The hiring of veterans within the federal government reached a new high in fiscal 2014, making up 33.2 percent of all civilian new hires.
Agencies increased the overall percentage of veteran hires by more than two percentage points last year, up from 31 percent in 2013, according to the President’s Council on Veterans Employment, which released the new figures Monday.
Since 2009 when the White House established the Veterans Employment Initiative, agencies have steadily increased how many veterans they hire. Last year, agencies not only increased veteran hires, but overall new hires—the first time both of those things happened.
“I am confident that together this council is doing what is needed to achieve the President’s objectives and establish the foundation for ongoing and sustainable progress for our veterans for years to come,” said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, the vice-chairwoman of the Council, in a release.
The Defense Department traditionally has done even better in hiring veterans. The White House reported in the fiscal 2016 budget request to Congress that veterans made up 54 percent of all new DoD hires in 2013. The 2014 data is not yet available for the agency. Governmentwide, veterans made up 30 percent of the federal workforce or more than 607,000 out of 2.058 million employees in 2013.
The council also is taking steps to further integrate women veterans and diversity into efforts going forward. OPM adopted an addendum proposed by the council’s Women Veterans Working Group into the governmentwide Veterans Recruitment and Employment Strategic Plan for fiscal 2014-2017. It adds to the plan’s existing goal areas of leadership commitment, employment, marketing and being an information gateway.
“My colleagues at the Labor Department who are veterans embody the very finest qualities of our military tradition, and they demonstrate their character every day while standing up for American workers and their families. Breaking down silos across the government and coming together to explore innovative strategies to boost veterans’ ranks within our agencies not only helps us honor the men and women who protect our nation with good jobs, but leads to more dependable, professional, and conscientious government services for the American people,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in the release.
Perez and Robert McDonald, the secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, are the co-chairmen of the council, which includes 24 cabinet-level and other independent agencies.
“We know that veterans possess character, team-building skills and discipline. Those traits don’t stop when we take off the uniform. They transfer into the workplace and help their businesses grow and succeed,” said McDonald. “For us in VA, where more than a third of our employees are veterans, that means providing better outcomes and better service to their fellow veterans.”
The goal of the President’s Veterans Employment Initiative is to help agencies identify qualified veterans, and help veterans understand the hiring process and make a smooth transition into the civilian workplace.