Every day, hundreds of military members complete their service. These veterans must make many decisions when transitioning from uniformed service to civilian life, and one of the most important ones is what career path to select. As demand for workers grows in Austin, we’re observing National Hire a Veteran Day today to encourage businesses to consider veterans in their employment strategies.
National Hire a Veteran Day was founded by Hire Our Heroes, a not-for-profit organization assisting veterans with their transition experience. Why observe National Hire a Veteran Day? Austin is home to more than 35,000 veterans, and two-thirds of them are veterans of the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq, according to the US Census Bureau.
Many local employers honor Austin’s veterans by hiring them, such as William Baca, owner of William Baca Insurance. William served in the U.S. Army for eight years, and today keeps a keen eye out for other veterans seeking career opportunities.
These include veterans like Dan Cole, who served in the U.S. Navy for five years in a seagoing helicopter squadron, where he was first introduced to computers in a work setting. Today, Dan works as a field service engineer, having earned his certificates in a Security Information Technology Associate program with assistance from Workforce Solutions Capital Area. Also James Poissot, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nine years and completed multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq working on manual and automatic transmissions. James was homeless after arriving in Austin, but with assistance from the Workforce Investment Act program through Workforce Solutions Capital Area, James found full-time employment.
An additional benefit that businesses receive when hiring veterans is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), a federal income tax benefit administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) for employers who hire veterans and other individuals from specified target populations. Credits are available in amounts from $2,400 to $9,600 depending on the veteran group. Visit our Finding Talent page to learn more about the tax credits currently available for hires.
Texas is supportive of its veterans, and businesses that employ those who served are eligible for recognition from the state. In 2017, the Office of the Governor and the Texas Workforce Commission partnered with the Texas Veterans Commission to create the We Hire Vets employer recognition program. Employers whose workforce consists of at least 10 percent veterans can apply for recognition a decal to display on their storefronts and a digital badge to feature on their websites.
Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s Board Staff received the We Hire Vets award in 2018 and 2019 and also the DOL 2018 Gold HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award, which recognizes employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans. Veterans make up 14 percent of the Board Staff, with a combined 19 years of service.
At our three Career Centers, veterans receive priority for job and training referrals. Our career specialists are specifically trained to help veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and can help Austin’s veterans achieve maximum employment and training opportunities. Visit our Veterans Services page to learn more.
How will you help spread the word about the skills and value veterans bring to the workforce on National Hire a Veteran Day? Tell us is a comment below!