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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.”

Are you prepared? Read GovCentral’s 10 Steps to a Government Job – For Military Service Members

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.”

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    fafyrd

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I don't believe it either, not until I see it. I'm a veteran who can't get a freaking thing from my VA. The VA agents like to tell me "they wish they had a big pool of money to give to veterans" but I still get nada. Seems like this is all a bunch of hot air.

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    thankyouvets

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    This is good news for Vets since the Government is killing the private sector, and they won't be able to hire anyone. We'll be lucky to keep the doors open.

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    amg1a

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I don't belive it. After hundreds of applications, no emails or calls. You must have inside connections to get a Govt. job. Period.

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    rondw

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    This nice and all but as most vetterans (and I am a Viet Nam era veteran) will soon find that Vet Perfernce is does not mean much..

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    ChleoClarkNorman

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    A lot of the problem is within the system. Friends hiring and promoting friends. How do you deal witht hat problem?

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    vetman

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Hipocracy thy name is the federal government.
    I too have applied for numerous federal jobs (VA) which I am certainly qualified and am 30% disabled vet. But the VA is getting around Title 5 with something called Hybrid Title 38 positions.
    They are hiring newbies right out of school.

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    travisgosa

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I have served for 8 years now with a tour in Iraq and Afgan..I have a TS/SCI clearance and hold two different MOS's from the Army and just now was able to land a job after being out and searching for 3 years and it still is not in the Federal Gov't or DOD. I want to switch over to the Gov't side badly but can not seem to find and opening. Its like the guy said its not what you know its who you know that gets you the job. Its sad because we serve our country and do our part and cant get ahead.

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    jesmith

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I think it is a great idea. Too many times we have veterans leaving the military with no or very limited support in the civilian sector. It seems like, once you leave federal service your service means nothing. We need programs that will help soldiers to transition out and to stay financially stable- not having to lower their standard of living.

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    mstandel

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been retired from active duty since February 2009, and applied to what seems like about 200 Federal Gov't/Civil Service announcement numbers. I have received approximately four job consideration emails and one job offer which I accepted in June. I am still unemployed. I have answered several USAJOBS.GOV surveys about the federal hiring process. I am convinced that it is not what you know as a veteran, but only who do you know, that will garner you a job with any federal agency or the DOD. It is a shame that qualified and competent veterans get passed up with the current hiring process. I hopefully will be proven wrong with President Obama's executive order.

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    patjay38

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    What about those veterans who have been out of active duty for a significant time period and have tried to get hired within the federal government?

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