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The Skills We Need. The Dedication We Want.
Feds Hire Vets - Vet to Vet
Feds Hire Vets - Vet to Vet

Posted 3:17 PM by
Each wounded service member has his or her own story. The stories include what they have done in their civilian and military lives before their life changing injury, and then each confronts and conquers unique challenges. In my experience, most confront degrees of the following: realizing their preferred military service is over; adapting to the change that occurred to their bodies no matter what the injury; realizing life is not over, but you must now do things differently. And the most dramatic - realizing you don't know what you want to do, and to be willing to accept the guidance and professional opinions of others to help you succeed in your changed world. All of this happened to me.

Probably the most difficult change for me was confronting the fact my injuries ended my military career in special operations, and not knowing how I would provide for my family. During my recovery, I had the good fortune to meet the Inspector General for the Department of Defense on an airplane. He knew I had no direct experience in his field, but assumed I could learn what I needed for the transition. He considered my military training a plus. He asked if I would like to work for them; I promptly said yes. I was hired under a Veterans Readjustment Act (VRA) appointment. Accepting this offer was one of the best choices I ever made. My new supervisors and co-workers understood my combat experience and extensive training gave me the tools I needed to perform in the roles of team leadership, management and fellowship. While I had no direct experience in program evaluation, my supervisor and co-workers showed me how my ability to elicit, collect, and analyze combat and insurgent intelligence would help me interview people and collect and evaluate program data, skills essential to achieving job success. They let me demonstrate my ability to do the job.

My new teammates help me understand how the organization worked, and clarified what I needed to do to fulfill my part of the agency's mission. It definitely took time, effort and energy not only on their part but mine as well. In the end, we learned from each other and succeeded. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation Program which offers wounded and disabled veterans the opportunity to attend college to enhance their job qualifications. With my employer's assistance and support, I earned a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from Park University, and I am now only five classes away from receiving a Masters in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

I made the transition and I experienced it all first hand. If not for the opportunity offered to me by that one person who was willing to give me a chance, I don't know where I'd be today. It only took one person to start the chain of events that helped me transition to a new career and a new life. To that person and the people of that organization, I will be forever grateful.

If you have a position in your organization, I strongly encourage you to invest in a wounded Vet. If your organization does not use the VRA hiring authority to provide an opportunity for a wounded veteran, I hope that after reading this you will. It worked for me and my organization, and I'm confident it will work for you.

  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of Homeland Security
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