FireWatch Magazine is a proud sponsor of Wreaths Across America. Listen to Team FireWatch live every Thursday morning at 8:15 AM. New expanded lineup!

Veteran Voices

Freedom isn’t free. That’s not new.

But free lunches don’t only apply to USO treats on the flight line surrounding a deployment rotation. All military members contribute a certain resilience to the fabric of society. We don’t quite have the utility of farming to the societal denim; we’re more like the Kevlar lining.

In nearly every industry, everybody wants military grade until they gain insight into what that actually means. There is paperwork, processes, bureaucracy; mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical baggage, even inapplicable skillsets that get lost in translation as much as the jargon. Ever heard of 50 mph tape?

But that doesn’t mean we have nothing to offer. Emotional or physical obsolescence doesn’t equate to functional detriment. We still “have a very particular set of skills.” (Thanks for the lift, Liam!)

Here are the top 10 concerns that stigmatize veteran hiring after separation from military service. (Not in any particular order, just numbered for structure.)

  1. Mental health concerns and PTSD
  2. Lack of civilian job skills
  3. Difficulty transitioning into civilian life
  4. Physical disabilities and injuries
  5. Unrealistic expectations of veterans
  6. Cost of hiring and training veterans
  7. Negative stereotypes and misconceptions
  8. Ignorance of veterans’ competencies
  9. Discrimination towards veterans
  10. Difficulty or misunderstanding the corporate hiring process…Translation: Excuses.

No one climbed the mountain for you the first time. People will judge us based on their perceptions. Educate, empower, and encourage. Don’t waste your time feeling sorry for yourself. As my drill instructor once said, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3, 2, 1. You’re done.”

The Question: What are some strategies to overcome corporate reluctance to hire veterans

This is a clash of cultures, similar yet very different. One of the biggest issues is a lack of understanding of both the civilian and veteran parts. To bridge the gap between expectations and reality, education is key.

Corporate hiring personnel should get more training from veterans to show them how they can best use the talents veterans come with. This can be done by having training presented by veteran groups.

On the flipside, the veteran needs to ensure they understand that going into a civilian setting, there will be a lot of differences. Training not just during their transition out of the military but also training and assistance from veteran groups.

Like everything else, it comes down to education and the willingness of all involved to learn.

R. Martin, USA

I think reducing the stigma of all veterans being “damaged goods” or generally suffering from mental disorders is paramount.

While it is true that a majority of us suffer through and live with injuries (both visible and non-visible) from our service, I believe that speaks to the resilience and ability to push through challenges and should be praised.

I also believe in separating the minority of veterans who feel “entitled” from the majority who want to be able to live their lives.

Outside of those two general strategies, focusing on the truly remarkable skill sets of veterans is a really impactful attribute we bring to the table. Instead of classifying the individual as a “veteran,” switch the perception to be more aligned with the concept that a veteran’s shared experience enhances the individual’s personal attributes.

Those experiences instill confidence and a level of critical thinking that is outside the norm.

R. Lee, USMC

Many federal and state programs specifically aim to entice employers to hire veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alone had several subsidiaries involved with reimbursing companies that hire trained and untrained veterans.

I personally have used the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR/E) through the VA to go to college to become a gunsmith. I did not have to use my Post 9/11 GI Benefits and was given a stipend for the first six months of employment to offset any life changes.

Employers can also leverage incentive programs such as Special Employer Incentive (SEI) and the HIRE Veterans Medallion Program. Both programs offer cash incentives for top marks and national-level exposure for excellence.

These programs not only ensure that veterans are offered a second chance, but due to the vetting processes, companies will be offered quality personnel that will enhance the culture of their workforce.

S. Gersley, USMC

Having applied to multiple companies and agencies after leaving the Marine Corps, I know I was not selected primarily due to lack of experience and education.

Most companies would like to see candidates have a form of higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree and/or technical training certificates that are nationally accredited.

The primary goals I highly suggest veterans should strive to achieve are:

  1. Completing technical certifications for the field they intend to pursue.
  2. Complete college courses while on active duty.
  3. Review all requirements AND position overview items for the companies they intend to apply for in order to ensure they meet those criteria areas.

The best strategy to achieve these objectives is simple: start with the area that will take the longest, and once you reach a stopping point, begin the next step that can be completed fully, then pick another area, and so on until you’re at the stage to continue the objective that is on hold due to its timeline.

Never stop working for a better tomorrow for you and your family.

— W. Grissom, USN


EDITOR’S NOTE: Josh Porthouse is currently a Marine Corps Reservist with 14 years of active duty. As a Team FireWatch Veteran Voices contributor, Josh works alongside other veterans to bring a personal perspective to relevant topics for today’s active-duty and veteran service members.



Social Media

Current Edition

No spam, notifications only about new editions, events & monthly top articles.  Our digital edition is FIRE!