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President Aims to Step Up Hiring of Veterans

President Aims to Step Up Hiring of Veterans

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Alex M. Parker | Government Executive

November 11, 2009

President Obama on Monday signed an executive order designed to boost the number of veterans in the federal workforce.

The directive creates Veterans Employment Program offices in federal agencies, to match veterans with job openings and help them navigate the application process. The offices also will give veterans guidance on how to adjust to civilian life after they are hired.

“This initiative is about more than repaying our debt for their courageous service and selfless sacrifice,” Obama said. “It’s also about continuing to fill the ranks of federal employees with men and women who possess the skills, dedication and sense of duty that Americans deserve from their public servants. And few embody those qualities like our nation’s veterans.”

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In addition, the executive order establishes a Council on Veterans Employment, to be chaired by the secretaries of Labor and Veterans Affairs. It requires the Office of Personnel Management to develop a strategic plan in consultation with other agencies, such as the Defense, Homeland Security, Labor and Veterans Affairs departments.

The order comes as the number of military members re-entering civilian life is ballooning.

OPM Director John Berry has emphasized the hiring of veterans, saying government should take a more proactive role in recruiting former military members and preserve veterans preference during the selection process.

“We are going to honor our veterans and increase their employment in our domestic agencies,” Berry said during Government Executive’s Excellence in Government conference in July.

The percentage of veterans in the federal workforce has increased just slightly in recent years. According to the Office of Personnel Management’s most recent report, it rose 0.5 points from 25 percent in fiscal 2003 to 25.5 percent in fiscal 2007.

Veterans groups and some managers praised Obama’s order.

“The federal government is really no different than any business when it comes to hiring quality people,” said Joe Davis, spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars. “They want educated, responsible and motivated people who are loyal to the company and to each other. With the boomer generation beginning to retire en masse, it just makes good business sense for the federal government to do whatever it can to recognize and recruit this talented pool of job-ready employees.”

Pat Niehaus, Federal Managers Association chapter president and labor relations officer at Travis Air Force Base in California, said having an agency contact could be valuable to veterans re-entering civilian life.

“In so many agencies, [the hiring process] is so computerized,” Niehaus said. “If they had someone to help, I think it would be very beneficial to them. The civilian world is significantly different from the military world.”

FURTHER READING

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Discarded_Vet

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    More lies, and "jtsurfah", I highly doubt your account of events. I did two tours in Iraq during my time in the Marines, including participation in Operation Vigilant Resolve (I was an 0351). Upon being honorably discharged, I returned to University (I had dropped out in order to enlist after 9/11), and completed my BA with honors.

    Too bad both my BA and vet status meant absolutely nothing to the hundreds of FBI, CIA, TSA, CBP, DoJ, and VA jobs I applied for. Indeed, the few times I was allowed to take initial exams (FBI Phase 1, FSOT) I passed the exams and was still considered "non competitive". My phone interview with the CIA was even better, especially the part where she told me how tough the competition was because of all the "sharp young kids coming out of university". The very fact that "a sharp young kid coming out of university" is seen as on par with a Veteran coming out of university with honors is laughable.

    The US government will do nothing to help qualified veterans, and will continue to see us as expendable, useless, and contemptable cannon-fodder, and I dare anyone who says different to provide more direct, specific evidence than vague, condescending comments like "the government does not owe us jobs" and "I have never been turned down for a federal job"

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    jtsurfah

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    No matter what you read on these boards, I think it's important to have the right experience and right education for the job (I am a veteran, and a college grad). I have never been turned down for a federal job that I've applied for. I see a lot of people still getting hired with degrees that you could pull out of a cracker jack box. Personally, I hope that the standards continue to improve, because it's pretty frustrating to work with someone that has an MBA from one of these "purchase a degree" colleges, and they can't even describe what a present value analysis is....let alone apply it to a job that requires it. The days of gov hand-outs need to stop. The government does not owe us jobs.

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    andrew2

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Veterans know what a twenty hour work shift feels like. Don't rely on your prior service as a crutch in the hiring process, consider it as another skill set for your resume. I believe that a person has to be ambitious, smart, and well qualified for re-entering the civilian workforce, and just because you have served does not give you all these characteristics. You have an edge for being faithful, loyal, devoted, and can work an eight hour shift as if it were nothing.

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    dt323

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    i think obama is full of it,there alot of job that say they hirer veteran but there looking for other things beside the veteran and there skills.he starts 10 new jobs but closes 1000 other jobs to make it harder for us

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    mszustak

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    According to the OPM, hiring of Veterans rose 0.5 points from 2003 -2007? That is pathetic!

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    rfgaines

    over 4 years ago

    6 comments

    I too am a vet that can't get hired. I thought being a vet meant you stood a good chance of getting hired, but this is not the case at all. On top of that I worked 13 straight years after I retired without incident and now I work parttime in a job I like, but doesn't pay all my bills. I would love to work for the government again. Hell I'd go back in the military if my age wasn't a facto. Yeah, being over fifty is a facton in my opionion.

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    BMFG24

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    "It's not what you know but who you know". I see it all the time here in Korea, buddies hiring buddies. You see an announcement and the next thing you it has been "Cancelled", What happened there is the job didn't go away, their buddy didn't make the referral list. Now, he/she will go back, doctor their resume and hopefully make the referral list next time. If they don't, no one will be hired for the job until that buddy makes the list. This is totally wrong, especially when you have qualified people making the referral list. Now, getting aroound the buddy, you have to compete with military spouses, DoD employees, Current Army employees, Reinstatement Eligibles, NAF/AAFEES Interchange Agreement eligibles, VEOA, VRA, ICTAP eligibles, Family members appointments and US citizens residing in the commuting area. Through all of this competition, it doesn't seem like a veteran is even eligible to apply for most jobs unless you have a 30% disability or it's announced as 'WORLDWIDE". That is what needs to change I believe, make ALL announcements "WORLDWIDE" and then we have an even playing field when it comes to who can apply. But then you are are back to, 'It's not what you know but who you know".

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    Groggy

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    If you do get a chance to speak with the individual who will make the selection, give them a copy of your resume and just tell them that you are sincerely interested in the position and will do a great job. Sell yourself. Point out those qualities and skills that you feel qualify you for the job, and then explain why you feel you will do a great job. This is not about trying to gain an edge over others as much as it is trying to let your record appear in front of those making the selection so that it can be considered properly.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Groggy

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    The main problem I see is with HR. All employment applications go thru HR and they get to sift through each application and determine if it makes it to the next step in the process. Often, the HR staffer does not really understand the position, so they go by a checklist in order to determine if an individual is qualified or not. I was told that I was not qualified for a GS-9 position, yet a month later, I was offered a GS-12 position doing almost the same thing. HR gets to decide which OPM guidelines to follow in the hiring process when the process should be for the most part set in stone. The amount of HR personnel who understand the military is near zero. A lot of these people don't even have a degree and they are telling Veterans who have multiple degrees and have served in a war zone that they are not qualified. It's humiliating and a slap in the face, and it should not be happening. It really is "who you know" because HR personnel are not really doing their job and the hiring system is not set up right. One way around this problem is to bypass HR and ask to speak with the supervisor who will make the final selection. Find out who that person is and ask to speak with them. If HR will not help you determine who that person is over the phone, just go in person and do some investigating on your own. It should not have to come down to this, (i.e., bypassing the system), but when the system is not always fair, you have to do what is necessary in order to get a fair shake.

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    Account Removed

    over 4 years ago

    Let's see what happens. I received a "Tentative Employment Offer" 2 or 3 weeks ago, but have not heard anything if it's set in stone or not...

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    WRBenson

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Another thought: Why isn't the VA completely staffed by veterans?

  • Me-res_max50

    WRBenson

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    This great! When is it going to happen? I'm throwing in my comments in with grjackso - Folks were happy to enjoy their perks while we were out there catching bullets for them, but when we stand down, and show up with our hats in our hands, there's nary a HR rep to be found. Not much use for a "slightly used infantryman" I suppose. At least knock off the window dressing - I don't need a ceremony, I need a job!

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    mikep_48174

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    It seems I am in the same boat. I have applied for many openings and have heard nothing. I am currently bankrupt and unemployed in Michigan. Thank God my wife has a job for now. Being a 5point preference is of no use either. It's just so frustrating trying to find work. The VA is of no use. Thanks for letting me vent.

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    grjackso

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I have always found it amazing that how those who NEVER spent one day putting themselves in harm’s way for the defense of this nation reap soo many benefits. While I was out defending the nation, they were given the luxury to attend schools and network to get cushy jobs while I was on watch. No I'm not asking for the red carpet treatment, but it would be great for the nations to give us Vets some REAL privileges and perk’s for our sacrifices, and stop with all the window dressing shows.

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    maligia

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Being a veteran doesn't seem to help at all. I have been very qualified and experienced for the the jobs(both private and public) I have applied for. I have a 10-point preference and I rarely get a response back even from the government positions. However I am over 50 which might explain that.

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