Military service builds a range of skills that make veterans ideal employees, but employers and vets sometimes need help translating those skills to the civilian workforce. Hiring America, a half-hour television show sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), helps veterans navigate the work world after their return to civilian life.
Hiring Veterans: Filling a Need to Connect Veterans to Jobs
Hiring America is currently in its third season. It has recently reached the milestone of being syndicated on close to 200 television stations across the United States.
As Middle East deployments ended and the US Armed Forces downsized, more military personnel, even some who planned to make the military their career, have needed to find jobs in the civilian sector. The mission of the show, according to its website, is “to help veterans and members of the Armed Forces connect with companies that have jobs available and organizations that support the military community.”
Bill Deutch, a media entrepreneur based in New York City, came up with the idea of a television show to connect returning service members with companies interested in hiring veterans several years ago. With support from the VFW, as well as media and business partners, Deutch, who is the executive producer of Hiring America, launched the show in the fall of 2013. Since then, the television show has created and aired over 50 episodes.
Good Jobs for Veterans
Hiring America covers a lot of ground in its mission to connect military personnel looking for employment with companies hiring veterans. Host Lauren Wanko interviews managers from a range of industries to provide insights about the ways that military experience can translate into skills that civilian employers are looking for.
The show also features interviews with veterans about the ways that their service prepared them for the jobs they hold now. On a recent episode, the mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, discusses how his own military service influences his style of governing and his commitment to help other vets.
The show has featured interviews with companies in all sectors of the economy, from retail to energy to technology to transportation to banking. Employers seek out the talents of veterans to fill jobs as truckers, mechanics, pilots, engineers, administrators, and more.
Many of the companies featured have special programs that promote the hiring of veterans. Companies as diverse as engineering giant Siemens USA and Wells Fargo Bank have instituted initiatives to bring in more veterans as employees. These companies recognize the value that hiring veterans adds to their workforce.
Veterans as Entrepreneurs
Hiring America has also featured interviews with veterans who have created their own startups, talking about their paths to business success. One featured entrepreneur created a junk removal company that only licenses its franchises to other veterans, giving them a leg up in the business world.
The show has provided information about business incubators and boot camps tailored to the special needs and abilities of veterans who want to grow their business ideas into thriving enterprises.
Departments of the United States government have gotten into the act as well. Hiring America has run interviews with personnel from the Department of Veterans Affairs who focus on veteran employment issues. The show provided information on the assistance available to veterans at the VA, to build awareness and help vets take full advantage of the benefits they are due.
Nonprofits that help veterans, such as Afghanistan Veterans of America, have also come on the show to talk about resources they provide to assist veterans in finding success in the work world after they leave military service.
Voices of Veterans
Despite its title, Hiring America doesn’t feature only content about jobs and employment. The show has also included interviews with veterans about their experience serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and how that service has influenced their choices once they return home.
Resources for Hiring Veterans
Hiring America is one of many resources available to help veterans make a smooth and successful transition to civilian employment after they leave the military. More and more, in recent years, individuals and organizations in the business sector and beyond have created projects and programs that recognize the added value that veterans can bring to a wide range of jobs. These individuals and groups believe that hiring veterans should be seen as a benefit that any company would want.