Hiring new veterans

Thursday, January 6, 2005

U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are finding that a military background can help land them a job -- quicker than they might have expected.

Several national companies have developed aggressive recruiting programs for recently discharged soldiers.

Maytag Corp. is hiring recently returned soldiers as repair technicians. Home Depot Inc. has an Operation Career Front program. And Toyota North America started a Hire a Hero program -- all within the past few years.

About 5,000 companies are registered with the Marine for Life program, which helps soldiers find work in civilian businesses after they leave the service.

The military likes the fact that major companies are seeking out soldiers, because it says the military is creating a good employee.

But there has been apprehension for the soldiers leaving active duty or retiring after years in the service.

Some companies, like Maytag, offered what they called a boot camp training program that helped ease soldiers' minds.

Mastering new things quickly was a skill most soldiers had learned while in the military, and they're finding it serves them well in civilian life, too.

Companies that use the recruiting programs say it helps them find high-quality workers.

Soldiers say the recruiting has helped them make a fairly easy transition from the war to the workforce.

Since the war on terrorism began, there has been strong support for the military in America. Unlike soldiers returning home from Vietnam, these men and women are welcomed with open arms into their communities and by employers.

American businesses have learned where to find good employees, and the military has learned how to market its returning soldiers to interested businesses.

-- Southeast Missourian