Recruiting Disabled Veterans: A Primer
Each year, in service to our nation, thousands of former military personnel join the ranks of disabled veterans. Overall, there are approximately 2.5 million disabled veterans. Disabled veterans represent a rich talent pool that is too often overlooked. Consider this.
- Disabled veterans have proven their ability. They have been trained in various military specialties that often offer knowledge and experiences transferable to the civilian workforce.
Disabled veterans have proven their loyalty. They volunteered to serve their nation and have proven they can commit to a job and an organization.
Disabled veterans know the meaning of discipline and teamwork. From following orders to watching out for their buddies, they are serious and mature workers.
Disabled veterans come with support systems that enhance their employability. A grateful nation acknowledges their sacrifice by offering disabled veterans special employment and training services.
- Vocational Rehabilitation
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs supports a nationwide employment training program for service connected disabled veterans who qualify for vocational rehabilitation. There are 56 regional offices which administer this program. These offices are a good place to recruit qualified disabled veterans. For the number of the vocational rehabilitation office nearest you call the VA's national toll free number (800) 827-1000 (V) or visit the VA Web site.
In addition to employment and educational training programs, these offices can provide eligible disabled veterans with job specific and job related training. Therefore, employers may be able to work with these offices to develop training programs that suit their employment needs.
State Veterans Employment Services
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), through its Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS), helps support a network of local employment service professionals dedicated to assisting disabled veterans with locating and securing employment. A corps of 1400 local area Disabled Veteran Outreach Personnel (DVOPs) stands ready to provide employers with qualified job candidates who are disabled veterans. To contact them, call your area's employment or job service office and ask for the DVOP.
For more information on this program, contact DOL's national Web site.
- Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)
Many of the National Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans Association, Blinded Veterans Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America and Non-Commissioned Officers Association, offer employment related services for disabled veterans (and in many cases all veterans) in various localities. They can be excellent resources for locating disabled veteran job seekers. Contact your area's local post or chapter and ask about their services.
The Legal Framework
Several federal laws support the employment of disabled veterans. Here is a brief overview:
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA establishes nondiscrimination practices for the employment of people with disabilities. Disabled veterans are considered people with disabilities and, therefore, are covered by this Act. For more information on Title I of the ADA, contact your area's EEOC office or call the National EEOC number (800) 669-4000 (V) or (800) 669-6820 (TTY). In addition, the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers basic information on the employment provisions of the ADA. Call JAN at (800) 232-9675 (V/TTY).
Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA)
Under this law, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts of $10,000 or more are required to provide equal employment opportunity, take affirmative action, and comply with mandatory job listing requirements to employ and advance protected veterans. This means that federal contractors must take positive steps in all employment practices to enable protected veterans to be considered for employment opportunities, including hiring, promoting, and training. Protected veterans include Vietnam era and qualified "special" disabled veterans. A qualified "special" disabled veteran is:
(1) a veteran who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under the laws administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a disability rating of 30% or more; or, rated at 10% to 20% if it has been determined that the individual has a serious employment disability; or,
(2) a veteran who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service connected disability.
This law is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information, contact OFCCP at 888-376-3227 (V) or visit the OFCCP Web site.
Many states have employment laws covering either veterans or disabled veterans. For more information, contact your State Veterans Employment Service, a department of the State Employment Service. The agency is listed under state government agencies in the telephone directory.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disabilitiy Employment Policy, July 1998