Keep the Focus On “Veterans As Applicants”

Rush to MBA AdmissionsEarly in 2015, we have noticed that a few organizations are trying to shift the conversation on recruitment of veterans toward workforce development and veteran-owned businesses. This is a subtle, yet potentially important shift. There is no hard, substantiated data to prove that all of the talk about these trends is actually taking place, even on a small scale. The reality today is that the organizations and people behind all of this talk have self-serving interests and not the best interests of veterans as their primary focus.

Furthering sound bites such as ‘workforce development’ or projections of an increase in veteran-owned business could cause damage to veterans who are, or will soon be, successfully transitioning out of the military. If this movement gains momentum you could see reductions in civilian employment and credentialed education among veterans, which the DOE has shown we need 2 million more of (not less of) before 2018.

Governments, Veterans Associations and Higher Education have been collaborating for the past 7 years to help civilian employers and veterans in an effort to reduce veteran unemployment. There are two sides to this issue. The downside, where veteran unemployment has reached alarming levels of $1B in costs/year to the federal government in recent years. And the upside, where transition programs taking the form of the GI Bill have returned $7 for every $1 invested in public funding.

Let’s stay the course and continue to transition veterans as qualified applicants into accredited schools and candidates for jobs. This will not only allow us to build upon the investments we have made, but it will also continue to deliver jobs for veterans and is a proven method of growing the US economy.

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