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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

Presidential Veterans' Initiative Will Help Thousands of Veterans and Returning Service Members

Federal Agencies Will Become Model for Veteran Hiring Nationwide

Washington, DC - Administration officials continued their efforts to educate and employ veterans that began with President Barack Obama's recent signing of an Executive Order which will provide thousands of jobs for veterans and transitioning military service members.

During a press conference at the Department of Labor that included a standing-room only crowd of representatives from Veteran's Service Organizations, veterans and those currently serving in the military, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry, Deputy Secretary of Veteran's Affairs Scott Gould, and Deputy Under Secretary for Plans, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, Gail McGinn, joined officials from the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor to launch a Veterans Employment Initiative that will transform the Federal government into the national model of veterans' employment.

Underscoring the importance of recruiting and training veterans, the Initiative makes it easier to market employment opportunities within the Executive Branch to veterans of the armed forces, provides feedback to veterans about their applications for federal jobs, and helps recently hired veterans adjust to service in a civilian capacity by requiring most Federal agencies to establish a Veteran's Employment Initiative office.

"Their hard-won experience is an asset we can bring to government," said VA Deputy Secretary Gould. "The President's Veterans Employment Initiative will showcase the leadership and technical skills our military members have to offer and will bring that valuable talent to the civilian workforce." Deputy Defense Under Secretary McGinn, added, "this will allow them to look throughout the federal government to find the right fit and the best federal job for them."

OPM posted a Video News Release (VNR) charting the launch of the Initiative simultaneously on the OPM Youtube Channel and on FedsHireVets.gov, a new nationwide website being developed for America's Veterans and Federal hiring managers. 

Also, OPM issued the Employment of Veterans is the Federal Executive Branch Fiscal Year 2008 which will serve as a baseline for future success. According to the report at the end of FY 2008, there were approximately 480,000 veterans working within the Federal government.

"President Obama strongly believes in honoring the service of our veterans and he sees this Initiative as an opportunity to put some real muscle behind that promise, said Director Berry. "The strong sense of patriotism and public service held by members of our armed forces doesn't leave them when they exit from active duty. It benefits our government to utilize their skills and dedication to service." The Veterans Employment Initiative will help Federal agencies identify qualified veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans seeking employment with the Federal government, and help veterans adjust to civilian life once they are hired.

The Executive Order on the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government signed by President Obama on Monday, November 9, establishes an Interagency Council on Veterans Employment that will advise the President and the Director of OPM on the Veterans Employment Initiative. The Council will be chaired by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. Director Berry will serve as its Vice Chair and Chief Operating Officer. 

"America's vets are valued, they are experienced and they are trained. It would be foolish of us not to give them every opportunity to exercise their skills and their desires in continuing to serve their country through the Government," said Berry. "We want to make sure that they know they are welcomed and we will have a job for them - we will find one that matches their skills, their passions and their interests and their abilities and we will mentor them as they make that transition from military culture to civilian."

The Initiative has a very simple metric, the OPM report provides an agency by agency account of how many veterans are hired in the United States of America. Berry said this will be "our baseline" for measuring veterans' representation. "One year from now, we'll know exactly where we stand."

Berry, Gould and McGinn were joined by Department of Labor's Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training, Ray Jefferson, and Homeland Security Chief Human Capital Officer Jeff Neal at the Department of Labor press conference.

Neal reiterated a commitment by Department of Homeland Security to hire 50,000 veterans by 2012. "There is a natural continuity between service in the military and at DHS," he said. "When you look at what it takes to secure the homeland, it takes people who are dedicated, who are willing to work very long hours, and who are willing to work in uncomfortable, unsafe conditions."

"As President Obama stated in his Executive Order, when they complete their service, we must do everything in our power to assist veterans with re-entering civilian life and finding employment," Jefferson said.

For the latest information, a Video News Release and webcast of the entire press conference, please visit www.FedsHireVets.gov.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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