Companies across the nation are on a mission to hire more vets

Convergys, TQL among employers for vets

CINCINNATI -- As a part of a nationwide initiative, companies like Walmart, TQL and Convergys have vowed to support veterans by placing them in meaningful positions.

In 2011, programs like 'Hiring Our Heroes' and the '100,000 Jobs Mission ' launched to help veterans find purposeful work. In the last two years, major corporations have devoted time and efforts to create internal veteran programs to honor members of the United State military services.

Cincinnati-based Convergys Corporation (CVG) pledged to hire 7,770 veterans by the end of 2014. Covergys is part of the 'Hiring 500,000 Heroes' campaign and hired 5,000 veterans since the beginning of 2012. 

“Convergys and our clients benefit from the exceptional work ethic and commitment to providing exemplary service that is consistently demonstrated by military service veterans and their spouses,” said Andrea Ayers, Convergys president and CEO.

Another Cincinnati-based company, Total Quality Logistics (TQL ) is the third largest freight brokerage firm in the nation with over 1,800 employees. In 2012, the company received a Patriot Award for its support of employees in the National Guard. 

“Members of the military possess the most important of skills that we are looking for in our Logistics account executives. They have an outstanding work ethic, they are quick to learn new skills, and they find success in any situation,” said TQL Vice President of Recruiting, Bill Neese in 2012.

Military Recruitment Specialist Matt Disher said, "What we seek is somebody who is not a quitter. Somebody who knows how to work hard, somebody who knows how to overcome obstacles and get through tough situations in order to find success. Inherently, you find that in military members."

In his eyes, military veterans may have had brushes with death but those experiences makes everything else kind of trivial. It boosts work ethic.

"The accelerated learning curve and just the ability to come in the door and hit the ground running and give it 100 percent every singe day," Disher said.

Glen Este graduate Donald Lawrence spent 11 months in Iraq. When he returned home, the veteran sold vitamins and supplements for work. His next find was a job at TQL, then he was asked again to deploy just four months after coming on board.

"It takes a lot off my plate when I know I have somewhere to come back to, somewhere that actually supported me while I was gone," Lawrence said.

There are many unemployed veterans that he knows of who are trying to find jobs.

"To be able to come right in back to work really helped me a lot," Lawrence said.

Major corporations like General Electric, Walmart and Starbucks have announced similar plans to keep the veteran workforce strong.
Earlier this year, Walmart pledged to offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her first 12 months off active duty. Since the announcement of its 'Welcome Home Commitment ', more than 20,000 veterans have been hired.

In addition to hiring vets, Walmart pledged to give $20 million through 2015 to support veteran employment and transition opportunities. Another Walmart venture, 'Operation Homefront' will give $1.5 million to provide toys and meals to military families nationwide. The gift will also support their 'Home for the Holidays' program which will bring 500 active duty military members home to spend the holidays with their families. 

General Electric (GE ) has over 10,000 U.S. military veterans working with them as of 2013. GE offers numerous options for veterans like transition assistance programs where veteran employees will have one-on-one mentoring sessions to build workplace skills and military employment programs designed specifically for military officers. 

GE has been named the top '100 Military Friendly Employers for 2014 ' by a survey based on military recruiting efforts, percentage of new military hires and retention programs.

“The 2014 Military Friendly Employers represent the preeminent tier of companies with strong military recruitment programs and meaningful job opportunities for transitioning service members and spouses seeking civilian employment,” said Sean Collins, Vice President for Victory Media and a nine-year Navy veteran. 

Starbucks has also recently announced that they plan to hire at least 10,000 vets and active-duty spouses over the next five years. 

Two years ago, the '100,000 Jobs Mission' movement set fourth to hire 100,000 veterans by 2020. The mission began with 11 companies and has grown to include 123 companies that represent a variety of jobs in America. Companies like JCPenny, AT&T, Kroger and Cintas are a part of the coalition. As of September 2013, the movement has hired 92,869 veterans.

Hiring Our Heroes is a program through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Foundation that aims to train and recruit former military members for the workplace.

The Chamber of Commerce moved to expand its efforts by making a three-year commitment of $4.5 million to launch the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign. They are planning on hiring half a million vets by the end of 2014.

According to the June 2013 quarterly report from the Chamber of Commerce HOH program, more than 1,050 businesses have taken the pledge.

The jobless rate among young veterans has decreased in the last two years, partly due to initiatives to hire these vets.

The overall unemployment rate for all veterans in October was more reflective of the national jobless rate. It stood at 6.9 percent – a bit better than the nation’s overall jobless rate of 7.3 percent, according to a CNN report.

For young veterans that served after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the unemployment rate stands at 10 percent. The jobless rate once peaked at 13.1 percent in December 2011.

Just a month ago, the Cincinnati Veteran Job Fair took place at Paul Brown Stadium with over 5,000 attendees to help veterans find employment opportunities.

Vantiv will be hosting a career fair for veterans in the Tri-State. There will 19 companies in attendance; including Macy's and US Bank. The event will take place on November 12 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Vantiv's headquarters in Symmes Township. 

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