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Veterans bring battle-tested skills and expertise to business

By Marquett Smith, president of the Washington/Baltimore/Virginia Region for Verizon Wireless

As we honor those who have served our country in all branches of our military this Veterans Day with parades and speeches across the nation, let us also call to mind the tremendous talent our military brings to the private sector.

This past spring, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that America’s businesses hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses, nearly tripling President Obama’s goal of 100,000 by the end of 2013. The First Lady also announced American companies have committed to hire or train another 435,000 over the next five years.  

These businesses are on the right track.
During my 11 years at Verizon Wireless, I’ve witnessed the incredible skill set of several former military and Guard and Reserve duty personnel and can attest they are a unique and valuable addition to our workforce.

You don’t need to look further than our company’s Public Safety, Crisis Response and Business Continuity teams to find compelling examples. Every day, many of our employees adapt their knowledge and leverage skills honed by the military to benefit our business -- whether building a comprehensive emergency response plan, expanding the capacity of our reliable wireless voice and data network, or deploying portable cell sites to enhance coverage for local communities impacted by storms and other natural disasters. In short, from operations and project management, to crisis resolution and the ability to think and act quickly on their feet, our veterans have played a key role in making our company what it is today.

Twelve thousand veterans are currently employed at Verizon, with 680 new hires in the past year. We’re proud of our Be A Hero, Hire A Hero efforts and had the honor of receiving the prestigious Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the Defense Department’s highest recognition given to companies for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees.  

But our work is not done.  

We will continue our commitment to hire, retain and provide career development and job security to those who have served.

Through online programs such as U.S. Military Skill Matcher, job-seeking veterans can enter their branch of service and specialty code to find openings that best match their unique background, education and experience. 

We will continue to retain veterans through policies like Emergency Military Leave, which allows employees to serve our country and keep their jobs and benefits. Currently, more than 1,100 employees are active military and annually, we have 1,000 employees on average on deployment. Verizon has been there to provide benefits and protect their employment. Employees who are married to active duty members can also receive help finding jobs within our company near where their spouses are assigned.

And, we’ll continue to recognize, mentor and support our company’s veteran employees through the Verizon Veterans Advisory Board.   

Initiatives such as these have resulted in building a performance-driven and highly successful workforce. 

We remain focused on creating a future where powerful technologies connect people globally, and inspiring better business and better living through technology.  We thank those veterans who have dedicated their unique abilities to help us achieve these goals and encourage all local businesses to look to our veterans for their hiring needs.

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