Targeting Veterans for Hire
The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) is intended to provide affirmative action and nondiscrimination for protected veterans including special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, active duty wartime or campaign badge veterans, and armed forces service medal veterans.

To promote equal opportunity for protected veterans, federal contractors are obligated to follow the mandatory job listing requirement, which states:
Veterans seeking the assistance of state employment service delivery systems to find employment will be able to find job listings from Federal contractors, and that the delivery systems will be able to provide priority referral of these veterans back to contractors.

In order to learn more about how each state is helping veterans secure employment, talked with close to 100 Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVERs) and Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialists at the workforce offices in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. LVERs and DVOP Specialists play a significant role in helping veterans find employment.

As a starting point, when a veteran comes into the workforce office he or she is assessed to determine the veteran’s needs, protected status, and any barriers to employment; such as, a service-connected disability, homelessness, being unemployed for 27 consecutive weeks in the previous 12 months, recently released from incarceration within the last 12 months, lacking a high school diploma or equivalent, or low income.

After the assessment, the veteran registers an account on the local Employment Service Delivery System (ESDS) website. Registering an account is significant because the veteran is likely unemployed and receiving unemployment insurance. As a result, the workforce offices want veterans to actively seek jobs and receive email alerts about jobs that are posted on the ESDS website, if possible. Some offices also require veterans to post their resume in the ESDS candidate database; thus, creating another opportunity for employers to find veterans.

When a veteran registers an account, some ESDS websites have the ability to flag veterans so employers can distinguish them from non-veterans, which is intended to be helpful for veterans and employers to quickly connect through the website. Some ESDS websites also place a hold on jobs so veterans may gain access to the jobs on the website before non-veterans. All of these strategies help give veterans priority referral.

The LVERs and DVOP Specialists we spoke with emphasized that they use the ESDS website as their primary tool for helping veterans find jobs. As a result, it is imperative that federal contractors - seeking to hire veterans - post their jobs on the ESDS websites or ensure their jobs are being posted if they are not posting the jobs themselves.

DVOP Specialists said that veterans being able to search and find jobs on the ESDS websites is analogous to driving a car. As one DVOP Specialist said, “Being able to search jobs online is an important skill that we want all of our veterans to have. You just need to know how to do it nowadays. It’s like being able to drive a car, you just need to know how.”

DVOP Specialists work closely with veterans to help them find employment. This includes removing barriers to employment, ensuring that veterans know how to navigate the ESDS website, search and apply to jobs on the website, as well as how to improve their cover letter, resume, interviewing skills, etc. DVOP Specialists also search through jobs on the ESDS website and may forward those jobs that match the veteran’s specific skills directly to the veteran with whom they are working.

This close relationship is intended to get veterans placed quickly, but more importantly, in long lasting careers. As one DVOP said, “We don’t want them [veterans] to find a job, which is ‘just over broke.’ We want to help them find a career, and as a veteran myself, I take that seriously.”

While DVOP Specialists are working directly with veterans, LVERs are reaching out to employers. This includes activities such as contacting employers directly about open positions they find on the ESDS websites, conducting seminars for employers, and recommending a specific veteran for an employer’s position. The rapport and strong relationship between the LVERs and employers goes a long way in helping veterans find sustainable careers.

The workforce offices also host onsite career fairs and encourage employers to host onsite meetings to interview veterans. These services are free to employers and are strongly welcomed by LVERS and DVOP Specialists.

Some LVERs stated that it is not uncommon for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to follow-up with them and inquire about their working relationship with federal contractors. LVERs and DVOP Specialists keep records that help showcase these established relationships.

Specifically, LVERs and DVOP Specialists provide reporting to the Department of Labor on the veterans that were case managed, referred, and hired. They primarily rely on self-reporting from the veterans, employers, and the state unemployment office. Thus, having veterans register an account on the ESDS website - as an initial step in the process - gives the LVERs and DVOP Specialists a starting point to document their efforts in helping veterans find employment.

From our discussions with LVERs and DVOP Specialists, here are a few suggestions to help employers attract and hire veterans:
  • It may seem obvious, but be sure to post your jobs on the ESDS website since it is the primary resource LVERs and DVOP Specialists use to find jobs matching the skills and qualifications of veterans
  • Include language such as “veteran friendly employer” somewhere in the job ad as veterans tend to target those types of jobs when searching the website
  • List specific job responsibilities and expectations as veterans tend to shy away from job ads with vague descriptions
  • Provide salary and benefit information since veterans are “used to knowing what salary they will be paid” and because some ESDS websites require salary information and may delay your job from being posted if this information is not included in the job ad

  • Overall, LVERs and DVOP Specialists want to build relationships with employers. To access a directory of LVERs and DVOP Specialists in your area, click here.