Published February 21, 2012
Volume 20, Number 2

Veterans Hiring Initiatives Offer Many Benefits for Employers    

Tax incentives are making it very attractive to hire veterans.

A massive number of troops is coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq. California alone expects to welcome 50,000 returning soldiers a year for the next several years, reports Daniel Kennerk, Local Veterans Employment Representative at the Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center in Fremont. The Veterans Administration, the same federal service established in the wake of World War II, is now working with state and local agencies to find jobs for our 21st century veterans. “We are making a big push to get them into training, find them employment, and make them taxpayers,” Kennerk comments.

The math is very appealing to employers. Businesses could be eligible for a $9,600 tax credit “as well as numerous other governmental incentives to hire veterans,” Kennerk relates. For instance, in Alameda County, employers can participate in an on-the-job program and the local Workforce Investment Board (WIB) will pay up to 90 percent of wages for a six-month period. 

“There are some restrictions,” Kennerk points out, “but in a nutshell, the employer-paid wage must exceed $17 per hour. So for a six-month period, the employee earns $17,680 and the WIB covers $15,912.  The out-of-pocket manpower expense is $1,768. With these incentives, a job-ready veteran who wants to work can be brought on board with virtually no financial risk.” 

Finances aside, there are several other advantages to hiring veterans. Kennerk’s constituency includes a subset of ex-military personnel who have been out of the service for 10 years or so, working in the private sector as technicians, engineers, or surveyors, for example. “These are educated vets with distinct skill sets that are apt to be of value to Hacienda employers,” he notes.

Companies can also find summer interns through the program. Many recently discharged vets are attending college, encouraged by some $50,000 in scholarship money available through the G.I. Bill. “If an internship opportunity arises in their field of interest, we help make the connections so they gain valuable exposure to their industry.”

Overall, the veterans offer a broad spectrum of skill levels, “from finance to general labor and everything in between.” Kennerk emphasizes that candidates entering the private sector workplace bring valuable attributes from their military training, such as understanding duties and responsibilities, being respectful and on time, and working hard to be one’s best.

Much of the assistance to job-seekers takes place at VetNet, a veteran jobs network that meets at the Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center in Fremont on Friday mornings. Participants help each other with the challenges of the job search—matching skills to industries, writing resumes and cover letters, handling interviews and following up.

The sessions often feature guest speakers from industry. In late January an executive at Tyco Electronics visited. He had been promoted to vice president and was looking for a veteran to mentor into a plant manager position.

“Whether he wants someone straight out of the military, or someone with several years of business experience, I can provide him with several pre-screened candidates that meet his requirements,” Kennerk  says confidently. 

For more information, email Daniel.Kennerk@edd.ca.gov or call (510) 794-3681.

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