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Construction Companies Step Up to Hire Veterans
Michelle Obama / Wall Street Journal / February 10, 2014
On Monday, more than 100 construction companies—many of whom are direct competitors—came together to announce that they plan to hire more than 100,000 veterans within the next five years. They made this commitment not just because it’s the patriotic thing to do, and not just because they want to repay our veterans for their service to our country, but because these companies know that it’s the smart thing to do for their businesses.
As one construction industry executive put it, “Veterans are invaluable to the construction industry. Men and women who serve in the military often have the traits that are so critical to our success: agility, discipline, integrity and the drive to get the job done right.”
This is a sentiment I have heard again and again since Dr. Jill Biden and I first launched Joining Forces—a nationwide initiative to honor and support our veterans, troops and military families—in 2011. Back then, we issued a simple challenge to American businesses: Hire as many of these American heroes as you can.
Since then, we have been overwhelmed by the response. From household names like Disney, Starbucks, UPS, Wal-Mart and the Blackstone Group; to coalitions like Veterans on Wall Street and 100K Jobs Mission; to regional businesses and mom-and-pop shops and restaurants in tiny towns, American businesses have hired nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses.
The CEOs we’ve spoken to have been consistently impressed with their hires, reporting that veterans are some of the highest-skilled, hardest-working employees they’ve ever had. Current research supports these claims: A report from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University states that veterans are resilient, adept at building and leading teams, comfortable with diversity, and able to handle uncertainty.
These traits come as no surprise given the training and experience the members of our Armed Forces get during their time in uniform. They master some of the most advanced information, medical and communications technologies in the world. They run complex operations, from distributing supplies to hundreds of locations to moving tons of equipment across the globe. They oversee dozens, even hundreds of their colleagues, inspiring service members from diverse backgrounds to succeed.