This Memorial Day, Americans across the country will join together to honor those who have served and sacrificed for our nation and our freedoms. As a Navy Combat (Desert Storm) veteran, I look forward to participating in these celebrations and to honoring those who served before and alongside me.
However, once the services and celebrations wrap up, thousands of veterans across the country will return to a process almost as familiar to us as standing watch in a foreign land — searching for civilian jobs. I know firsthand how difficult this process can be. For many veterans, finding and succeeding in a new career is often a challenging and frustrating process. This should not be the case.
Fortunately, many companies, including my own employer, AT&T, are stepping up their efforts to hire and support veteran employees. I’ve worked at AT&T as a Process Improvement Change Agent for the past 13 years, and I was thrilled to learn that last month my company announced a goal of hiring 5,000 veterans and their family members into career opportunities over the next five years. This commitment was made at a White House event with Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and other companies supporting the Joining Forces Initiative and is the type of goal that I think all companies should be setting.
AT&T is also teaming up with JPMorgan Chase and the 100,000 Jobs Mission to launch an online veteran talent exchange later this year. Through this tool, active-duty members of the military and veterans will have the opportunity to “opt-in” to a talent-sharing database so their career information can be shared with employers that are members of the 100,000 Jobs Mission. Personally, I think this is a great use of technology — and a great opportunity for companies beyond just AT&T to benefit from the talent veterans can bring their workforces.
I’m proud to work for a company that prioritizes veteran hiring. AT&T is using new tools like the veteran talent exchange and existing resources like our military career site and Military Skills Translator Tool. The Military Skills Translator Tool helps veterans align their Military Occupation Code or Military Occupation Specialty to civilian jobs that are good fits for their skills and talents.
From day one, AT&T has been there to support my transition into the workforce, my career and my family. I hope that other companies learn from my story and the example AT&T is setting and realize that during Memorial Day and beyond, there’s no better way to honor veterans than by hiring them.