As we continue to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by service members following the 77th anniversary of D-Day, which took place on Sunday, June 6, we recognize the invaluable contributions all servicemen and women have made—they’re the backbone of our nation.
We also recognize and appreciate the support military families provide. And yet, all too often, US veterans are overlooked when transitioning from active military duty to civilian life.
As a US veteran, I have firsthand experience in making this career move and know how daunting it can be. Private and public sector organizations have a collective responsibility to ensure these individuals are given the necessary tools, resources, and training opportunities to enable a successful transition into professional life after leaving active duty. While there are countless ways to support our veterans, reskilling and providing better access to medical services are two examples of how to make an impact.
Provide training opportunities
The social distancing requirements associated with COVID-19 impacted American jobs across industries. A study by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the pandemic likely caused the unemployment rates for veterans to rise in 2020 for both males (6.5%) and females (6.7%). With more veterans out of work, it’s critical for organizations to provide access to training opportunities that will help unemployed vets build the skills employers in high-demand industries value.
The federal government has expressed interest in investing in partnerships with other government organizations, businesses, and higher education institutions to provide citizens with greater access to job training, which means veterans will likely have more reskilling opportunities.
Key industries are uniquely positioned to develop training programs and employment opportunities that are specifically designed for vets. Although some private organizations are already granting veterans access to training programs that offer certifications, these programs tend to vary in size. That’s why more organizations might consider developing their own programs as a way of helping vets re-enter the workforce.
Veterans possess the soft skills needed to excel in many different professional environments, especially in IT. However, they often struggle to showcase these skills on their resumes. The ability to lead people, solve problems, create and collaborate with teams, and adapt to change are competencies valued in the civilian workforce.
With the help of certification programs and guidance from trusted HR organizations, veterans can build tactical skills and gain a better understanding of how to translate the expertise from their military careers.
Improve healthcare access
In addition to ensuring veterans are equipped with the skills needed to re-enter the workforce, it’s imperative that we provide better access to healthcare services through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Last year, the VA was awarded $19.6 billion in supplemental funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
A majority of these funds went to the Veterans Health Administration and the VA Office of Information Technology. Although the VA Office of Information Technology used some of its funds to expand its telehealth capabilities, $9 billion hasn’t been used yet, according to the US Government Accountability Office.
This suggests there are still opportunities for the VA to enhance veterans’ access to hospital services using the untapped funding. This includes investing in tools that can improve the healthcare services and overall experiences veterans receive, as well as vaccine management tools, such as those offered by ServiceNow, which can streamline the time it takes to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.
It also includes investing in workflow technologies that help return the VA’s federal employees back to work, improve citizen and veteran services, and create better experiences.
As we honor our vets who served on D-Day, we can and should do our utmost to support all vets returning to civilian life, with both industry and federal leaders identifying opportunities to support veterans during this inflection point. While there are many additional ways we can make a difference, setting these individuals up for success and providing better access to health services are two great ways to say “thank you.”
Learn more about how ServiceNow supports veterans through government workflow solutions.
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