In recognition of Veterans Day, Charter hosted a conversation – “Transitioning 21st Century Warriors Into the 21st Century Workforce” – to discuss how the private sector can do more to help veterans transition to civilian life. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representatives Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Mark Takano (D-CA) opened the event with compelling remarks about the sacrifices veterans have made in their service to our country, followed by a panel discussion on how the public and private sectors can work together to create new recruitment, training and hiring opportunities for veterans and military spouses.
Here are some of the highlights from the informative conversation:
Offering a powerful call to action, Senator Blumenthal, who has two sons currently serving in the military, challenged audience members, “We hear lot of speeches around Veterans Day, and there is no shortage of rhetoric, good feelings, nice words. But what the nation needs to do, in this era as unemployment goes down, is match that rhetoric with action.”
“Ensuring a smooth transition for those who served our nation is something we private sector companies have a stake in,” said Catherine Bohigian, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs at Charter. “Veterans continue to face barriers in finding steady, good-paying jobs, and companies and their customers are missing the opportunity to reap the benefits of harnessing their unique skills.”
Eddy Mentzer, Associate Director of Family Readiness and Well-Being at the DoD’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership, and himself a military spouse said, “The number one challenge for military spouses comes down to having to relocate every two to three years,” adding that military spouses also earn 25 percent less than their civilian counterparts. This is despite the fact that 85 percent of military spouses have some form of college education with an average age of 30, making them otherwise very attractive candidates.
“Veterans are an amazing group of people to hire – they are trained, seasoned. Who wouldn’t want them in their industry? It’s a really easy business case,” said David Pierce, Vice President of Public Affairs and Member of the Mission Media Advisory Council at NCTA. He added that the goal of the Advisory Council is to make the cable industry in particular an attractive and easy place for veterans and their spouses to find work, saying, “It’s incumbent on employers to really meet them where they are and develop programs around the reality rather than the perception of who veterans actually are.”
“There’s a huge shortage in advanced manufacturing, the auto industry. And [apprenticeship programs are] the way to address it,” said Mark Toal, Manager of National Veterans’ Employment Outreach at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veteran Employment Training Service. The average starting apprenticeship salary in the United States is $60,000 per year, with some employers like Delta Airlines paying as much as $100,000.
With thousands of veterans leaving active duty every year, it is important that the private sector teams up with the legislative and executive branches of government, along with the non-profit industry, to make sure veterans and their families have every opportunity possible to succeed in the 21st-century economy. Charter is leading the way in how to make this a reality and will continue work hard for our veterans. They’ve earned it.