As mentioned in the last blog post, college campuses are not only great places to find eager young men and women to fill your entry level positions and summer internships – they can be great resources for finding military veterans to fill entry- and experienced-level positions. Last time we covered Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs; now let’s look at Student Veteran Groups.
The number of veterans pursuing higher education after completing service is on the rise, and is expected to explode in the coming years, thanks to the new and very generous Post 9/11 G.I. Bill (www.gibill.va.gov/S22/Post_911_Factsheet.pdf), which goes into effect in August 2009. With increased veteran presence on college campuses comes the need for learning institutions to provide services to support those military members.
Student veterans groups are popping up on campuses across the country. A driving force behind that effort is the Student Veterans of America (www.studentveterans.org). The SVA was established in January 2008 with the goals of “develop[ing] student veteran groups on college and university campuses and coordinat[ing} by region between existing groups; connect[ing] student groups with resources; [and] advocat[ing] on behalf of student veterans at the state and national level.”
The state of California created Troops to College (www.troopstocollege.ca.gov) with the express purpose of attracting more veterans to California’s public universities and colleges by making campuses more veteran friendly.
So, why should recruiters target the student veteran groups? Let’s look at the typical population of a student veteran group:
Former service members who have separated from the military and who are now pursuing higher education.
Military guardsmen or reservists who are on campus to build additional skills or obtain certifications.
Active duty service members who are pursuing advanced degrees or certifications.
Veteran’s family members or loved ones who work on campus or who are students themselves.
Employers looking to hire military can provide a service and create a recruiting link by establishing a relationship with student veterans groups. Open up a dialog with them by making it known that you are a company that values and supports military service. Be clear that you want to hire former service members, and that you embrace the opportunity to promote your company brand to this constituency. Then do just that – come to campus for career day, or sit on a career panel, or host an “open house” just for the veterans.
If you are within a 3 hour drive of the campus, invite the veterans to your location for a special “welcome veterans” event. Provide a tour of your company. Arrange for a meet-and-greet with some of your veteran-employees who can share their experience with transitioning to civilian employment and who can explain how their military skills are being utilized in a corporate job.
If your office is not near a campus, you can still send a contingent of veteran employees and a recruiter to campus for a special afternoon/evening, perhaps at a local restaurant or a catered event at a local hotel.
To find colleges and universities with a student veteran group go to www.studentveterans.org/chapterinfo/search.php.
Posted by Lisa Rosser, Author of and Speaker/Workshop Leader on The Value Of a Veteran(TM): The Guide for Human Resource Professionals to Regarding, Recruiting, and Retaining Military Veterans