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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

 

VA Celebrates Workforce, Unions and Veterans

Sep. 3, 2010, 08:00:00 AM

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) workforce of more than 300,000 – including more than 90,000 who are Veterans – knows one of its objectives as it observes Labor Day is to help young Veterans find jobs.  

“This Labor Day, we are not only celebrating the dedicated, talented VA employees working to deliver benefits and care to the Nation’s heroes,” says Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “We also are focusing our efforts in encouraging employers to consider Veterans when they need workers with a strong work ethic, leadership and a drive for success.” 

Shinseki says VA partners with the Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management in helping implement the President’s Federal Veterans Hiring Initiative.  VA’s own national program aims at bringing even more Veterans into its workforce and is a model and source of information for other federal agencies.  VA has the largest percentage of Veteran employees among civilian agencies -- approximately 30 percent -- and is increasing its number of regional employment coordinators to give Veterans more access to VA jobs.

Union members are about two-thirds of VA’s workforce and Shinseki praises five national unions and their leadership for ongoing support of Veterans and VA’s Veteran employees. VA is one of very few federal agencies to have maintained a National Partnership Council (NPC) with its unions since 1994.  NPC representatives from management and the unions openly discuss new policies and programs and promote critical labor-management relations training.  NPC members participate in many VA task forces created to execute new business practices.  Furthermore, NPC this year is helping to develop the new labor-management forums mandated by a presidential executive order signed last December. VA has also decided to create forums at the local and intermediate levels, in addition to its national organization.

Shinseki points out that Veterans and union members are among the Americans who are benefiting, even in the short term, from the department’s commitment of $1.8 billion in Recovery Act funds to improvements at 1,200 VA facility locations across the country.

Private-sector employers located near military installations have opportunities to hire service members directly after their military service.  They can post vacancies at transition assistance centers or talk to service members at transition briefings.  Private employers can also reach Veterans seeking jobs through state employment offices throughout the country, where there are local Veteran employment representatives and disabled Veterans outreach coordinators.

 “Working Americans will help our Nation’s economic recovery, and Veterans are especially prepared to participate in that challenge,” says Shinseki.  “Veterans have the discipline, work ethic and technical skills in areas such as acquisition, information technology, communications, security, information gathering and medical technology.”

Useful employment information for Veterans seeking jobs and employers looking to hire Veterans can be found at www.fedshirevets.gov.

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