Wednesday, October 6, 2010

First Lady Urges Businesses to Hire Veterans

During the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on September 23, First Lady Michelle Obama urged businesses and non-profits to hire veterans. The Clinton Global Initiative was established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton with the goal of devising and implementing solutions to various issues facing the world. In the spirit of the Global Initiative, Obama reminded the gathering of leaders that while veterans’ skills are “highly valuable, highly transferable, [and] highly marketable,” more than 150,000 former service members are currently trying to find work.

When discussing the disconnect she sees between veterans and potential civilian employers, Obama said that many employers don’t truly understand the scope of skills a veteran has. In fact, she quoted one survey that found that 61% of employers didn’t fully understand how military skills translated into civilian terms. Additionally, more than three-quarters of veterans say they find translating their military resume into a civilian one to be difficult.

Ultimately, though, the First Lady states that employers should not just hire veterans simply because they are veterans and honorably served our country, but also because having veterans among their workforce makes the company as a whole stronger. “After all, hiring America’s vets and military spouses is not just about helping them,” said Obama, “- it’s about how they can help you. So I’m not asking you to do this out of the goodness of your heart—do it because it’s good for your bottom line and the success of your organization.”

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