Veterans now comprise roughly one-third of the federal workforce, thanks largely to the creation of the Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) in 2009, according to a study published by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.

However, the study — published in cooperation with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — outlined several areas of concern.
Here are some of the report’s recommendations for the 24 federal agencies that take part in VEI, aimed at enhancing the hiring of veterans:

* Continue to improve the performance-measurement process.
* Improve inter-agency collaboration. “Despite much progress, more than half of chief human capital officers responding to our survey expressed that their agencies had found it at least somewhat difficult to collaborate under the VEI,” the report stated.
* Garner a better understanding among leadership in regards to what VEI does.
* Create and enhance existing partnerships with private-sector establishments. “Establishing continued access to hiring and career development opportunities is essential for the future of VEI,” the report stated.
* Stress the need for strong and sustained political leadership.
Address dissatisfaction with current hiring rules, particularly in regards to the veterans’ preference policy. “HR [human resources] and senior-level agency leaders have … called for greater awareness and expertise of veteran hiring rules, compliance, and transparency,” the study’s authors stated.
* Find direct correlations between military skills and those that would serve the civilian federal workforce.
* Formalize the outreach process, to include better interaction among existing related Defense Department entities such as the Hiring Heroes Program and Operation Warfighter with the private sector’s Hiring Our
Heroes and the Veteran Jobs Mission initiatives.

The report also offered comparable suggestions to agency officials and human resources professionals, aimed at fostering a better understanding of what veterans bring to civilian agencies. Helping veterans apply those skills to licensing and certification requirements would be useful as well.