Three Key Misperceptions Prevent the Employment of Disabled Veterans

Disabled Veteran Jon Zagami, (left) who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), continues to be a model to employers that Veterans are valuable in the workplace.

By Alli Kartachak, WTC Stratcom
Jon Zagami is a leader. He gets results. He motivates his peers, and he works hard. Most employers would be grateful to have an employee like him. Yet each year many employers will turn down the opportunity to hire eligible candidates like Zagami, simply because of one factor –they are disabled Veterans.

Research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that there are three key misperceptions that employers have about hiring wounded warriors like Zagami. These include lack of knowledge about how military skills translate into a civilian job, fear of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on job performance, and confusion that the cost of accommodations will be high.

During the next five years, more than eighty-thousand disabled Veterans will be entering the workforce in search of jobs. BG David J. Bishop, Commander of the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command (WTC), says that the Army is doing all it can to help support the long-term success of Veterans.

Part of this support lies in the Army’s “Hire a Veteran” campaign, which aims to eliminate misperceptions that impede the employment of disabled Veterans through employer and Veteran first-hand accounts and new research.

“Our campaign aims to reduce anxiety around hiring a Veteran and level the hiring field for our wounded warriors,” said Bishop. “Veterans bring discipline and leadership to any organization that they join. Employers, and their bottom line, would benefit from their unique skills and experience in the workplace.”

Timothy Warrington, a supervisor for the General Building Laborer’s Local 79 is featured in the campaign’s educational video. He hired disabled Veteran William Plotner, who now works as a laborer for Tishman Construction at World Trade Center projects. Warrington says that Plotner is a benefit to the company, and that other employers should give Veterans a chance like he did.

“You know, we all want to put yellow magnets on our car. We all want to say we support Veterans and that we support the troops,” he said.  “Well it is easy to say that, it feels good to say that, but why don’t you just do it?  Just do it. Hire the Veteran.”

For more information about hiring disabled Veterans and to access an educational video and online employer toolkit, visit the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command website.

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