We all love our veterans, right?
So, prove it.
As employers, what can we do besides just say those words in admiration for our men and women active or retired from service? We, as the rail industry, both suppliers and railroads alike, can make a conscious effort and solidify a clear path from the moment our military men and women step foot off their last mission, and transition that next step here at home into steel-toed boots toward our future railbeds and management offices.
In 2009, Executive Order 13518 was released which noted “veterans have served and sacrificed in defense of our Nation. When they complete their service, we must do everything in our power to assist them in re-entering civilian life and finding employment. Government, as well as private employers, should play a prominent role in helping veterans who may be struggling to find jobs.” Besides being recognized as a need from our own government, other organizations such as Military.com also cite that “veterans are disciplined team players that strengthen your company goals and success. Their skills, values, and extensive training can enhance your organization's productivity. Veterans are highly trained in career fields not just limited to Information Technology/Security, Finance, Logistics, Security, Healthcare, Administration, and many more.” It is a win-win to hire veterans. From the exposure of diverse skills these candidates have, including the discipline and leadership to conquer adversity when present, (and let’s not forget our own need as employers to find quality candidates here at home), adding veterans to our bench is a smart and sustainable means for the future.
Alright, need another dose already?
The US Department of Veteran Affairs sites “military personnel are often cross-trained in multiple skills and have experience in varied tasks and responsibilities.” What do our short lines and suppliers do on a daily basis? We, also perform multiple duties and multiple jobs all under one title or hat. Why not match the candidates that are already used to working on multiple skills and transition that strength into your workforce?
Okay, so what now?
We as an industry must show a deliberate and concentrated effort to bring employment in front of these candidates more readily and more reliably, and not just from the big powerhouses in the industry, but get a voice out there for the smaller companies that may have opportunities available today. Of course, these brief summaries are just to whet your palate for a much heartier and more fact-full discussion on why to hire veterans, as there are data and research, (such as this from Syracuse University for starters) that proves recruiting and retaining veterans provides a greater return on investment for employers when used and adapted to the skills and needs of their candidates. And keep in mind, presidential administrations from both sides of the aisle have dedicated funding at an increasing level to support veteran initiatives. and It’s time we do the same from the enterprise side.