Campaign aims to encourage statewide veteran hiring
July 7, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - All gave some and some gave all, is a common saying about veterans. And now, it's time for employers around the Free State to give back.
The Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs (MDVA) recently announced the start of Operation Hire: Maryland's 100 Day Veteran Hiring Challenge, encouraging the employment of those who served in all of the branches of the armed forces.
Operation Hire, which began June 1 and concludes 5 p.m., Sept. 9, complements the services already in place for veterans seeking employment across the state.
All veterans who are Maryland residents are included in the campaign, including members of the National Guard and Army Reserve. The employment criteria include full- and part- time work, as well as contractual.
"Our goal is to provide solid tools as well as research-informed resources to the employer community in an effort to educate on best practices for recruiting, hiring, supporting, and retaining our veterans in the civilian work place," said Dana Hendrickson, MDVA director of outreach and advocacy. "In addition, the agencies and businesses who participate will be recognized for their participation at the end of the 100 days. We will provide special recognition to the agency or business with the most hires (raw count) as well as for the overall percentage of hires based upon work force size."
Hendrickson said Operation Hire strives to encourage veteran hiring beyond September. "The resources we are providing to employers on our website will remain static," she said. "We hope that the research- informed strategies which employers have access to will be permanently incorporated into their existing HR strategic plans."
Maureen O'Connor, director of communications and media relations for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, described Operation Hire as a "win-win" for veterans and communities at large.
"We have some great veterans and job openings, and it's our duty to give back to our veterans," she said. "It's good for them and it's good for business."
Federal, state and local agencies, and private businesses, as well as non-profit organizations, are encouraged to participate in Operation Hire by initiating or expanding veteran-friendly hiring policies.
To be eligible, employers with a federal tax identification number must complete the online registration form; visit the Employer Tool Kit; register on the Maryland Workforce Exchange; contact their local One Stop Career Center and the MDVA at firstname.lastname@example.org to announce job listings; and share hiring data via the Veteran Hiring Tracking form when contacted by the MDVA. The forms will be sent to employers on a scheduled basis.
For more information or to register as a participant in Operation Hire, businesses and agencies can visit http://veterans.maryland.gov/operation-hire-marylands-100-day-veteran-hiring-challenge/.
A smoother transition
Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013, which removes barriers to employment that service members frequently face while transitioning to the civilian workforce. The act expedited the process for certain occupational and professional licensing for recently-discharged veterans and spouses when a military Family relocates to Maryland.
"Veterans bring remarkable skill sets and qualities to our civilian work environment," read a statement released by the Assembly regarding the 100 Day Veteran Hiring Challenge. "They display fierce loyalties and commitment, a strong work ethic, excellent problem solving capabilities, and technical training. Supporting veteran employment is not only good for our veterans and their Families, it is good for our communities and our businesses. Operation Hire will play a critical role in supporting the men and women who have given so much for our state and for our nation."
A Chestertown, Maryland company is one of several employers that have signed up for Operation Hire. The company has 350 workers and has been a longtime hirer of veterans, according to Kelly L. Moriarty, the company's wellness coordinator/Chestertown recruiter.
"We're a family-oriented company, so our ways of operating really connect with veterans," she said. "We want to help take care of the people who take care of us. We know it's not an easy transition, so we try to help and give back in any way we can."
A sub-campaign focusing on employing family members of Maryland veterans will be launched in August.
For a map of Operation Hire employer participants and their locations and contact information, visit http://veterans.maryland.gov/operation-hire-marylands-100-day-veteran-hiring-challenge/.