Opinion

Want reliable talent? Hire veterans

While the jobless rate for Americans falls to 5.9 percent, and our state’s clocks in even lower at 5.6 percent, many breathe a sigh of relief. But an important segment of our population hasn’t seen similar signs of recovery.

The unemployment rate for veterans serving post-9/11 remains at a staggering 10 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Due to post-war drawdowns, that already alarmingly-high rate could jump even more.

No veteran who has served honorably should be out of work, especially in a region like ours with a vibrant and growing business community.

And when I cofounded a business in the Puget Sound region, we hired a veteran every chance we could. Today, more than 20 percent of its employees are veterans, more than double the percent of veterans in the total population (8 percent).

Smart companies recruit veterans because they can be trusted to get the job done and to take pride in every single task. For a time, our company was one of the fastest growing companies in America, due in large part to the talent we had working for us.

As emerging leaders, employees with military experience become role models for other employees. Their patience, respect for procedure, and ability to see the overall picture allows upper management to focus on new projects and strategies.

One employee who demonstrated those traits and more is Bill Buchanan.

After 20 years of service with the United States Air Force, Bill was hired as an instructor for our company.

Demonstrating strong leadership attributes, as well as a keen understanding of the customer relationship, Bill quickly exceeded the requirements listed on the job description. His supervisors had no choice but to promote him.

Now as a manager, Bill has a second successful career, based in large part to his ability to translate the skills he mastered in the military for his civilian position.

He’s just one of several success stories of veterans at the company, and why you’ll find smart companies searching for candidates at veteran job fairs every chance they can.

I now have the pleasure of representing tens of thousands of servicemembers and veterans in the United States Congress. Many servicemembers choose to stay in the 10th Congressional District once they transition to veteran status, thanks to our region’s blend of innovative companies, beautiful outdoors, and great neighborhoods to raise a family.

And we are relieved so many servicemembers choose to stay. Every veteran is capable of using what they learned to excel in a wide variety of capacities at companies, organizations, law enforcement departments, classrooms and in public service. Our community cannot afford to have that talent wasted.

If you are a human resources manager, recruiter, or own your own business, you can find out how to connect with veterans searching for employment by visiting hireheroesusa.org/

hire-a-veteran.

On Veterans Day, we honor the millions of American veterans like Bill. Their commitment to service is something we will not forget. On every other business day, let’s put them to work. The return on investment is well worth it.

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