Veteran’s Day 2017 Blog – Comprehensive Coordinated Support for Our Veterans

Photo sources: The C-Square and

Please do share this blog with a veteran or their family member who can use many of the useful links to help find needed services!

Within the diversity and inclusion sphere, Veterans are very often included as a key diversity constituency. Many companies do have Veterans groups within their portfolio of Employee Resource Groups and hiring initiatives to support veterans. And veterans are also one of those diversity groups that truly intersects all the others: gender, race, LGBT and certainly people with disabilities given the physical and mental challenges many veterans face when returning home.

There years ago I was pleased to publish the blog, “The Value of Hiring our Veterans.” And I was proud to share that I was now a member of the North Carolina Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service Members and Their Families. And I was pleased to present “Introduction to LGBT Considerations in Mental Health Challenges,” at the May, 2015 working group meeting. It is important to note that our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members serving our country truly deserve the same respect and support as all veterans.

At our most recent working group meeting in October, Ilario Pantano, formerly the State of North Carolina’s Director of Veteran Affairs and now Senior Director for Community Services with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) presented a stirring overview of the excellent progress over the past three years and the importance of our work.

What is special about what the working group, NCServes, AmericaServes and the Institute for Veteran and Military Families? Over the past three years, these teams have worked together to foster networking across the many different private and governmental agencies that support veterans in many different ways.

The NC Vets Resource Guide is published annual with scores of various resources with contacts for assistance.

There is certainly no lack of resources and efforts to support veterans in areas such as physical and mental rehabilitation, transitioning into civilian employment, housing and food needs, and more. But the top challenge for veterans, according to recent surveys, is knowing exactly where to go for assistance with particular issues. So providing a comprehensive resource like the 130+ page NC Vets Resource Guide is helping speed matching veteran needs to the best resources.

Ilario, in addition to reminding us that each person’s contribution to this effort, even in saving a single life, is so valuable, provided a 5 point outline for how NC Serves and the IVMF.
Build a community effort to coordinate services
Sustain by continually enlisting support from public and private stakeholders
Partnering which expands the impact of each individual effort
Pioneer by evolving into the broadest set of state and local support services
Transform by enhancing the technological support mechanisms to effectively serve more people most effectively.

It is great to see a community come together and work to share across various initiatives instead of remaining siloed. This is a great example of how networking and team work can make all parties involved more effective. I am proud to be a part of this effort.

A Special Veterans Day Blog: The Value of Hiring Our Veterans

For Veterans Day 2014 (November 11th), I am publishing this blog around a critical topic for our country and for our veterans – employment! This is especially important as our economy continues to struggle with available employment options often being fewer than people looking for work, and as larger number of US armed services personnel are returning to the US due to decreasing overseas deployment.

The "boots to suits" imagery is often used to depict the transfer to valuable skills gained in military experience into the commercial environment.

The “boots to suits” imagery is often used to depict the transfer to valuable skills gained in military experience into the commercial environment.

Here in North Carolina, with a high number of military bases, many veterans are choosing to return to our state after deployment or service. In NC, we have the 3rd largest concentration of active duty forces in the nation, the 6th largest military retiree population, and the military accounts for 10% of all economic activity in our state!

I am proud to participate in the NC Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service Members and Their Families. Part of this working group is focusing on Veteran employment with Kimberly Lindsay, Chief Human Resources Officer for the City of Jacksonville, NC leading the way as the Volunteer Director for this NC Vets initiative called “NC Works 4 Vets.”

Kimberly presents three very important aspects of fostering Veteran employment:

1) Top Strategic Leadership in Organizations needs to be involved. It is the top that sets the strategic direction and all else follows from there. Our senior leaders need to understand that hiring vets not only is the right thing to do to support those who served our country, but more importantly brings sorely needed skilled talent into our organizations. Most corporate leaders realize that recruiting the best talent builds competitive strength, and veterans bring with them a superb set of technical and interpersonal skills.

2) Human Resources then needs to take the lead to implement the strategic direction of hiring vets by executing a well planned out structure that results in excellent hiring decision of the vets that best fits their organization’s talent needs. This will include the steps of screening applicants, identifying the candidates with the best fit, coordinating interviews, checking references and assisting line management with making the best hiring decisions.

3) Veterans bringing forward skills companies need. Organizational strategic leadership and the HR leaders both need to realize, and veterans need to communicate during the process the excellent skills they have gained that companies need: communications skills, teamwork, planning and organizing, coaching / developing others, problem solving and more.

Let's not forget that an increasing number of veterans are women who are also looking for employment after their military service.

Let’s not forget that an increasing number of veterans are women who are also looking for employment after their military service.

Finding and hiring the right vets for an organization is a win – win – win: For the veterans who want to transition from serving our country to serving a company, for the company needing skilled employees and for our state and national economy!

If you are an HR or SHRM group in NC or company wanting to learn more about the NC Works 4 Vets initiative so you can become more active in promoting the hiring of our veterans, please contact Kimberly Lindsay at [email protected]