  That is the message federal employers are hearing today from The Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) and the other Services Wounded Warrior programs. AW2 is hosting the 2011 Wounded Warrior Federal Employment Conference  February 23 and 24. 

 This conference is educating agency human resource managers, Equal Employment Opportunity disability program managers, and Veterans employment program managers about the resources available to place qualified wounded warriors and Veterans in open positions.  

Attendees also learn about the variety of injuries facing today’s military personnel and the resources available to support and accommodate Veterans once they begin working, and explore emerging trends in disability employment from organizations such as the National Organization on Disability

Among the scheduled speakers for the event are: 

Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; 

 Juan M. Garcia, III, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; 

Retired Army Capt. Alvin Shell, a wounded veteran who is now a federal employee; 

Patrick Brick from the Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy will explain Operation Warfighter during the second day of the conference. 

“Wounded, ill and injured Service members across the Armed Forces are highly-trained, skilled professionals and want to continue contributing to our society as productive citizens after they separate from the military,” said Brig. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of the Warrior Transition Command, which oversees the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program. 

“The leadership, discipline, teamwork and technical skills they developed during their service translate well to positions throughout the federal workforce, and we hope this conference will be a catalyst to increase employment of wounded veterans by federal agencies,” said BG Williams. 

Attendees are learning about special federal hiring authorities for Veterans and people with disabilities, programs to give Veterans practical work experience, and resources to provide physical accommodations to their work site.  Presenters will also discuss how hiring wounded warriors supports President Obama’s Executive Orders (EOs) related to the federal employment of wounded warriors, including: 

§  EO 13518: Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government 

§  EO 13548: Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities  

According to Department of Labor statistics, the cost to Department of Defense for unemployment compensation for wounded warriors was $87M last year.  

Retired Army Captain Alvin Shell now brings his leadership, discipline and skills to the federal workforce.

“I received a 100% disability rating from the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs),” said Capt. Shell, who now serves in a management position at the Department of Homeland Security.  Capt. Shell sustained severe burns during his service in Iraq, and he battles chronic pain and limited range of motion in his right hand.  “I could sit home and draw my pension, but that isn’t how I was built — I have a lot more to offer my country.”  Capt. Shell will speak at the event to share his experience transitioning from the military to the federal workforce. 

“These men and women have given more than any nation should ever ask of her sons and daughters and their families,” said John R. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy, “but we have made that ask, and we now have a solemn obligation to remind America that some deficits don’t have zeros on the end of them, and others can never be fully repaid … but our federal workforce should be the first in line to try.” 

Wounded warriors located in the National Capital Region who are looking for employment will participate in a networking session with federal officials on Thursday, February 24.