In November, veteran’s magazine G. I. Jobs ranked Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) as its top military employer for 2012, the company’s second year in the number-one spot. Amazon has a veteran new-hire rate of 25 percent, back by a team of recruiters dedicated to military hiring and training. The company has also been proactive in trying to place disabled veterans and military spouses in work-at-home positions.
And Amazon isn’t the only company to recognize the skills and work ethic of veterans. In October, a coalition of manufacturers such as General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) aligned themselves with the “Get Skills to Work” initiative, which aims at placing 15,000 veterans into high-tech manufacturing jobs by providing re-training and re-certification opportunities.
Veteran unemployment is a huge problem in the United States, particularly as the economy at large is weathered by economic headwinds. Overall U-3 unemployment in the U.S. is 7.8 percent, but the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans is 10.8 percent. Many competent, skilled veterans have been unable to find work despite being well trained because there is no reasonable process to translate military certifications into civilian certifications.
As a result, men and women who have serviced Apache helicopters can’t find work as mechanics and medics who have field experience can’t find work as nurses. As America’s economic storm continues to brew, and the labor market shows only weak signs of improvement, private employers are recognizing that the government is not the driving engine of job growth — they are.