Rodriguez OpEd: Celebrating 40 years of the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service
On Dec. 15, 1981, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment was established to alleviate unemployment for disabled and Vietnam era veterans by implementing policies and programs to increase opportunities for training, counseling and employment placement services. While much has changed in the past 40 years, including our name, which is now the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, we’ve remained committed to serving all veterans, including the 4.5 million post-9/11 veterans who now represent the largest group of veterans in the labor force.
At VETS, our mission is to prepare America's veterans, service members and spouses for meaningful careers; provide them with employment resources and expertise; protect their employment rights; and promote their employment opportunities. Last year, over 2,800 VETS staff, contractors, and grantees served more than 370,000 customers.
Looking ahead to our next 40 years
As VETS moves into the next decades, we will continue to prioritize improving our support for military-to-civilian transition and strengthening our strategic partnerships to connect veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses with good careers.
We will continue to work closely with our federal government partners at the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Small Business Administration and other agencies to ensure all veterans get the critical services they need. We will also continue to strengthen our partnerships with state workforce agencies and other non-governmental partners to scale our impact across a variety of sectors.
VETS is focused on advancing equity and inclusion in our underserved veteran communities who do not interact with the Department of Labor and other federal government agencies and programs at the same rate as other veteran communities. We are working to identify gaps and barriers to the equitable access of services, and and to ensure our programs support all veterans, including women, minority, LGBTQ+, rural, and incarcerated veterans, as well as those with disabilities.
We know that hiring veterans is not only the right thing to do, but also a good business decision. Connecting employers with talented veterans and military spouses is an important part of our “promote” mission – and VETS has several resources that can help:
• VETS’ Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans includes a comprehensive overview of everything employers need to know about recruiting, hiring and retaining veteran employees.
• Our HIRE Vets Medallion Program recognizes employers of all sizes for their efforts to provide veterans with meaningful, long-term careers.
• One-on-one assistance for veterans interested in these and other resources. Please reach out to email@example.com.
VETS is honored to have served this nation for the past 40 years, and we will continue to uphold our values of integrity, commitment, respect and excellence in our mission to serve veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses.
James D. Rodriguez is the principal deputy assistant secretary for policy for the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. Follow VETS on Twitter at @VETS_DOL and on LinkedIn.