Moving Forward Together

Posted December 5, 2013

How public-private partnerships are paving the way in veteran and spouse employment

As 2013 draws to a close, Hiring Our Heroes is proud to report new numbers and progress in our mission to find meaningful employment opportunities for veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses. Since our program began in March 2011, more than 1,500 companies have hired 21,600 veterans and military spouses as a result of more than 650 hiring fairs across the country. In 2012, we worked with Capital One to launch Hiring 500,000 Heroes, a national campaign to engage the business community in committing to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. Thus far, more than 1,400 businesses have pledged to hire 342,000 heroes toward this goal. To date, 236,000 hires have been confirmed.

These numbers would not have been possible without our amazing partners at the national and local levels.

Our nation’s veterans and military spouses face serious challenges in their search for stable income and employment. We were able to highlight those challenges just ahead of Veterans Day as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Annual “Salute to Veterans.” The event kicked-off with comments from Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. Our executive director, Eric Eversole, also participated in a panel discussion featuring Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer and former U.S. Representative and Army veteran Patrick Murphy. Secretary Perez and Sgt. Meyer were then able to join us as speakers at the 2013 3rd Annual Hiring Our Heroes Awards Dinner held the following week. Between these two events alone, our message was spread to hundreds of business, government, and nonprofit leaders who have the power to make a difference in the lives of thousands of military families.

This November, we also teamed up with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to release the Guide to Hiring Veterans. The comprehensive tool gathers numerous resources and business incentives in one free and accessible place to help employers of every size and industry establish stronger veteran hiring campaigns. The guide also highlights key resources for employers seeking to hire military spouses who serve and sacrifice alongside their service members every day.

Following its release, our team joined the VA at the 2013 Disney Veterans Institute – a one-day program held at Walt Disney World to provide examples, resources, and contacts to American businesses looking to build and implement effective veteran hiring programs. We were privileged to serve as the only private sector organization on a public sector panel for employers at the institute. First Lady Michelle Obama began the day with a keynote address. Eric then joined senior representatives from the White House Joining Forces campaign, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Labor to highlight government and nonprofit resources available to employers searching for veteran and military spouse talent.

Each of these events has provided us with amazing opportunities to highlight the challenges faced by the small percentage of Americans who wear the uniform. Still, our collective work is far from over. Over the next five years, we can expect more than 1.5 million service members to transition from the military to the civilian workforce. This number does not include the hundreds of thousands of military spouses who will also need jobs.

There is much to be done as we move forward into 2014. Nevertheless, with the help of our incredible partners, we are confident that we can and will find employment opportunities for half a million veterans by this time next year and share new goals for the years ahead.