I believe this is a defining moment in our history. Our nation is in a fight for its soul. What kind of country do we want to be? I think we are the nation that takes care of its own.
Twelve percent of the 240,000 American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unemployed. Thirty percent of those under 24 are jobless, double the national average [i]. This is a national tragedy of epic proportions and those reading this post are the ones who can do something about it.
We can’t begin to repay veterans for the years they served for the country, the friends and family they have lost, or the sleep lost over the horrors of war.
But we can give them a chance to have a life when they come home.
Every company in America who is hiring should put veterans at the front of the line.
Hiring a veteran is a gift, not for them (they have earned the right to work) but for us. We should hire them because:
- Veterans make great employees: loyal, trustworthy, disciplined, hard working and tough.
- The Hire Heroes Act of 2011, passed last month (517-0 in Congress) provides up to $5,600 in tax credits to employers who hire a veteran
- Veterans provide inspiration to other employees, and send a message about what kind of employer you want to be
- Hiring war heroes helps drive home corporate values and messaging that resonates with customers, investors , vendors and the communities we serve
- Veterans are capable, many having mastered transferable technical skills
As the last American soldiers return from Iraq this week, we should take pause. As we celebrate our family, friends and faith, we should be thinking about those who have sacrificed so much, and have been received so little.
Most of us entrepreneurs have been the benefactors of American freedom, and it is time for us to show our appreciation.
Below are a set of resources for searching for qualified veterans:
[i] Unemployed for Young Vets by Dan Deucke Bloomberg Businessweek November 11, 2011