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Presidents Council on Veterans Employment

Today I am in San Antonio talking to members of our nation’s Armed Forces and veterans about opportunities for them to continue to serve this great nation by applying for jobs in the civilian workforce.

Photo of Acting Director Cobert having a conversation with an Armed Forces member.

As part of the "State of the Union: Cabinet in Your Community" tour, OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert is visiting with veterans and community leaders in San Antonio, TX today.

I want to share an op-ed that appears in today’s San Antonio Express-News and expresses the Administration’s commitment to and support for our veterans.

“Each year, about 25,000 military service members take off their uniforms and settle in the San Antonio/Fort Hood area to make the transition to civilian life. It is up to each of us to honor the men and women who have so valiantly served this great nation by helping make that transition as successful as possible.

As Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, I’m in San Antonio this week to showcase the opportunities for veterans in Federal workforce and to make sure veterans know how to access the resources available to them. I’m meeting with veterans, with organizations that support veterans, and with community and business leaders to talk about the work OPM does every day to help agencies across government live up to the President’s 2009 Executive Order entitled “Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government.”

And, as the daughter of a World War II and Korean War Air Force lieutenant, this effort also is personal for me. I know how much my dad’s experience in the service opened up a whole new world to a kid from Brooklyn and how much his service helped shape his future success.

In his 2015 Veterans Day Proclamation, President Obama called on all of us to dedicate ourselves to honoring those who stepped up to protect us. At OPM, we are taking this mission very seriously.

The President’s Executive Order clearly laid out three objectives: That we honor our obligations to our nation’s veterans; that we use the talents of veterans to help the Federal Government meet today’s dynamic challenges; and that we create a model veterans employment program.

The Executive Order also established the Veterans Employment Initiative and created the President’s Council on Veterans Employment. I’m honored to be the vice chair of that council, which is co-chaired by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.

We have accomplished a lot. In fiscal year 2009, the year the President signed his Executive Order, veterans represented 25.8 percent of Federal employees. In fiscal year 2015, veterans accounted for 31 percent of the total Federal workforce nationwide and 58 percent of Federal employees in San Antonio.

In order to build on our success, in 2016 the Council will focus on women veterans and how to help agencies retain their valuable veterans.

We want to broaden opportunities for veterans across the Federal Government. As part of the Veterans Employment Initiative, OPM created FedsHireVets.gov, a one-stop shopping website for veterans to get employment information. Veterans Employment Program Offices are in place in 24 agencies and the website provides information about how veterans can connect with these offices to learn about career opportunities and how to navigate the Federal employment process.

Veterans bring distinctive training, skills, leadership, and experiences that we need at every agency in the Federal government. An example is the increasing need we have for people trained in information technology and other technical areas.

OPM’s Veterans Services team is here with me this week and will be hosting a workshop to train military members and veterans on techniques for writing a Federal résumé and using USAJOBS.gov, the Federal Government’s main online portal for those seeking Federal employment.

I will continue working with veterans all across this great nation as OPM helps agencies recruit, hire, and retain the military members who choose to continue to serve this great nation following their military service.

Most of all, I want to thank the women and men who made the decision to serve, and those who want to continue to dedicate their efforts to serving their fellow Americans by joining the two-million strong Federal workforce.”


On November 11, 2015 our nation will pause to honor, remember and show our gratitude to all the veterans who have served this nation with honor, dedication, and distinction.

Throughout this month, as we pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed, I hope each of us will reflect on their service and sacrifice and will reach out to our nation’s veterans to say thank you.

In 2012, President Obama declared that in recognition of a chapter in our nation’s history that we must never forget, our nation will continue to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War until Veterans Day in 2025. Let us, as the President said, pay tribute to “the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor.”

The theme for Veterans Day this year is Honor, Remember, and Gratitude. I recently had the honor of joining Rear Admiral Earl L. Gay in laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management. This solemn, moving ceremony encouraged me to consider the sacrifices our veterans – and their families and loved ones – made, and the impact they have had on our nation.

At OPM, one way we honor our veterans is by continuing our commitment to the President’s Veterans Employment Initiative. As the vice-chair of the Council of Veterans Employment, I plan to continue to lead our effort to recruit, hire, and retain veterans who want to continue their service to their country in civilian life.

Thank you. Thank you to every veteran for your dedication and for your sacrifice. And a special thank you to all of the Federal employees who – after answering the call in the Armed Services – decided to continue to serve America by joining the Federal workforce. 

Photo of Acting Director Cobert being escorted by 2 Military members in uniform. 


Director Archuleta meets with a woman serving in the U.S. Air Force. 

It’s inspiring to see that after serving their country nobly in the armed forces, so many women and men veterans choose to continue working for the American people through Federal civil service.

The President has made increasing the hiring of veterans, and particularly women veterans, a top priority.  As a result, in fiscal year 2014, one in three new Federal hires was a veteran. The actual rate was 33.2 percent, up from 31 percent in fiscal year 2013.

As leaders of the President’s Council on Veterans Employment, we share the President’s commitment to making sure that women leaving the military can easily transition to the Federal civil service.  That’s why we created a women veterans initiative led by the Department of Homeland Security. Through that initiative, the Council today released a report that shows that nearly 24 percent of veterans hired in the civilian workforce in fiscal year 2013 were women vets, although women represent just 9 percent of all veterans.

We can build on that. We know that women in general are underrepresented in the Federal workforce, especially in the skilled trades and law enforcement – two areas where many women veterans have significant expertise. We also know that women are statistically less likely to report their service when applying for new positions. We want to encourage them to make their military service known. We also want to help them find new opportunities to continue to serve their country through civilian public service, using the skills they honed while serving their country in the military.

To enhance efforts to hire more women veterans in the Federal Government, the Council’s report recommends adding a section on women veterans to the Veterans Recruitment and Employment Strategic Plan. Going forward, we will design strategies to recruit women veterans for positions across the government and improve outreach to women veterans by building on relationships with veterans service organizations, colleges, universities, trade schools, and affinity groups. In addition, the report recommends that we gather data from Federal agencies to continue to improve our recruitment strategies for women veterans now, and in the years to come.

Veterans are just one of the many communities that will benefit from the work OPM is doing under its Recruitment, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion – or REDI – Roadmap. By improving hiring tools like USAJOBS.gov, OPM will make the process of finding a job in the Federal Government much easier for everyone, including veterans.

We may never be able to fully repay our nation’s veterans for the sacrifices they have made, but we can ensure that we do all that we can to make their transition to Federal civilian service as seamless and fulfilling as possible.

Thomas Perez is the Secretary of Labor and Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Veterans Employment.

Robert McDonald is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Veterans Employment.

Katherine Archuleta is Director of the Office of Personnel Management and Vice-Chair of the President’s Council on Veterans Employment.


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