Despite the resources we have gathered here, our American Heroes – service men and women – often find it difficult to find placement upon their return (in fact, NBC reports 12% unemployment in this group). Small business owners are not positioned to solve all of the problems, but as job creators, you can help.

Included here is a list of various campaigns and efforts aimed at helping our Heroes re-join the workforce. As you review the list, ask yourself how returning vets can address your business needs. The vast majority of these Heroes are clerks, drivers, cooks, nurses, equipment operators, etc. They have demonstrable skills and extensive training. They are – in their experience and training – alert, dependable, reliable, and accountable. They work with focus, and they finish assignments as instructed and on time. They work collaboratively and without ego.

If you hire this year, give them first crack. But, if you are concerned about erratic behavior, dependency issues, and post-traumatic stress disorders, think again. The great majority of vets return without these problems, and most serve with honor in and out of the military. Still, you can form a pro-active alliance with the designated Vet Rep at your local unemployment office. Develop a relationship that is clear and honest. Let the rep know what you need and what limits you put on variance from the “normal.” Where there is difficulty in the match, the rep can anticipate your needs, smooth the transition, and coach the candidate. Check out the resources below and make a vet your next hire!

Hire Heroes USA is a campaign orchestrated by a non-profit with partners including The US Chamber of Commerce, Anheuser Busch, Ryder Trucks, and others. With distinguished Boards of Directors and Advisors, it presents a professional venue to assist returning veterans in finding worthy employment.

Hiring Our Heroes is an initiative of The US Chamber of Commerce to provide job opportunities for 500,000 veterans in alliance with Capital One and The National Chamber Foundation (NCF). Since their start in 2011, they have sponsored 130 job fairs and hired 9,000 vets or military spouses.

Heroes Hiring Heroes encourages veterans to hire returning military. A project of the Employer Support Group of the Guard and Reserve, it is significant federal to support the hiring of vets into national and state employment opportunities.

Hire a Hero is a Monster-like employment search engine where vets can post resumes and research job opportunities. Employers can post jobs here for a focused attention. The site includes alliances with UCLA and Discover credit cards.

The Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 offers incentives attractive to small business owners. This bi-partisan legislation enables veterans to return to the civilian job market through the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP offers job search information, cover letter and resume writing training, and interview practice. The Hiring Heroes Act fast tracks veterans into federal employment opportunities by eliminating the wait for their veteran preference. It removes barriers in transitioning returning vets to jobs requiring skills they have demonstrated: medical practitioners, drivers, heavy equipment operators, etc. And, finally, employers are promised $5,000 in benefits for every veteran hired and $9,000 for hiring those with disabilities.


By Steven Schlagel