President Obama's Council on Veterans Employment met at the White House on Thursday to review their results in increasing the number of Veterans hired in the Federal Government. Then the Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, and other Agency Heads in attendance discussed creative ways to further increase Veterans employment in both the public and private sectors.
Council Co-chair and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki highlighted the collaborative efforts of the Council as a key to its success at agencies across the Government. Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris, representing Council Co-chair Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, spoke about building momentum and sharing our innovative practices with employers across the country. Council Vice-Chair and OPM Director John Berry outlined that the Government hired approximately 2,000 more Veterans in FY 2010 than in FY 2009, while hiring approximately 11,000 fewer employees overall. The Government hired 72,133 Veterans in FY 2010 compared to 70,170 in FY 2009. The Director also highlighted that the Government hired a higher percentage of Veterans in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2011 than it has in the first two quarters of any of the last 20 years.
On behalf of the Council, Undersecretary of Defense Dr. Cliff Stanley discussed the Veterans Acquisition Intern Program. The program is designed to develop talent in some of the occupations that Government needs the most. It will launch on July 6, 2011 on www.FedsHireVets.gov.
Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Sepulveda spoke about VA’s new and innovative program to recruit and retain veterans in VA’s workforce, and to reintegrate VA employees who have been called up for National Guard or Reserve service. Later, OPM Deputy Director Christine Griffin spoke about ways to improve the employment of Women and Homeless Veterans, and the Council agreed to discuss specific action steps in the near future.
NOTE: The President created the Council by Executive Order to serve as a national forum for promoting veterans' employment opportunities in the Executive Branch.
Darienne Page is Assistant Director of the Office of Public Engagement.