SPOILER ALERT: This post is not about the Supreme Court arguments over the individual mandate and other components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (However, please do check out EBN’s coverage of day one of the hearings.)
Rather, I’d like to (re)focus your attention on the issue of veteran unemployment, something that — unlike the eventual outcome of this week’s Supreme Court hearings — you actually have a significant amount of influence over.
This week, NBC News is joining forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help military veterans land jobs here at home through an expansion of the Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes campaign, which asks employers to move qualified veterans to the top of their lists of candidates for available positions, as a way to pay it forward, so to speak, for the sacrifices the vets and their families have made in the U.S. war efforts overseas.
Veteran unemployment currently stands at about 12%, or more than 1 million individuals. To spark hiring, NBC News this week will provide national coverage featuring the Hiring Our Heroes program across all NBC network news shows — including “Today,” “Nightly News” and “Dateline” — as well as on NBC-owned websites and cable news outlets MSNBC, CNBC and Telemundo.
In one such segment on MSNBC Monday, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, joined “Morning Joe” cohosts to promote Hiring Our Heroes. During the segment, cohost Willie Geist recounted a story about an Afghanistan veteran friend of his who was interviewed recently for an open position.
“The human resources director looked over his resume, took note of his military service and said to him, ‘This is great, but … do you have any experience?’” Geist recalled. “And [my friend] thought to himself, ‘Well, I advanced on a hill, seized a village, helped build a government. But no, I guess I don’t.’”
Conducting hiring fairs to help overcome employers’ short-sightedness in viewing veterans’ military experience as valuable and applicable to their business objectives is one of the main pillars of Hiring Our Heroes.
In the MSNBC segment, NBC contributor Tom Brokaw said it’s a moral imperative to hire veterans. “We can’t ask one-half of 1% of the population to take all the risk, all the wounds and then not do all we can to help them get back into society successfully.”
Is your company taking meaningful steps to hire veterans? What are the best ways for employers to apply veterans’ military experience to the traditional corporate environment? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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