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President Challenges Business to Hire Military Veterans

August 25th, 2011 ::

By Karen Axelton

Is your business looking to hire? Well, consider these numbers:

  • Some 1 million military veterans are unemployed.
  • Among veterans who joined the military post-9/11, the jobless rate is 13.3 percent.
  • More than 1 million more service members are projected to leave the military between 2011 and 2016.

These numbers are the reason the White House has proposed new tax incentives for businesses that hire military veterans, and has launched other initiatives to help veterans find jobs. Here’s what President Obama has proposed:

Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits: Under the Recovery Act, employers who hired certain unemployed veterans were eligible for a tax credit of up to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages, for a maximum credit of $2,400. This credit expired at the end of 2010. The President has proposed two new tax credits:

1)    A new Returning Heroes Tax Credit for firms that hire unemployed veterans (maximum credit of $2,400 for every short-term unemployed hire and $4,800 for every long-term unemployed hire)

2)     A Wounded Warriors Tax Credit that will increase the existing tax credit for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed long-term (maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran) and continue the existing credit for all other veterans with a service-connected disability (maximum credit of $4,800).

The White House estimates the cost of the tax incentive program to be $120 million over two years, depending on the number of hires.

A Challenge to the Private Sector: The President has challenged businesses to commit to hire hiring or training 100,000 unemployed veterans of their spouses by the end of  2013. Companies including Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Accenture, JP Morgan and AT&T have already announced new commitments to training or employing veterans.

A Career-Ready Military: The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs will lead a task force to develop reforms to ensure that every member of the service receives the training, education and credentials they need to transition to the civilian workforce or pursue higher education. This will include designing a “Reverse Boot Camp” that extends the transition period to better prepare veterans for private sector careers.

Transition to the Private Sector: The Department of Labor will establish a new initiative to provide better career development and job search services to transitioning veterans, and The Office of Personnel Management will create a “Best Practices” Manual for the private sector to help businesses identify and hire veterans.

With big business stepping up to the plate to help veterans transition back to civilian life, shouldn’t small business do the same? As President Obama noted in a recent speech, veterans gain a lot of skills that transition to the business world. And their leadership abilities can be especially valuable in a small business with a lean staff.

If you’re looking to hire veterans, the following job search sites are places to check out:

Image by Flickr user Denise Krebs (Creative Commons)