Obama signs order on veterans employment
Updated 4:48 p.m. ET
President Obama signed an executive order on Monday establishing veterans employment offices at most federal agencies. The order comes just two days before Veterans Day and one day before the launch of a new $1 million foundation founded by a video game company to help recent military veterans find jobs.
As The Eye reported in Monday's Post, the unemployment rate among people who served in the military since 2001 was 11.6 percent in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eighteen percent of veterans who left the military in the past one to three years were unemployed, according to a 2008 Department of Veterans Affairs employment survey.
Finding employment may be easier in the public sector, the VA study suggested, noting that military officers and service members with college degrees were more likely to work in the public sector. Approximately 480,000 veterans worked for the federal government at the end of fiscal year 2008, according to the White House.
"This initiative is about more than repaying our debt for their courageous service and selfless sacrifice," Obama said in a statement. "It’s also about continuing to fill the ranks of federal employees with men and women who possess the skills, dedication, and sense of duty that Americans deserve from their public servants. And few embody those qualities like our nation’s veterans.”
Obama's order will establish a Council on Veterans Employment, chaired by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, according to White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro. Federal agencies will also have to establish veterans employment program offices that will help recent vets find jobs at the agency, help them assimilate into the civilian and workplace culture and make sure hiring officials know how to recruit and hire veterans.
The Office of Personnel Management will also have to draft a government-wide veterans employment plan that will include plans for a marketing campaign for federal agencies directed at recent veterans.
Veterans group will welcome the order, which comes just days after Obama signed a Defense authorization bill full of new programs designed to assist service members and recent veterans.
That 2008 VA study indicated that the private sector is not readily employing veterans, because employers said some could not quickly adapt to the profit-making world. The study acknowledged that "service members do perform their duties within tightly defined skill sets and are not working towards creating a profit" during their military tenure.
The video game company Activision Blizzard hopes to help reverse that trend and on Tuesday will announce plans to start a $1 million foundation to help veterans find employment. The maker of the popular Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk franchises says the Call of Duty Endowment (CODE) will support other groups that assist veterans with their careers and help promote the unique skills of veterans to private-sector employers. The foundation's board includes several former military leaders, including retired Army Gens. Montgomery Miegs and James "Spider" Marks.
| November 9, 2009; 11:28 AM ET
Categories: Administration, Workplace Issues
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