On Veterans Day, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of those who have courageously served in the United States armed forces. ANSI is proud to support its members, partners, and affiliated organizations offering innovative resources for the legions of service members transitioning to civilian life and new careers.
Recent Census Bureau statistics indicate a positive outlook for the 21 million veterans in the United States: Veteran unemployment reached a seven-year low in October 2015. While President Obama has called on communities and businesses to consider hiring veterans as they fill talent for jobs, various initiatives are already in place to support veterans in search of work.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), an ANSI government member, recently announced its partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation to better connect veterans with resources close to home, and to further advance the VA's outreach to vets through deeper and more innovative local and community partnerships. The partnership is just one of numerous strategic alliances the VA is forming to meet the needs of veterans.
Efforts to recruit veterans are especially crucial for industries with a high demand for qualified workers. Earlier this year, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the American Gas Association, together with ANSI members the Edison Electric Institute (EEI)and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), collaborated with government agencies and energy trade associations to form the Utility Industry Workforce Initiative. This effort will match veterans, exiting service members, and spouses with jobs in the utility industry through recruitment, training, and retention programs.
Another ANSI member, Alcoa, is proactively helping members of the U.S. military overcome challenges of transitioning careers with their accumulated service knowledge through mentorship and recruiting opportunities.
While these efforts represent significant advancements, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) noted earlier this year that 8 in 10 employers lack recruitment programs for veterans. Recognizing this issue, SHRM has published a step-by-step article titled "How to Begin Hiring Veterans." Among the advice, it encourages organizations to participate in independent or industrywide programs administered by an association of sector-based employers.
Efforts to help veterans do not stop at recruitment: While veteran unemployment may be at a historic low, credentialing for veterans and translating military skills for civilian careers can be challenging, creating a barrier to employment. ANSI has a history of supporting veterans in this area through its affiliate Workcred, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation which serves to improve the complex credentialing system by preparing employers, workers, educators, and governments to use it effectively.
Dr. Roy Swift, Workcred's executive director and a veteran who served 28 years in the U.S. Army medical department, recently testified before Congress on behalf Workcred and ANSI, stating that most marketplace certifications do not meet national or international standards, which is increasingly critical as 250,000 returning service members join the prospective employee pool every year. Workcred serves to add transparency to the credentialing process.
The recently launched Credential Transparency Initiative (CTI) also expands on efforts to enhance the labor market credentialing system for civilians and veterans alike. George Washington University's Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP), Workcred, and Southern Illinois University (SIU) are leading the CTI to create greater coherence and transparency in the U.S. credentialing marketplace. The effort is funded by Lumina Foundation, and serves to develop common terms for describing key features of credentials; create a voluntary, web-based registry for sharing the resulting information; and test practical apps (software applications) for employers, students, educators, and other credential stakeholders.