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Veterans Day: Fighting for America Means Not Having to Fight for Jobs

This Veterans Day there’s good news on the job front for vets.

As our nation comes together to honor the many sacrifices of our courageous veterans, OPM reports the following:

  • “In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, the Executive Branch of Government hired the highest percentage of military veterans in over 20 years, surpassing the previous high set in FY 2011.”
  • “In FY 2012, the number of veterans onboard represented 29.7 percent of the workforce. In FY 2009, approximately 25.8 percent of the workforce were veterans; this is approximately a 4 percentage-point increase in 3 years.”
  • “On November 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, establishing the Veterans Employment Initiative.”
  • “The Initiative outlines the most comprehensive approach to improving employment opportunities for veterans ever undertaken by the Federal Executive Branch. It seizes on three central themes:

1) Honor our obligations to our nation’s veterans,
2) Utilize the talents of vets to help the government meet today’s challenges, and
3) Create a program worthy of emulation by the private sector.”

Don’t Disparage Veterans’ Preference

Veterans who put their lives on the line to protect America and our national security interests worldwide deserve gainful employment after returning from the battle field. This is especially true for vets with disabilities.

While some federal employees and managers occasionally voice concern over Veterans’ Preference in hiring, it’s the very least Uncle Sam can do to help our brave soldiers when they transition back to civilian life.

Therefore, Veterans’ Preference should be embraced, not disparaged.

Veterans bring unique skills and experience to the workplace that may not be found elsewhere, as the Department of Labor points out in this 30-second video.

Presidential Proclamation

As President Obama said in a Veterans Day Proclamation:

  • “When America’s veterans return home, they continue to serve our country in new ways, bringing tremendous skills to their communities and to the workforce — leadership honed while guiding platoons through unbelievable danger, the talent to master cutting-edge technologies, the ability to adapt to unpredictable situations.”
  • “These men and women should have the chance to power our economic engine, both because their talents demand it and because no one who fights for our country should ever have to fight for a job.”
  • “Under the most demanding of circumstances and in the most dangerous corners of the earth, America’s veterans have served with distinction. With courage, self-sacrifice, and devotion to our Nation and to one another, they represent the American character at its best.”

Therefore, let’s not only pay tribute to our nation’s veterans today and every day, but let’s also go the extra mile to increase veterans employment in the public and private sectors alike.

It’s the least we can do to honor their heroic sacrifices for America.

DBG

* All views and opinions are those of the author only.

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8 Comments

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Profile Photo Kathryn David

Thanks for posting this! Jon Stewart (yes, of The Daily Show) is working on an initiative to make certifications earned during military service (i.e. medical, tech etc.) have equivalents in the civilian sector. Right now, many veterans have to retake courses to get certifications because the systems do not recognize each other. I hope government gets on board!

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Profile Photo Earl Rice

Very Good Post.

Though there is one misnomer in the VA poster. Yes, they have 32% Veteran work force. But there is a glass ceiling for Vets at the GS 6 or 7 level, that makes it hard for them to reach higher levels of management. The Veterans Health Administration is the worst on this. It is rare to see a Physician that is a Veteran. It is also very rare to see a Nurse that is a Veteran. It is very rare to see Hospital Administrators that are Veterans. And, even more rare to see a Director that is a Veteran. DOD, on the other hand, does not suffer from this glass ceiling.

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Profile Photo David B. Grinberg

FYI: op-ed by Labor Secretary Perez in Huffington Post: (includes DOL video salute)

Honoring Veterans by Hiring Veterans

  • “There has been some encouraging news on overall veterans unemployment. But among post-9/11 veterans, unemployment was unacceptably high at 9.3 percent during the third quarter of 2013.”

  • “And shockingly, the very youngest veterans (ages 18-24) have experienced jobless rates as high as 20 percent and above.”

  • “The Department of Housing and Urban Development has reported that more than 62,000 veterans were homeless on a given night in 2012.”

  • “And according to the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities, 900,000 veterans relied on the SNAP program to feed their families in 2011.”

  • Improving veterans employment is an all-hands-on-deck enterprise. With more than 1 million service members projected to leave the military in the coming years, our programs will need to handle that much more volume and be that much more effective.”

  • “This isn’t about granting special favors. It’s about as sound a business decision as you can make. If we trusted them with the nation’s security, why wouldn’t you trust them with a responsible job?”

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Profile Photo Terrence Hill

Glad to see that the private sector is committing to hire veterans as well. For instance, Starbucks just committed to hiring 10,000 veterans. I also understand that Wal-Mart and others have made a similar committment. Why not? Veterans are proven and committed to serving others, not to mention battle-hardened and leader qualified.

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Profile Photo David Dean

Veteran’s preference is the law of the land. Veteran’s preference had not been enforced from 1981 to the present day. In order to understand the frantic scurrying about by federal hiring officials not to hire veterans must be viewed through the prism of the demographics of the veteran population, and the mindless attempts by federal officials to ensure diversity, whatever is diversity.

Currently alive in the United States today is 23,000,000 veterans. White males comprise 17,500,000 of the veteran population. For exact numbers see US Census publications. If the hiring of white male veterans is going to be curtailed and contained some mechanism must be in place to limit the hiring of white male veterans, who are approximately 85% of living veterans. We cannot have white male veterans adversely affecting affirmative action and diversity, now can we? In order to accomplish the containment of veterans hiring Office of Personnel Management, OPM, has implement three programs, the so-called Outstanding Scholar Program, the Federal Career Intern Program, and last the Pathways Program.

The so-called Outstanding Scholar Program, a great majority of the individuals hired were neither outstanding nor were they scholars, this program was the progeny of the Luévano Agreement. Luévano v. Campbell 1981 was a federal lawsuit initiated by individuals who were unable to pass the PACE Test. Luévano v. Campbell was not decided on the merits or based on federal statute, on federal court case law. It was simply an agreement between two parties. Immediately federal officials contended that applying veteran preference was not required. When the so-called Outstanding Scholar ended on August 05, 2005, it was the primary vehicle for entry level hiring some federal agencies did not hire and veterans or less than one percent of the agency work force was veterans. I filed a Merit Systems Protection Board appeal in the year 2000; it was decided in my favor on August 05, 2005.

The Federal Career Program, FCIP, was the result of Executive Order 13162, dated July 06, 2000. The initial purpose of the FCIP was to staff hard to fill jobs. Within three years, federal hiring officials were using the FCIP to fill a majority of federal entry-level jobs. I filed an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board in 2009, the Board found for me on November 02, 2010. The two programs had been for used for 31 years, 1981>2005, to evade hiring veterans. The FCIP was used for 10 years, 2000>2010, to avoid hiring veterans. The two programs were used for approximately 31 years to evade hiring veterans.

The Pathways Program has attempted to limit the hiring of veterans for entry-level federal jobs by requiring entry-level employees to have graduated from college within the last two years. The result is over 22,500,000 veteran cannot apply for entry level. OPM has ignored federal statute, and federal case law, and Executive Orders where hiring of Presidential Management Fellows, PMF, are concerned. The vetting of the Pathways Program should be completed by 2015 at the latest. One case is now at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and several are pending at the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Of interesting note, the US Air Forces is still attempting to use the FCIP, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is contending the Executive Order of May 11, 2010, which mandates use of Category Ranking does not apply to them.

Veteran preference is the law of the land. The law should be followed. The federal government puts us in harm’s way. If the country is going to have armed forces, some members are going to be injured and killed. The advances of medicine in today’s world ensures many injured will live that would have died in the Vietnam War, World War II, and World War I. Of course, many think it is very inconsiderate of us not to die.

If anyone wishes to argue or debate, find someone else. I do, and will not, respond to responses to prove anything. The wonderful lady that agreed to share my life many years ago taught me early on not to argue. If disagree do you own research and publish.

If you do not like veteran’s preference, change the law, good luck.

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Profile Photo Earl Rice

Dave,

I could not agree more with Veterans Preference is the law of the land, end of statement. The problem is there are no teeth in the laws for violating Veterans preference. Except in very grievous situations, all the perpetrators get is a slap on the wrist. And we still have Managers bullying HR Specialist into violating Veterans Preference. And, the Chiefs of HR more or less allow this to happen. It’s not wide spread, but enough to cause concern. Where I work they had issues back on 2006, and lost all staffing capability for 18 months (thank God I was someplace else at the time). But, this keeps happening in small pockets all over every Agency. And, lets face it, an Agency’s HR in DC would be pretty stupid to put it in writing to or how to violate Veterans Preference. But it is easy to turn a blind eye on all that big data they have if they don’t look for indicators of violation of Veterans Preference. (Just as a side note, one place that I worked announced all Vacancies for the FCIP program and did apply Veterans Preference in the selection process, so it wasn’t really the program, but how management applied the program.)

Historically, the Veterans preferences laws go back to right after WW2. But, after Viet Nam, the more liberal elements came up with the idea that young college graduates were not well represented in Government (remember, at that time the Federal Government was more clerks than specialist). My first question was were they not well represented in Government, or not represented well in Government in the DC area. But that is a totally different topic. Also of note is the geographic propensity for enlistment in the Military. A study on this will show that the DC area has no where near the propensity for service in the military as that of say Georgia or Mississippi. But, Outstanding Scholars started all the scheming to have programs to get around Veterans Preference.

The Pathways is the last good chance, to seek out college grads and still apply Veterans Preference. One of the most critical parts of Pathways is that military service can be prorated for up to 6 years for application in the Pathways program. Several Examples: 2LT graduates from West Point (or any other college with ROTC), and serves for 6 years active duty. They would still be able to apply for the Pathways program. Although they will be Captains by the time they would be applying, and probably had a Company/Troop/Battery command, and at least 3 combat tours (would they apply for a GS 7 or 9 position?). Billy ray enlisted in the Navy Nuclear program (6 year enlistment required). He gets a Bachelors degree will in the Navy. He would also be able to apply for the Pathways program. Even better, 2LT graduated with a BSEE, and while serving for 6 years, gets a Masters in Electrical Engineering. They would be able to apply. Or Billy Bob, enlisted for 4 years after graduating from college to have the Army help pay off his student loans. Billy would still have his eligibility to apply for the Pathways Program. People often forget that Veterans can also have college degrees. So, how would a college kid straight out of college stack up against say a Captain/Lieutenant [Navy] that has had command, 6 years work experience, and the very sobering experience of at least 3 combat tours. I would say there is no contest on that one. The question now is to see how Pathways is applied in the field. I know where I work, even in spite of management’s kicking, screaming, and threats, Veteran’s Preference has been applied ruthlessly (and management was not to happy about it either).

And yes, Veterans preference really hasn’t been enforced since back in 1981. One Agency, the second a Veteran files for violation of their preference, they just give them a job to keep it out of the MSPB or Federal Court Room (to keep it from developing into precedent setting case). That’s how FCIP stayed on the books so long. While the Agencies were pumping in up to as much as 55% of the new hires through FCIP, if a Veteran could make it to MSPB, they would instantly offer them a job as a part of the settlement to get them to close the filing. I can’t remember, but one Agency (Treasury?) used FCIP to hire over 50% of their new employees. First FCIP was never meant to be a primary recruiting source, and bluntly, it was a pure and simple easy way to get around Veterans Preference. And, until just recently, Veterans had a very hard time of fighting “City Hall” when their preferences had been violated. Though now, there are enough retired military, and other free lawyers, that they can fight and win against the Agency [City Hall] Lawyers.

The next thing in contention is the distribution of Veterans in the different Agencies. DOD has over 50% concentration of Veterans. But one place that was really really high in the OPM All Employee Survey for satisfaction, was one of the worst for Veteran hiring. In 2012 they hired 2 Veterans. That’s it for the whole year, two, end of statement. Veterans made up less than 1% of the total new hires there (they were not under a hiring freeze). The survey only listed 10 Agencies, so what about all the rest? They are on the other statistics, so why not on the Veterans statistics? Or, is OPM ashamed to publish how low the other really are?

Do away with the Veterans Preference laws. Will never happen. It would be political suicide pure and simple for any congressman or senator to introduce legislation to do such. That is the reality of that.

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Profile Photo David Dean

Earl:

Lord Acton stated: “Power Corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, power does not yield without demand.” I have not looked up the exact quotation. After retiring from the Army, I began my civil service career as an Army Career Intern in the Civilian Personnel Office at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in 1984. Within a few days it became clear to me it was difficult for a veteran to be hired. After some digging, I am a cop, I discovered that the reason I was hired was that the Commanding General was attempting to unload his GS-9 Secretary, and was demanding her placement into the intern position. I had applied for the job about a year before. I was hired because I was a 30% or more, 10 points compensable veteran. I still have heartburn. I asked for Management Employees Relations, MER, and was placed in the Division. The internship was for three years. I let my hair grow almost to my butt, and very carefully did not mention to any manager that I was a veteran. I had one Masters Degree from the University of South in Columbia, South Carolina, and was working on another.

It became very clear to me that the civilian managers, and more heartbreaking, many of the military leaders did not want to hire veterans. I discretely asked why veterans were not hired. The constant civilian reply was, “I don’t have nuthin again vets, but nobody is going to tell me who to hire.” The military managers were more discrete, but with the same attitude. I dealt with veterans, men and women that were under the impression they were supposed to receive preference. I saw men and women cry. These were my brothers and sisters that I had server with in a war zone. At that point, Fort Jackson employed four GS-14s. Neither had a college degree. The civilian Post Comptroller was a high school graduate.

In 2000, I applied for an Investigator position that I was immensely qualified. The job was with the Consumer Product Safety Commission in Columbia, South Carolina. Two application were required, one for the so-called Outstanding Scholar Program which was competitive, and one for Special Appointment Authorities. My application was the competitive job was lost. After some digging around I was told that the supposed reason my competitive application was lost was that a manager wanted to hire her girlfriend. I took the case to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit twice. It was reversed and remanded on some issues, but the MSPB would not change its position. At that point, I put all of that training to use.

After both cases, Agriculture and OPM, some college placement offices, and other placement organizations went nuclear. I received death threats; I gave them my address and invited them out. No one appeared with a dark heart. I found the entire imbroglio very amusing. My grandchildren search the internet to find the most outrageous remarks about me. Many claims that I am too dumb, at this point I am ABD, to do what I did and that I am a creature of the unions. One poor person claimed that I am in league with the Devil.

Most of the non-profit organizations that feed at the government trough were, and are, in high dudgeon. They are very amusing. The Pathways Program has to be vetted. It will not be in effect for 34 years without the MSPB and the Court of Appeals for the deciding its fate.

The Federal Soup website has been a source of enjoyment and amusement for my benefit. One being that calls itself Newgrad has been a huge source of amusement for me. Newgrad has 26 screen names on the website. The poor soul has never heard of documenting examining recognition software to which I have access. A simple baseline document then compare other documents. With Newgrad and its many names, I have found 26 screen names with 99% accuracy.

Another source of amusement, and deep concern, is the individuals applying for federal law enforcement that are outraged because federal law is not being ignored in order for them to be hired, and they want to enforce federal law.

Some PsyOps has been involved.

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