President's Council Announces Increase in Veteran Hires

Handshake between professionals in white shirts.

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015 – In the more than five years since President Barack Obama established the Veterans Employment Initiative, a steadily increasing annual percentage of veterans have entered federal civilian service.

In fiscal year 2014, according to an Office of Personnel Management news release issued today, the percentage of veteran new hires hit a new high of 33.2 percent, surpassing the previous mark set in FY 2013, when 31 percent of all new Federal civilian hires were veterans.

Fiscal 2014 also marked the first time since the president established the Veterans Employment Initiative that new veteran hires increased in a year when overall new employee hires also increased.

'Ongoing and Sustainable' Progress for Veterans

The goal of the President's Veterans Employment Initiative, officials said, is to help federal agencies identify qualified veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans seeking employment with the federal government, and help them adjust to the civilian work environment once they are hired.

"I am confident that together this council is doing what is needed to achieve the president's objectives and establish the foundation for ongoing and sustainable progress for our veterans for years to come," said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, vice chair of the council.

The council is made up of 24 Cabinet-level members and other independent agency representatives. It is co-chaired by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald.

Increasing Focus on Female Veterans, Diversity

At a meeting today, officials said, the council discussed the fiscal 2014 veteran employment numbers and recommendations from the Council's Women Veterans Working Group. Archuleta had asked Catherine Emerson, the Department of Homeland Security's chief human capital officer, to lead a working group to assess the hiring of women veterans, officials said.

The council approved the group's recommendation to adopt an addendum to the governmentwide Veterans Recruitment and Employment Strategic Plan FY 2014 -- 2017. The addendum will add measures related to women veterans and diversity to the plan's existing goal areas of leadership commitment, employment, marketing and information gateway.

Character, Team-building, Discipline

"We know that veterans possess character, team-building skills, and discipline," McDonald said "Those traits don't stop when we take off the uniform. They transfer into the workplace and help their businesses grow and succeed." More than a third of VA employees are veterans, he noted, which "means providing better outcomes and better service to their fellow veterans.

Perez said, "My colleagues at the Labor Department who are veterans embody the very finest qualities of our military tradition, and they demonstrate their character every day while standing up for American workers and their families."

Breaking down "silos" across the government to explore innovative strategies to boost veterans' ranks within agencies, he said, "not only helps us honor the men and women who protect our nation with good jobs, but leads to more dependable, professional, and conscientious government services for the American people."

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