News & Announcements

Training and Recruiting Veterans Makes Good Business Sense

Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2018 6:27 am

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced last week that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 2.0 percent, the lowest rate on record dating back to 1976.  As employers across the state struggle to fill vacancies, it is important to think outside the box when sourcing new talent.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, military veterans comprise more than ten percent of Hawaii’s adult population.  Across the country, this talent pool is often overlooked by employers, however.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that veteran unemployment hovered around 4.5 percent in 2017. 

One possible explanation for the disparity between the overall unemployment rate and that experienced by military veterans is that hiring managers have misperceptions or unfounded apprehensions about hiring veterans. Yet research shows that veterans are strong contributors in civilian workplaces. They bring valuable skills in leadership and teamwork and are self-disciplined in the work that they do.

Over time, community organizations, employers and even governmental entities are recognizing the value that veterans bring to the workplace.  To better support the transition to civilian life, Hawaii organizations are providing unique training support and resources to these workers.  For example, DevLeague, Hawaii’s only immersive technical training program in software engineering, recently announced that veterans can now apply their GI Bill® educational benefits to its JavaScript Web Engineer course.  The organization is also working to get other courses, including their Cyber Security Professional class, approved for the GI Bill®.

Local organizations are not the only ones recognizing the untapped potential presented by military veterans.  Recognizing the important contributions that military veterans offer to the workplace, the Department of Labor will roll out the HIRE Vets Medallion Program in 2019.  Created under the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act), the program will provide recognition to employers who recruit, retain and employ veterans.  

The new DOL program was announced in 2017, and a HIRE Vets Medallion Demonstration Program is currently underway.  Under the program, recognition will be given to small, medium and large employers at two levels - the Gold HIRE Vets Medallion Award and the Platinum HIRE Vets Medallion Award.  Award criteria will include the percentage of employees who are veterans; the percentage of veteran employees who are retained; the establishment of veterans' assistance and training programs; the employment of dedicated HR professionals for veterans; and income and tuition support for veterans.  Click here for more information about the HIRE Vets Medallion Program.

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Resources Updated for New Hawaii Laws

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