Joint Services Host Conference to Increase Wounded Warrior Hiring

By Emily Oehler, WTC Stratcom

Joint services’ wounded warrior programs unite to increase federal hiring of wounded warriors. (left to right) CAPT Adrian Nicholas (Wounded Warrior Regiment), CDR Shauna Hamilton (Navy Safe Harbor), BG Darryl Williams (Warrior Transition Command), COL Rick Dickinson (Warrior Transition Command), LTC David Bringhurst (Air Force Wounded Warrior Program), and COL Gregory Gadson (Army Wounded Warrior Program).

For many, hiring is about processes. Managing one if you’re in Human Resources (HR). Or working one, if you’re looking for a job. But yesterday, it was about something more—it was about wounded warriors.

For the first time, the joint services’ wounded warrior programs united around the single mission: Increase the hiring of wounded warriors throughout the federal workforce through the education and engagement of agency HR managers, Veterans Employment Program Officers, and Equal Employment Office disability program managers.

Attending the two-day Wounded Warrior Federal Employment Conference were more than 125 representatives from nearly 30 federal agencies—all of whom agreed to hire one wounded warrior in the next year.

COL Greg Gadson, Army Wounded Warrior Program Director, told conference participants, “We need to increase the hiring of wounded warriors in the federal work place. Bottom line, wounded warriors want to continue to serve and they don’t give up. That’s who you want on your work force.”

The presence of wounded warriors, those looking for a job and those who successfully transitioned to a career post retirement, brought the conference to life for attendees. The lunch keynote speaker, severely burned wounded warrior and current DHS employee retired CPT Alvin Shell, said, “When you shake a wounded warriors hand, look down and know that’s it’s a hand of sacrifice and service.” Adding, “We have to decipher our Soldier’s ingrained skills and give them opportunities. Focus on our abilities, not our disabilities.”

Conference speakers included Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Jonathon Young, National Council on Disability, The Honorable Ray Jefferson, Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training Services/Department of Labor, and representatives from Navy Safe Harbor, Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, Army Civilian Human Resources Agency, Naval Sea Systems Command and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Brain Injury.

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