Each November, we take a day to honor the men and women who have served our country in the military. This year, Veterans Day is Nov. 11, and while you may be reading this after the fact, I wanted to use this space this month to say a big thank you to those who have served — and to their families — from the AutoSuccess/Babcox Media family.
Many dealers show their appreciation for veterans by providing discounts on auto sales. Another way to honor them is by hiring them in your dealerships. While there have been great improvements in veteran employment over the past few years, there are still thousands of unemployed veterans seeking meaningful work.
I believe hiring veterans is simply a good business decision. Research shows that veterans bring a higher level of dedication and professionalism, are more productive and have higher retention rates. They have proven leadership skills, are team players and quick learners, with a strong work ethic and integrity.
“Hiring veterans is critically important to our local communities and to our economy more broadly,” NADA Chairman Charlie Gilchrist said. “These brave men and women have the discipline and training to get any job done and are often standout employees — making them prime candidates for dealership jobs. In fact, the general manager of one of my dealerships is a Marine and a veteran; he started as a salesman and is now a partner in the dealership.”
One of the first steps in hiring a veteran is to find qualified people in your local area that fit your hiring needs. A great place to start is dol.gov/veterans.
DOL VETS helps employers find qualified veterans. There are approximately 2,500 American Job Centers with specialists who connect employers with veterans in the local community who have the skills the employer needs. They also have training and apprenticeship programs to help veterans learn a trade.
Employment specialists at AJCs can also help you post your job openings for free through a state job bank, and nationally on the National Labor Exchange at us.jobs.
Another program, Hiring Our Heroes (hiringourheroes.org), part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s network of state and local chambers and strategic partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors, the HOH provides job fairs and offers a suite of free online career tools. To date, more than 31,000 veterans and military spouses have obtained employment opportunities through HOH events.
The group’s digital resources include distinct resume builders, a jobs portal that allows veterans and service members to search for employment opportunities in America’s fastest growing job markets and industries; a 24/7 virtual career fair platform, an interactive employer best practices site, and a virtual mentorship program that connects veteran and spouse protégés with experienced mentors.
Frequent moves by military families can create employment obstacles for the spouses of the veteran as well as the returning vet.
Hire Our Heroes surveyed more than 1,200 spouses of active duty military service members and recent veterans to uncover the challenges they face. Some of the key findings include significant unemployment and underemployment challenges for most military spouses.
“Many are in part-time or seasonal positions when they would prefer full-time or permanent work,” the report said. Military spouses with degrees face the greatest challenges finding meaningful work, and the survey found 88% of military spouses have some post-high school education; 34% have a college degree and 15% have a post-graduate degree.
“Like more American families, military families want and need two incomes — something that is much harder for military families to achieve.” The report stated that 44% of military spouses said they are living paycheck to paycheck or struggling financially.
Employers can connect with veteran and military spouse candidates at in-person hiring events on military installations across the nation and learn best practices for recruiting and retaining them.
I hope that you can commit to giving back to the veterans and giving these skilled, hard-working team members and their spouses a chance for meaningful employment at your dealership.
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