By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
WASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – The Labor Department, in concert with two other federal agencies, has provided a tool to guide potential employers seeking to hire disabled veterans, a Labor Department official said today.
John K. Moran, deputy assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training service, said the “America’s Heroes at Work” website provides resources to organizations looking to hire veterans with or without disabilities.
“What it does for the employer is it gives them some information about — and demystifies, quite frankly — a lot of the issues around the disabilities that many veterans might have – particularly, traumatic brain injury [and] post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said. “It advises and helps an employer understand what those issues are, what they’re not, and how they can effectively recruit and hire veterans who may have those issues into their workforce without any particular problems.”
This website guides employers to understand the disabilities and potential accommodations that may be necessary, and how they can be made, he added.
“In fact, [it] points out that many of the accommodations that might need to be made can be made very, very simply and easily,” Moran said. “So it’s really a guide for the employer how to hire the veteran who has these issues.”
The website originally launched in 2008 and was down recently for a short period as the three agencies involved — the Labor, Defense and the Veterans Affairs departments — considered who should manage the website.
“We went through a few discussions this past summer,” Moran said, “which resulted in a decision that since we, the Department of Labor, are the employment arm, if you will, for the federal government, it rightfully should stay where we are.”
Moran also noted contracting issues and “a couple of technical glitches” also caused the website to go down for a short period, but as of Nov. 26, the website has been back online and fully accessible.
Moran said Labor Department officials believe the toolkits for employers that the website provides have factored into declining veteran unemployment.
“One of the indicators that we look at, that we believe lends itself to the fact that this website is working well for the employers, is that veteran unemployment continues to go down,” he said. “So there are many factors behind that, but one of the factors is, we believe, that employers are using this toolkit [and] they’re learning from it,” Moran said. “They’re more willing and able, then, to bring on the veterans, which is probably why we’re seeing the decline in the veteran unemployment rate.”
Moran noted that nonveterans also experience PTSD and other brain injuries, but that doesn’t preclude them from being effective contributors to the workforce.
In addition to giving employers toolkits and information about veteran disabilities, Moran said, the website also emphasizes the advantages of hiring veterans, whether they have these disabilities or not.
Officials are updating all of the information so there is one “holistic place for an employer to go,” Moran said.
“They’ll simply come to the DOL website,” said he added, and “they’ll access this information, and they’ll learn about everything there is for the value of hiring a veteran, period.”
Whether a veteran has a disability won’t be germane at that point, he said. “If they want to drill down further into ‘Now, what do I need to know about the veteran who has disabilities?’ then they can further access this information,” he said. “So we are kind of putting it all in one place.”