Calling on businesses to step up for returning vets

\'\'Vets aren\'t a charity, they are an investment,\'\' says Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – While veterans groups are encouraged by large companies like Walmart committing to hiring more veterans, they say it’s time for even more companies to step it up.

Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) says not only is hiring veterans the right thing to do but companies will benefit from the move.

“Vets aren’t a charity, they are an investment,” he says. He adds veterans are just waiting to give the economy a major boost.

“That’s what happened after WWII. That generation came home and built some of America’s greatest businesses and we think this generation can do the same,” Rieckhoff says.

He says there are unfair stereotypes of veterans that hold some employers back, including a limited view of what they can do in the workforce.

“I think the biggest problem is that sometimes folks think they’re only good at being security guards or truck drivers,” says Rieckhoff.

He says that couldn’t be further from the truth. “They can do any kind of executive job. They are incredibly entrepreneurial and resourceful,” he adds.

Rieckhoff says veterans have integrity, good values and a selfless attitude about their work.

“We want every employer in America to be actually fighting over these vets. That’s how it should be. They are that good, they are that talented and they have that much promise,” he says.

Rieckhoff urges businesses to seek veterans through community groups, a local National Guard unit or even the Pentagon.

“More than anything else, they just need a shot,” he says.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has an online resource page for veterans and their families to help with career guidance and finding a job. Learn more by following this link.

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