On Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, Secretary of the Department of Labor Hilda L. Solis hosted a Salute to Veterans Event at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Salute to Veterans event focused on the initiatives to decrease the number of unemployed veterans and present opportunities to the men and women who served our country.
“We currently employ more than 3,000 veterans, including more than 400 in managerial positions,” Solis said in her opening remarks. “Last month, the unemployment rate for our veterans fell to 6.3 percent, well below the national average.” While the national average for veteran unemployment has decreased, the number of 18 to 24-year old veterans who are without employment remains higher than their civilian counterparts. Solis went on to praise the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to encourage civilian employers to hire veterans.
“We’ve hosted more than 330 hiring fairs in 49 states. These fairs already have helped more than 10,000 veterans and their spouses find jobs,” said Solis in regards to the Department of Labor and Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative. “Through our Jobs for Veterans state grant program, we’ve funded 2,000 veterans employment specialists in communities across the country.”
Following Solis’ remarks, a panel discussion on the experiences of veterans and why employers should hire veterans was led by Deputy Assistant of Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service Ismael Ortiz Jr. The panel included: retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, Army veteran and Director of “Got Your 6” Chris Marvin, Navy reservist and head of Goodwill Industries’ Veterans and Military Family Services James Lander, Air Force veteran and Department of Labor employee Miguel Cumbo, and Air Force veteran and federal contractor Chauntay Green.
The panel discussed topics ranging from the challenges young veterans face when transitioning into the civilian workforce to the qualities veterans should emphasize when interviewing for a job. The panel allowed audience members to see the different perspectives from both employers and veterans and how the issue of unemployment affects both parties.
For more information on the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, visit: www.dol.gov/vets
Photos: Top: Secretary Solis discusses veteran unemployment at the Department of Labor's Salute to Veterans event on Nov. 15, 2012. Bottom: Army veteran and Director of “Got Your 6” Chris Marvin and Navy reservist and head of Goodwill Industries’ Veterans and Military Family Services Program James Lander talk about the benefits of hiring veterans. Photos by Brittany Barry.