This week’s post was written by Patra Frame of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is a US Air Force veteran, and we thank her for her service to our country and for the work that she does for the SBDC in assisting clients with their HR needs.
In this area there are many official and local celebrations of Veterans Day, so it may mean more to us than just another ‘sales holiday’. But what might it mean to your business or organization?
First, Virginia is one of the top states in the US in terms of the number of veterans who live here. Alexandria has about 8% veterans in its population. Historically, Alexandria has attracted senior military officers to move here while on active duty and in retirement. This means affluent potential customers for retail businesses. Better yet, it means specialized consultants and potential Board members for businesses, associations, and non-profit organizations.
Alexandria already has over 250 veteran-owned businesses which thrive here. There are 13 associations representing military and veterans headquartered here, too. We also have active veteran participation in local government roles.
Capitol Post has joined the SBDC and AEDP in providing programs to attract and support veterans. The program includes workshops and 1:1 counseling for veteran entrepreneurs, co-working space, and houses the BunkerLabs DC – an incubator that features an intensive program from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Check out their speakers series for inspiration and lessons in growth for your organization.
With such a large veteran population in Alexandria and in the region, your business can thrive by hiring veterans as well as providing services or products to them. There are many local resources to help you in attracting and hiring veterans. Veterans offer you:
- A wide range of technical skills
- Ability to deal with high-change environments
- Experience in demanding environments
- Commitment to your mission and values
- In-depth training and experience in supervisory and interpersonal skills
Military spouses and family members also form an excellent labor pool to draw from. You can work with the Family Services offices at area military bases to attract both veterans and spouses.
In Old Town, there is a program for junior military in transition – the Veterans Curation Program – which can provide a resource as well. Plus, they value organizations which come in to discuss career fields and job search if you want to volunteer.
The US Department of Labor has an excellent guide to help you in this process – “Hiring Veterans – Step by Step Toolkit for Employers”. ‘Virginia Values Veterans’ is a training and certification program on hiring veterans available from our state government. Both these programs can be tailored to work for small and medium size organizations.
So, this year, when the anniversary of the end of World War I is celebrated on the 11th day of the 11th month, move beyond a moment’s silence. Use Veterans Day and its recognition of all veterans to think about the benefits of veterans to your organization too.