Each year across the country, thousands of military personnel leave active duty and seek to return to the civilian workforce. Between October 2001 and February 2008, more than 30,000 veterans returned home with service-connected disabilities. Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced a higher proportion of both traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In Vermont, the veteran population numbers over 62,000. According to the Office of Veterans Affairs, there are almost 4,900 service-connected disabled veterans in Vermont. Over 30% are disabled at a 50% or higher degree of disability.
Veterans returning from service can face a variety of challenges as they reintegrate into civilian life. This is complicated if they have acquired a service-connected disability. What can Vermont employers do to help our returning veterans, especially those who have been injured in combat?
Employers can start by taking some specific steps to recruit and hire veterans with service-connected disabilities. Tips from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission include:
- State on a job advertisement or vacancy announcement that your company is an equal opportunity employer and individuals with disabilities, including disabled veterans or veterans with service-connected disabilities, are encouraged to apply.
- Ensure that on-line job announcements, recruiting information and application processes are accessible to individuals with disabilities, including applicants who have service-connected disabilities.
- Make written recruiting materials, such as application forms and brochures, available in alternate formats (e.g., Braille, large print, etc.), or assist veterans with disabilities in completing application materials when necessary.
- Send vacancy announcements to, and ask for referrals from, government, community, military organizations and One Stop Career Centers that train and/or support veterans with service-connected disabilities.
- Post advertisements and vacancy announcements in publications for veterans.
- Attend job fairs and use online resume databases that connect job-seeking veterans with civilian employers.