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Veterans

A blue transparent background on top of the American flag imagery. At the top it says #AmericanHeroesWeek and underneath U.S. Office of Personnel Management Celebrates American Heroes

This week was American Heroes week, giving us time to reflect on the true heroes of our nation. We are a country that is truly blessed to have these individuals step forward as part of their daily routines to keep us safe and preserve our way of life. These heroes come in many forms, ranging from law enforcement officers and members of the military, to public safety officers. Behind the uniform, is a person whose valor and courage stand immeasurable, and will never diminish in value, no matter how much time passes.

America was founded based on the values of heroes. The beginning of this country was carried on the backs of those who had everything to lose, and risked it all, to not only secure their freedom, but also the freedom of future generations. Characteristics of heroism have continued to reveal themselves throughout our history, carrying on into the present.

As I look out my office window, I see a scene of Washington, D.C. and my heart fills with pride. I am proud that here at OPM, it is of great importance to protect those who protect us. I am inspired daily by the men and women of this agency who have served in our nation’s military, who protect the walls of the very building we work in, and those who work day in and day out to make sure our heroes will have a place to create a life after they’ve risked it all to protect our freedoms.  As President Donald J. Trump said earlier this week, “[W]e are celebrating American heroes.  And nothing fills our hearts with more pride than to be with those who risked everything to protect our citizens and preserve our way of life.”

At OPM, we are committed to helping transitioning military service members continue their service through Federal careers.  As part of the Federal Veterans Employment Initiative, OPM, in its role as Vice Chair of the Interagency Council on Veterans Employment, created the one-stop Federal employment information resource for veterans, Feds Hire Vets.   On this site, transitioning service members, veterans, and their family members have access to key information to ease the transition to Federal employment.  The Federal Veterans Employment Initiative is a strategic initiative, but has a very straightforward approach to helping the men and women who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government. It also underscores the importance of aligning the talents of these individuals with key civil service positions so the Government is better positioned to meet mission objectives and citizens are better served.   Today veterans make up approximately 31 percent of the Federal family.

Helping those who have done so much for the United States of America is the best way to show you care. OPM cares, I care, and the Federal government cares.

Thank you to our American Heroes, we wouldn’t be where we are today without you. 


This Veterans Day, as we honor and express our gratitude to the men and women who so valiantly served our nation in uniform, I want us to take a moment and think about the battle so many of our returning heroes face – how to make the transition to the next chapter of their lives.

I’m thinking about veterans like Christopher, who after being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan during his decade of service in the Air Force went from job to job, doing work that did not satisfy him.

Or Georgia, a disabled combat veteran whose work as a water purification and distribution specialist during Desert Shield/Desert Storm did not, she said, translate very well in the civilian sector.

Or Julien, a Purple Heart recipient who was a field radio operator in the Marine Corps. When he left the military, his challenge was to balance going to school full time and working full time.

Veterans like these were on President Obama’s mind when he issued Executive Order 13518 to honor our obligations to our nation’s returning service members and establish a hallmark Federal employment initiative to encourage more veterans to join the Federal service.

A look at the numbers shows we’re delivering on the President’s objective. When he issued his 

Executive Order on November 9, 2009, the percentage of new veterans hired into the Federal Government was 24 percent. At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2015, that percentage was 32.5 percent. Since FY 2009, the Federal Government has hired more than half a million veterans in 24 different agencies.

But the numbers don’t begin to tell the whole story or speak to why the President and I believe it’s critical for the Federal Government to recruit talented, qualified, and dedicated veterans for the Federal workforce.

Not only is hiring veterans the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. The skills, leadership, and discipline that veterans bring to Federal workplaces across this great nation are essential to our ability to meet our mission to serve the American people.  Our collective challenge was and remains to understand and capitalize on the strengths that these veterans can bring to Federal service, and to help connect them with agencies across the government that need these skills. 

Each year the Federal Government spends millions of dollars training service members like Christopher, Georgia and Julien to meet many and varied challenges. When service members are ready to hang up their uniforms and transition to civilian life, we can maximize our investments in their training by encouraging them to continue serving their country as civilian Federal employees.

As part of the President’s veterans initiative we created the one-stop website for Federal employment– FedsHireVets.gov – where veterans and their families can get information and resources to help them find employment opportunities. Veteran Employment Program Offices are in place in 24 agencies and the website provides information on how veterans can connect with these offices to learn about career opportunities and about how to navigate the Federal employment process.

The Executive Order also established the President’s Council on Veterans Employment, which has tackled such issues as helping agencies find ways to retain the talented veterans they hire. The Council also looked at how to maximize opportunities for women veterans to join the Federal service.

But the real success stories come from veterans themselves.

After trying out different jobs Christopher became a volunteer, then an intern with the National Park Service. He says he is now “living my dream” as a Park Ranger in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in California.

Georgia now works for the Bureau of Land Management as an Outdoor Recreation Planner and says the best part of her job is she knows that what she does “makes a difference.”

And Julien now has a bachelor’s of science in business administration, is working at the Department of Labor and says: “I could not be more thrilled about the next stage of my career in the Federal Government.”

Even as we celebrate this progress and the success stories of these talented veterans, we must rededicate ourselves to helping more of their fellow veterans and help agencies recruit, train and retain these talented employees.

And on this Veterans Day, I want to thank the women and men who made the choice to serve their fellow Americans - first in uniform and now as part of the two-million strong Federal workforce.


A picture of Acting Director Cobert walking down the steps Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

 


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.”


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