In June 2012, the New Jersey Technology Council, in collaboration with CPA firm WithumSmith+Brown and law firm Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, conducted a survey of 150 C-suite executives and decision makers from New Jersey based technology companies. The survey focused around questions regarding talent and employment trends and concerns that they have been experiencing within their organizations.
When asked specifically about hiring returning veterans, we were taken back by the overall results and comments in this area. It is clear from the comments that respondents were not aware of this potentially robust talent pool. Take for example this comment from a large data management company, "We want to make this a priority but have not figured out a program yet." And this comment from a mid-sized company, "I would consider it if I knew there would be qualified candidates." And even this comment from a CEO at a large software solutions company, "Would like to but are not aware of the resources."
With over 50% never attending job fairs to find returning veterans and almost 20% rarely attending such events, it is clear that a lot more can be done in this area by disseminating information about the availability of such resources.
If you are not aware of the Special Employer Incentives (SEI) Program under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, you should be.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program provides eligible Veterans an opportunity to obtain training and practical hands-on experience concurrently through the Special Employer Incentives (SEI) program. The SEI program is for eligible Veterans who face challenges in obtaining employment. The VA is responsible for determining if a Veteran is eligible to participate.
Veterans approved to participate in the SEI program are hired by participating employers, and employment is expected to continue following successful completion of the program. VA facilitates the process by identifying suitable placements and coordinating efforts between all parties. As a result, the SEI program is beneficial for both Veterans and Employers.
So, what's in it for employers? Here's the short list of some of the benefits:
- Reimbursement of up to 50% of the Veteran's salary during the SEI program, which typically lasts up to 6 months, to cover:
- Expenses incurred for cost of instruction
- Necessary loss of production due to training status
- Supplies and equipment necessary to complete training
- VA-provided tools, equipment, uniforms and other supplies
- Appropriate accommodations based on individual needs of the Veteran
- The advantage of minimal paperwork to participate
- VA support during training and placement follow-up phase to assist with work or training-related needs
The provisions under the VOW are currently anticipated to expire on January 1, 2013 (unless extended). For avsummary on the specific provisions of the Act, check out:
For more specific information on this program and how to become a participating employer, please visit:
For those looking to find veterans, you actually donít have to look too far! The Department of Veterans Affairs hosts a site called vetsuccess (www.vetsuccess.gov). This site contains a wealth of information for both employers and potential job candidates. Employers simply register for free and then have access to the data contained on the site.
Americaís Heroes at Work (www.americasheroesatwork.gov) is a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) program that focuses on the employment challenges of returning Service Members living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), particularly those Veterans and active duty military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program equips employers and the workforce development system with the tools they need to help those affected by these injuries succeed in the workplace.
The site provides potential employers with a useful toolkit. This toolkit is designed to assist and educate employers who have made the proactive decision to include transitioning Service Members, Veterans and wounded warriors in their recruitment and hiring initiatives.
The U.S. Department of Labor recognizes that employers can sometimes find it difficult to navigate the plethora of Veterans hiring resources available to them. So, this Toolkit was developed to simplify the process and put valuable resources at your fingertips. It serves to pinpoint helpful tools and outline some
important steps to take when designing a Veterans hiring initiative that works for your particular business.
Recognizing that each employer is unique, this guide allows the employer to select from promising practices and other resources that employers are using to successfully welcome talented and skilled Veterans into their companies.
Whether you are looking to create a plan from scratch or retool existing efforts, you are encouraged to reference this guide and design an initiative. The above are just a few of the many resources available to employers looking to hire qualified returning veterans. I encourage you to explore the resources and to share your experiences with other members of the New Jersey Technology Council.
For more information, please contact a member of our Technology Services Group.