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In 2014, the unemployment rate for veterans was 25% higher than the nonveteran rate according to SHRM. Service members often struggle to correlate military experience with civilian job descriptions and sometimes deal with negative perceptions about their abilities and mental health.

U.S. & Global Stats

  • 19.2 million of Americans are veterans, which is 8% of the population age 18 and over.
  • Nearly 13% of the homeless adult population are veterans.
  • 11.8% of veterans identify as black, 6.9% Hispanic, 1.6% Asian, 0.8% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.8% American Indian or Alaska Native, 77.3% white.
  • Veterans have filed 60% more complaints of employment discrimination since 2001.
  • 90% of veterans indicate they face obstacles when finding employment. 68% indicated the biggest obstacle to finding employment was matching past military training and experiences to employment opportunities.

Iowa Stats

  • 7.4% of Iowans identify as civilian veterans (2017).
  • 16.1% of Iowa’s veterans have a service-connected disability (2012-16).
  • 75% of Iowa’s veterans are 50+.

Benefits of Hiring Veterans

Attracting & Retaining Veterans

Veterans indicate that the three main factors of their employment are (1) opportunities to use their skills and abilities, (2) compensation and pay and (3) meaningfulness of job.

Process to Attract, Retain and Hire Veterans

  • Employer Readiness: Evaluate why you want to hire veterans and why would veterans want to work here.
  • Develop a strategic process to attract and recruit veterans.
  • Evaluate how are you welcoming new employees to the organization for inclusive practices.
  • Create training geared toward training and motivating veteran employees.
  • Evaluate how you are helping veteran employees see their potential for new roles both inside and outside your organization.

Source: Veteran Employment Digital Toolkit

Steps to Increase Veteran Employee Retention

  • Provide education on translation of military skills to corporate recruiters and HR professionals.
  • Develop veteran-centric employee benefit programs to assist veteran employees in developing a post-military career path.
  • Develop streamlined job search processes for veterans to provide a better match between employers and job seekers.

Additional Resources

  • Bunker Labs DSM: Bunker Labs’ mission is to ensure the military-connected community has the network, tools, and opportunities they need to start their own business.
  • Homebase Iowa: homebaseiowa.gov
  • SHRM Foundation: Veterans at Work — An affiliate of the Society of Human Resources Managers, the SHRM Foundation champions workforce and workplace transformation. It believes that veterans are valuable members of our workforce, and the Veterans at Work initiative will help HR professionals attract, hire and retain members of the military community. This initiative includes a Digital Toolkit on employing veterans, a guidebook for HR professionals, hiring managers and front-line supervisors about recruiting, hiring and retaining military veterans, as well as several programs, to include grants and education.
  • National Veterans Foundation: To serve the crisis management, information and referral needs of all U.S. Veterans and their families through management and operation of the nation’s only toll-free helpline for all veterans and their families.
  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA): To provide veterans the world-class benefits and services they have earned — and to do so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability and stewardship.
  • IowaWORKS Veteran Employment Services: Iowa is committed to providing quality employment services to veterans at our IowaWORKS Centers. Veteran Representatives, who are all honorably discharged service members, coordinate all services provided to eligible veterans within the IowaWORKS system.
  • Iowa Department of Education (Veterans & Military Education): Those organization’s goal is to ensure that every veteran, reservist and eligible person has a full and fair opportunity to reach his or her full potential in whatever educational direction they choose. Their role is to ensure that quality instruction and ethical administration is provided for every veteran/eligible person and reservist who enters an approved educational or training program in the state of Iowa.
  • State of Iowa Veteran Benefits: The state of Iowa offers a broad range of state benefits to veterans and retired military. They include exempting retirement pay from state taxes, offering in state tuition assessment to eligible U.S. veterans and their families (please connect with the college or universities for additional information about eligibility), home ownership assistance and much more!
  • Iowa Veteran Medical Center and Clinics: The VA Central Iowa Health Care System operates a Veterans Health Administration medical facility in DSM, with Community-Based Outpatient Clinics in Mason City, Fort Dodge, Knoxville, Marshalltown and Carroll. The medical center provides acute and specialized medical and surgical services, residential outpatient treatment programs in substance abuse and post-traumatic stress and a full range of mental health and long-term care services, as well as sub-acute and restorative rehabilitation services and a domiciliary.
  • Iowa Department of Veteran Affairs: The Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes and honors Iowa’s veterans and their families by providing the highest-quality programs, services and benefits. Each of Iowa’s 99 counties has a Commissioner of Veterans Affairs and a County Director. Veterans and their families should visit their county Veteran Commissioner or Director to receive personalized assistance.
  • Veterans Benefits and Service Guide: A comprehensive guide for federal, state and local veteran programs/benefits.