Stop the skilled labor shortage. Hire a veteran.

Mike Bacidore says military veterans bring experience and expertise to work.

By Mike Bacidore, chief editor

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Gulf War-era II veterans are 50% more likely to be out of work

Thanks for serving. That’s what I say to a veteran of the U.S. military every time I meet one. In fact, I just said it the other day at breakfast to Heinz Bloch, one of the foremost authorities on reliability. He also is a member of our expert panel on www.plantservices.com/experts. Bloch served the United States as a member of the military, even though he was born in Germany. He was drafted in the mid-1950s, and, after his tour of duty, he found work with Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and then his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology before joining Exxon, where he worked for 24 years before becoming a consultant. Oh, and he’s written 18 books and been granted seven patents.

Not a bad post-military career. But his, of course, is an exceptional one.

Saying thanks is the least I can do to acknowledge what Bloch and the 21.6 million other veterans have given.

They’ve sacrificed their lives — some of them completely, while others have given a sizable portion, only to return to civilian life looking to begin or resume careers and families.

Mike Bacidore has been an integral part of the Putman Media editorial team since 2007, when he was managing editor of Control Design magazine. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at 630-467-1300 ext. 444 or mbacidore@putman.net or check out his .

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While the unemployment rate for all veterans hovers slightly above 8%, just like the national unemployment rate does, times are a bit tougher for those individuals who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces since September 2001 — Gulf War-era II veterans. They are 50% more likely to be out of work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Pentagon estimates that more than a quarter of a million veterans of military service will retire this year. These are individuals with definable job skills that make them highly valuable, especially as we all panic about the mass exodus of Baby Boomers with experience and expertise leaving the workforce.

A cornucopia of maintenance and reliability jobs are listed on the Plant Services’ Plant Connection micro-site (jobs.plantservices.com), but even more appropriate for retired military personnel is VetJobs (www.vetjobs.com), a website where employers can reach transitioning military veterans, many of them with security clearances, that have separated over the past several decades and are now part of the civilian workforce.

Companies such as Condition Analyzing (www.conditionanalyzing.com), a shipboard vibration monitoring organization, and Rogers Machinery (www.rogers-machinery.com), an industrial equipment supplier, have experienced the experience of military veterans through VetJobs.

Government-paid relocation assistance also is available to those individuals leaving active service, and employers can benefit from tax credits. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 allows employers to claim the work opportunity tax credit, as high as $9,600, for veterans certified as qualified veterans and who begin work before Jan. 1, 2013.

It’s a great way to say thanks and a great benefit to your organization. Hire a vet.

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