More than a quarter (26%) of U.S. Veterans report having a service-connected disability, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Inclusive apprenticeship programs can foster pathways to jobs in high-growth, high-demand (HGHD) industries and prepare Veterans with disabilities to have successful careers.
Through apprenticeship programs, these former military service members can pursue opportunities that harness their talents and sharpen their skills to enter into fields such as clean energy, information technology (IT), healthcare, and financial services.
Employers and other sponsors of apprenticeships stand to benefit from recruiting and hiring Veterans, including those with disabilities. Members of the armed forces are trained to be successful in high-pressure situations. They perform well under pressure, stay organized, and work well in teams.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has identified key strengths and talents that Veterans can bring to the workplace. Find out more by reading VA’s article, Why Veterans Make Good Employees.
- Proven leadership skills
- A mission-focused approach to work
- Experience working in diverse teams and organizations
- Adaptability and readiness
- A strong work ethic
- Strong performance under pressure
- Creative problem-solving skills
- Go-getter mentality
Federal and State Veteran Support
Almost one-third, or 4.7 million, Veterans have a service-connected disability, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veteran unemployment also reached 11.9% in April 2020, compared to 14.8% for the general population. The Department of Veterans Affairs is assessing the impact of the pandemic on military veterans through a study led by Health Services Research & Development to help address chronic illness and mental health impacting Veterans. Relative to Veterans, states are attempting to integrate and connect programs and initiatives related to job training, apprenticeships, and preventing employment discrimination.
Provide GI Benefits to Apprentices
- As highlighted on Apprenticeship.gov’s Hire Veterans webpage, Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) can apply to become “Approved for GI Bill®.” This status can enable employers and other sponsors of apprenticeships to provide current and future Veteran apprentices with GI benefits through their programs.
- Employers can complete the process to become certified in 30 days. Once approved, they can promote their apprenticeships as “Approved for the GI Bill” to inform Veterans about their eligibility to receive these benefits.
- Learn more by reading the fact sheet for employers and apprenticeship programs issued jointly by DOL and VA and the fact sheet for Veteran apprentices.
Tony Granillo, who identifies as a person with a disability, served in the Army for 14 years until he suffered multiple traumatic brain injuries. Tony applied to and was accepted into the Apprenti program to prepare for his dream job in the tech sector. Through the program, he secured an apprenticeship with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Within a year of starting on-the-job training, Tony completed the apprenticeship and was offered a full-time position as a Solutions Architect. In this role he supports customer engagements, helping customers understand how to navigate “the cloud” and achieve their objectives. Not only that, but he showed incredible talent and skill. Three years later, he is still at the company and credits Apprenti for finding him an amazing job opportunity and giving him the tools he needed to achieve success on the job. Find out more about Tony’s apprenticeship journey.
Funding an Apprenticeship Program for Vets
Creating an inclusive apprenticeship program that supports Veterans, including those with disabilities, can offer a low-cost way for employers to build a diverse pipeline of talent who have amassed a skill set during active duty that can greatly enhance their organizations’ bottom line.
Federal, state, and local governments have funding streams set up to support job creation for Veterans, Veterans with disabilities, and people with disabilities more broadly. These funding streams can support the development of apprenticeship programs that offer job training and credentials. Learn more by visiting Apprenticeship.gov.
Employer Resources & Opportunities
Employers who already offer apprenticeships or have an interest in launching new programs can access key resources to enhance inclusion and support career pathways for Veterans with and without disabilities.
- Read VETS’ step-by-step Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans.
- VETS partners with organizations experienced in providing employment and training services to transitioning service members and their spouses. Organizations can apply to participate as partners in this program.
- The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) worked with VETS and VA to develop a desk reference guide on Connecting VR&E Participants to Registered Apprenticeship. These agencies also released a video series to support the transition of more Veterans with disabilities into Registered Apprenticeships.
- The HIRE Vets Medallion Program led by VETS recognizes employers who invest in recruiting, employing, and retaining Veterans.
- Hiring Veterans brings tremendous benefits to the workplace. Former service members are resilient employees who are strong performers under pressure, and hiring them helps diversify the workplace. SHRM Foundation has developed the Veterans at Work program to help HR professionals learn the benefits of hiring Veterans and effective approaches to attracting, hiring, and retaining them. Find out more about SHRM Foundation’s Veterans at Work program.
“Employers recognize the value Veterans bring to the workplace but often find it challenging to connect with transitioning service members and Veterans seeking employment. Veterans are in high demand so it requires dedicated efforts by employers to find and hire Veterans.”
– Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)