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Land of the Free because of the Brave!

Reflecting on Veterans Day – as a veteran whose grandfather, father, and stepfather served along with an uncle, severely wounded in Vietnam, and now a nephew on active duty – the day has significant meaning to me. But what about the majority of the population who has no connection to the military? What does it mean for them, and would you be shocked or surprised to hear someone say it has no meaning at all other than a free day off from work?

November 11th was declared Veterans Day (first named Armistice Day) in June 1954. Veterans Day is a day in which ALL Americans can pause, even for a second, and be thankful for the military for protecting our freedom, engaging in diplomacy around the world, creating goodwill and serving voluntarily, no questions asked. It is also a day when veterans can see their link to the past. Even those who have been separated for many years will think of their service on Veterans Day.

So, while we are celebrating and appreciating our active duty service members and veterans this month, here are some sobering points from the LinkedIn Veterans Opportunity Report: 

  • 33% of veterans are underemployed. They are employed in jobs below their skill level. This hurts the veteran, their families and the company who is employing them.
  • 38 of the top 50 industries employ veterans at a lower pay rate than nonveterans.
  • 70% of veterans take a step back in seniority because it’s the only offer.

Yet, those employers should take note:

  • Veterans remain with the companies that initially employ them 8.3% longer than nonveterans.
  • Veterans are 160% more likely than nonveterans to have a graduate degree or higher.
  • Military experience exposes individuals to advanced technology and technical training.
  • The military employs people in all professional fields, at every possible career level, yet veterans are an undervalued talent pool in today’s workforce.

Veteran underemployment has severe consequences, and not just for the veteran. The impact carries through their families, their communities and our businesses. Underemployment of veterans actually ends up costing the employer more in the long run. Awareness is a start, but it shouldn’t end there.

There are many actions employers can take to ensure veterans aren’t being left out. It will take less time for a hiring manager to call and ask a veteran to give a brief of their skills than it will to wade through thousands of applicants who did make it through the filters but are not even remotely qualified.

Companies must shift and allow their hiring managers the freedom to explore a military veteran’s background. The return on investment will be exponentially greater when on average, veterans perform at higher levels and have lower turnover. 

Today and every day, we are thankful for ALL veterans as we live in the land of the Free because of the Brave.

How Hiring A Veteran Can Generate A Tax Credit For Your Business

In addition to the skills and talents Military Veterans can bring to a company, did you know that they can also help your business earn tax credits?

Businesses that hire eligible unemployed Military Veterans can take advantage of a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), available to privately-held, publicly-held, and certain tax-exempt organizations.

After recent changes, The Returning Heroes Tax Credit now provides incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit doubles the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities, to up to $9,600.

Here are the various Military Veteran-related tax credits your company could qualify for:

Unemployment Tax Credits:

  • Qualified Long-term Unemployment: This is a credit for new hires that begin work on or after January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2019, during which the individual is employed no less than 27 consecutive weeks and includes a period in which the individual was receiving unemployment compensation under State or Federal law. For WOTC-certified new hires working at least 120 hours, employers can claim 25% of the first-year wages paid up to $6,000, for a maximum income tax credit of up to $1,500. For WOTC-certified new hires working 400 hours or more, employers can claim 40% of the first-year wages up to $6,000, for a maximum income tax credit of up to $2,400.
  • Short-term Unemployment: A credit of 40% of the first $6,000 of wages (up to $2,400) for employers who hire veterans who have been in receipt of unemployment compensation for at least 4 weeks.
  • Long-term Unemployment: A credit of 40% of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600) for employers who hire veterans who have been in receipt of unemployment compensation for longer than 6 months.

Wounded Warrior Tax Credits:

  • Veterans with Services-Connected Disabilities: Maintains the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for veterans with service-connected disabilities hired within one year of being discharged from the military. The credit is 40% of the first $12,000 of wages (up to $4,800).
  • Long-Term Unemployed Veterans with Services-Connected Disabilities: A new credit of 40% of the first $24,000 of wages (up to $9,600) for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been in receipt of unemployment compensation for longer than 6 months. The credit can be as high as $9,600 per veteran for for-profit employers or up to $6,240 for tax-exempt organizations.
  • Certain tax-exempt organizations can take advantage of WOTC by hiring eligible veterans and receiving a credit against the employer’s share of Social Security taxes.

Regardless of the Military Veterans you hire, your company will benefit, financially in productivity and engagement as well as these great tax credits.

Interested in hiring Military Veterans? Get started here!

Veterans: The Untapped Talent

Job Hunt Challenges

Every company wants to find candidates who have leadership skills, a strong work ethic, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work in a team. Who do those skills define? Veterans. So why do veterans struggle to find employment after their military service? In the 2016 Veteran Hiring Report, iCIMS reported the top reasons veterans haven’t applied or accepted a job. Among them, “56 percent of veterans reported not being satisfied with the salary or benefits offered. 41 percent didn’t think they had enough training or education to do the job and 28 percent stated they were concerned about their ability to ‘sell myself’ in an interview.” The common denominator is that veterans are often unaware of and reluctant to promote their capabilities or speak to their transferable skills.

Untapped Talent

On the employer side, civilians often have difficulty understanding what veterans did in the military and how those skills and experiences can benefit a company. Hiring managers and recruiters don’t look beyond the military occupation title. While 85 percent of military occupations have a direct civilian equivalent, the other 15 percent also have transferable and highly sought-after skills. Hours, weeks, and years of training equate to skills in such areas as identifying requirements, inventory management, safety, hydraulic systems, quality control/assurance, and compliance. Even when companies recruit and hire veterans, they are failing to make the most of those veterans’ talents and experiences, which contributes to underemployment, high levels of frustration, and even boredom. By gaining an understanding of the top skills veterans hold, employers can tap into this talent and ensure they are providing a challenging and rewarding career path.

Hire Veterans!

Employers, veterans advocates, and policymakers should recognize and act on the business case for hiring veterans. If employers want to take advantage of the best of this talent pool, they need to put in a little extra effort by connecting with veterans and finding out what they bring to the table. It will be time well spent.

Veterans ASCEND is an innovative system that matches employers with veterans based on skills. To learn more go to www.veteransascend.com, call 864-887-5865, or email talent@veteransascend.com.

5 Reasons To Hire Military Spouses

A big part of serving in America’s military is moving across the country, and sometimes overseas. For those tens of thousands of military spouses and families, this usually means they move with their servicemember as well. Over the course of a long career, this can mean families pick up and move several times. Each of these moves disrupts families’ lives, including the spouse’s career. Oftentimes, military spouses get discouraged when moving because they have to start their career over again, while their military servicemember presses on with theirs.

Military spouses are at a disadvantage when competing for jobs at new locations because their resumes often indicate the frequent moves, gaps in work history, and lack of career progression. To a hiring manager, their resume may give the impression that the person is a job hopper who can’t stick around long enough to advance. On goes this cycle which suppresses the spouse’s wages. Did you know that military spouses earn, on average, 38% less than their civilian counterpart? This situation can have implications for military families when deciding whether to stay in our voluntary forces.

As an employer, the next time you need to fill a talent need, consider hiring a military spouse. Here’s five reasons why:

  1. Military spouses are familiar with change. If your company has done things a certain way for a long time, changes in your processes might upset the status quo for some of your existing employees; not so much for a military spouse. Consider how drastic a change that moving across the country or overseas can be? Or, how about the constant deployments of their servicemember? Military spouses have come to expect change.
  2. Military spouses usually have multi-industry experience. When a military family moves, the spouse many times will find a new job in a different industry than their previous one. This means that your company would be hiring an individual that is well-rounded and knows how to work with different clientele.
  3. Outstanding work ethic. While a servicemember is off protecting our nation, the spouse is usually at home juggling many different things. This situation varies from family to family of course, but overall it can be very stressful for a military spouse to care for everything and worry about the safety of their servicemember. They must have a great work ethic to make it all work so, in turn, their military spouse can concentrate on their mission.
  4. Diversity. The military is a diverse force. As such, so is the military spouse population. Many have different backgrounds and life experiences. On top of that, because they are generally well-travelled, they may have experienced other cultures. Some even learn to overcome language barriers overseas. A military spouse can bring these experiences to your team.
  5. Mission-first mentality. Just as members of our military are mission-focused, so too are military spouses. They understand the sacrifices they make are for the greater good. This kind of mission focus carries over into their careers as well.

Employers across our nation understand the sacrifices military families make, Many want to help but may not know how. Is your organization military spouse friendly?  

To learn more about what Veterans ASCEND is doing to help military spouses, check out the information below, or the video at the following link:  https://ifundwomen.com/projects/support-military-spouses

Help Support Our Mission to Hire Military Spouses!

Veterans ASCEND is in the process of raising funding to build a platform just for Military Spouse employment. Just like our Veteran skills-matching platform, Military Spouses have their own set of skills and experience unique to military family life.

If you’re an employer, we offer excellent rewards to our business sponsors:

$250 or more
Reward: Captain
Three month Basic subscription on Veterans ASCEND. ($450 value)

$500 or more
Reward: Colonel
Three month
 Banner subscription on Veterans ASCEND ($750 value) and recognition on our website.

$1,000 or more
Reward: One Star
One year
 Basic subscription on Veterans ASCEND ($1,800 value), recognition on social media and our website.

$2,000 or more
Reward: Two Star
One year
 Banner subscription on Veterans ASCEND ($3,000 value), recognition on social media and our website.

$3,000 or more
Reward: Three Star
One year
 Brass subscription on Veterans ASCEND ($4,800 value), recognition on social media and our website.

We would be honored to have you support our efforts to support military families and help companies hire Military Spouses.

#1 Reason Employers Hire Veterans

If you’re a business owner, CEO, recruiting agent, or in charge of hiring at your company, there’s one powerful, obvious reason that you should hire U.S. Military Veterans.

Over the last few months, we’ve had droves of businesses in various industries jumping on this opportunity to focus heavily on hiring Veterans. We truly wanted to understand why our platform was so popular. We discovered that it wasn’t because our system is modern, easy to use, and affordable – although those certainly were benefits.

The reason? Tax credits.

WOTC

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has developed the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for employers who hire specific groups of individuals. The following information was sourced from IRS.gov:

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.

WOTC joins other workforce programs that incentivize workplace diversity and facilitate access to good jobs for American workers.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act) retroactively allows eligible employers to claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for all targeted group employee categories that were in effect prior to the enactment of the PATH Act, if the individual began or begins work for the employer after December 31, 2014 and before January 1, 2020. For tax-exempt employers, the PATH Act retroactively allows them to claim the WOTC for qualified veterans who begin work for the employer after December 31, 2014 and before January 1, 2020.

The PATH Act also added a new targeted group category to include qualified long-term unemployment recipients.

Hiring Qualified Veterans

Employers must hire “qualified Veterans” to receive a tax credit:

A “qualified Veteran” is a veteran who is any of the following:

  • A member of a family receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (food stamps) for at least 3 months during the first 15 months of employment.
  • Unemployed for a period totaling at least 4 weeks (whether or not consecutive) but less than 6 months in the 1-year period ending on the hiring date.
  • Unemployed for a period totaling at least 6 months (whether or not consecutive) in the 1-year period ending on the hiring date.
  • A disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability hired not more than one year after being discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • A disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability who is unemployed for a period totaling at least six months (whether or not consecutive) in the one-year period ending on the hiring date.

This information was one of the most powerful reasons employers sign up with Veterans ASCEND, primarily because so few employers take advantage of this opportunity. Hiring agencies and talent acquisition departments are scrambling to take this opportunity, and we’re here to help.

Save Money With Veterans ASCEND

Hiring Veterans that are qualified for the positions that your company needs filled can be a challenging task. That’s why we’ve put together a state-of-the-art skills matching platform that allows you to unlock profiles. Join our mission and hundreds of other employers hiring Veterans by signing up today! To sign up, please visit https://www.veteransascend.com/users/signup/

Why Hire Veterans?

Advantages of Hiring Veterans

When looking for someone to fill your talent needs, take time and consider hiring a Veteran. All too often Veterans are overlooked for positions they apply to because many hiring managers don’t understand how their skills transcend industries and the value Veterans bring to organizations. Your company will reap several benefits when you recruit and employ Veterans.

Veterans have many skills they’ve developed during their military service that make them perfect candidates for employment:

  • Attention to Detail – The military trains servicemembers to be able to pay particular attention to the details which translates to reduced errors on the job.
  • Loyalty (i.e. employee retention) – Loyalty is ingrained into each servicemember. Most Veterans will carefully choose the company they work for, work hard, and stay with the company for the long haul.
  • “Mission Mindset” – Veterans see the “bigger picture” and their role in it. No matter what your company sells, whether it’s a product or service, Veterans know that their job is a necessity to ensure the company’s mission is accomplished. Additionally,Veterans go above and beyond the job description to ensure the mission is accomplished.
  • Leadership is woven into the culture of the military. Veterans start at a low rank, and work their way up to important leadership roles to develop and train their team members.
  • Problem Solving – In the military, every single day was an opportunity to solve some kind of internal or external problem or issue. Whether it be a social issue within their unit, an administrative task that required delegation, or perhaps dealing with conflict, problem solving comes as a second nature to many prior servicemembers.
  • Toughness – The military doesn’t retain weak recruits; basic training is difficult, and weeds out those who complain, give up, and don’t believe in themselves or the mission. Veterans know how to stay mentally tough in difficult situations and stay calm under pressure.
  • Teamwork – Veterans from each branch are taught the essentials of how to work effectively with others in their unit and other military organizations. This translates in civilian positions as well such as helping their coworkers succeed, customer service, and clear communication with vendors and clients.

Hire a Veteran today!

Having a successful company means hiring the right people to make it work. When you hire a Veteran, you are investing in an individual who has already been trained to work well with others by some of the most elite organizations in the world.

We can help you find the veteran with the skills you need. Visit our employer-dedicated website at Employers.VeteransASCEND.com and learn more.

Helping Veterans Find A Fulfilling Career

The acronym MOS stands for “Military Occupational Specialty” in the U.S. military. What does it entail, and can it help you hire a Veteran? There are a number of employers throughout the United States that have taken steps to hire Veterans based on their MOS, and for good reason:

When searching for a job, it can be difficult for veterans to find a position that matches their skills and training. How do you know what skills you they need to find a fulfilling career at your company?

BASIC EXPERIENCE IN THE MILITARY

The first thing you should understand is what experience veterans have from prior life experience. This not only includes military training, but all auxiliary experiences a candidate has amassed before and after his/her service.

When veterans were in the military, there were basic skills that every member was required to have – some of which you may not have thought of:

  • Administrative tasks (government forms, etc.)
  • Attention to detail
  • Timeliness
  • Management & leadership
  • Organization
  • Customer Service
  • Teamwork
  • Logistics
  • Public Relations
  • Standards Enforcement

There were many skills that veterans were required to have, and DoD standards to maintain which ensured they maintained unit-readiness at all times.

TRANSLATE UNIQUE MOS SKILLS

When you sign up for a Veterans ASCEND skills-matching employer profile, we match your company’s open position with veterans’ skills. How do you leverage veterans’ unique experiences, skills, and training in such a way that helps veterans find a fulfilling career with your company, and avoid losing them to your competition?

There are over 1,000 MOS codes across our military and Coast Guard. It can be a bit difficult to understand how certain jobs during a veteran’s tour of duty might translate into a civilian career, especially if it was extremely specialized (i.e., a candidate worked as a drone operator overseas).

A great way to “convert” an MOS into civilian terminology and applicability is to think about what aspects of your company’s open position(s) uses similar systems, technology, and standard operating procedures used in the veteran’s MOS. Using the drone operator example above, flying a drone into enemy airspace can easily be a translatable skill for surveying aerial zones for different industries such as real estate, auditing crops for farmland, assessing environmental disaster damages, architecture, commercial videography, and much more.

FIND A NEW MISSION

It may very well be that a veteran’s MOS was a combat-related role, or something that doesn’t easily translate into a civilian position. Many veterans struggle with this, but if you believe in your company’s overall mission then they will, too.

When veterans search for a fulfilling career – not necessarily a job just that just pays their monthly expenses – it can be difficult. A “fulfilling” career, for veterans at least, is something that replaces the purpose and drive given to them during their time of service. Many veterans find that they no longer have a mission once they leave the military, and this can cause many to struggle with their transition into civilian careers.

However, knowing what a candidate loves to do – and matching that passion with their skills – is a great start to helping them start their journey to a successful, fulfilling career as a military veteran employee. Once you know what gives a veteran the sense of a new “mission”, it will help him/her find a position with your company that provides them with a sense of purpose once again!

How To Understand an MOS

The acronym MOS stands for “Military Occupational Specialty” in the U.S. military. What does it entail, and can it help you hire a Veteran? There are a number of employers throughout the United States that have taken steps to hire Veterans based on their MOS, and for good reason:

They have experience and transferable skills.

Many times, employers hire an employee that appears to have experience for the position they were hired for, but that individual was likely hired out of a need for someone to quickly fill the position. The negative aspect of hiring quickly over quality is that the job isn’t performed at the level that it needs to be, and as a result, the employee, the team and the company suffers.

On average, the military spends $25,000 per service member for each year of service. A Veteran with an MOS in a particular field has been trained by military personnel in that area and they are educated with discipline and precision to ensure every aspect of their job is done correctly. In addition, an MOS that isn’tdirectly relatable to a private sector job (e.g., “Field 09” Native Language Speaker, Army MOS) may be applicable in a unique way to benefit the company (e.g., Field 09’s would be useful as an in-house sales liaison to foreign clientele in a corporate setting). In addition, the soldier is trained in other aspects such as logistics, operations and human resources.

When hiring veterans, keep in mind that their MOS may only be one part of their military experience. Every single military member has been trained to properly fill out paperwork with attention to detail (excellent for administration, customer service, and accounting positions). All veterans were once required to keep up to physical fitness standards based on their branch of service (for the most part, this means that veterans are no stranger to physical labor and pushing forward for positions requiring this feat).

In short, consider all aspects of a veteran’s experience in the military and skills that are part of their primary MOS. You might be surprised what they will bring to your company.