Veterans and servicemembers transitioning from military duty to civilian life have gained a new tool with the federal government’s launch of the online Veterans Employment Center.
The center brings together an array of resources for prospective employees and employers interested in hiring former servicemembers. Military personnel and veterans will find job listings, a resume builder, a military skills translator and other career resources. The site can also provide employers with a direct feed of applications from veterans.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, unveiled the online resource in April 2014 during a third anniversary celebration of their Joining Forces initiative. Obama and Biden introduced Joining Forces in 2011 to improve offerings in education, employment and healthcare for servicemembers, veterans and military families.
According to The White House, the nearly 230 companies participating in Joining Forces have hired 540,000 veterans and military spouses. Still, in 2013, the unemployment rate for veterans who served after September 2001 remained higher than that of the civilian population, the Associated Press reported.
“Our servicemembers haven’t always had the time or information they needed to prepare their resumes, to plot their career goals, to meet with employers and get the jobs they deserve,” the First Lady said during a veterans’ job summit at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
A wave of servicemembers is expected to begin making the transition to civilian life in the coming months. For example, the Army plans to reduce its fighting force to 490,000 from its one-time peak of 570,000, a consequence of budget cuts and the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.
Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, told the AP that the Veterans Employment Center site is designed to help bridge the gap between military and corporate skills.
“I was a sniper in the Marine Corps,” Meyer said. “How many jobs do you think the civilian world, the corporate world has for snipers? … The tool will help translate your skills over to whatever the corporate world is going to understand.”
As part of Joining Forces, major U.S. corporations have committed to hiring former servicemembers. UPS has recruited some 13,000 veterans over the past 12 months, while Tyson Foods has hired more than 3,000 and pledged to hire 2,500 more during 2014.
“Our troops and their spouses are proven leaders, highly skilled and hard working,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a statement. “Employers hiring them are getting the best this nation has to offer.”