Paralyzed Veterans of America encourages federal contractors and subcontractors to reach out to its premier nationwide vocational program for assistance in meeting new veteran and disability hiring regulations.
New Labor Department regulations, which went into effect on March 24, 2014, require federal contractors and subcontractors to take additional steps to improve the hiring and employment prospects for veterans and people with disabilities.
The regulations update the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act – two laws that have required federal contractors and subcontractors to affirmatively recruit, hire, train and promote qualified veterans and people with disabilities.
Susan Prokop, associate advocacy director at Paralyzed Veterans of America, said that federal contractors have voiced concerns about not only how they will find qualifying veterans to hire but also how to ensure those hires can translate the skills and cultural values they learned in the military into a corporate environment.
Those are areas where contractors should reach out to Operation PAVE, or Paving Access for Veterans Employment, Paralyzed Veterans of America’s premier nationwide vocational assistance program, Prokop said.
“Having an intermediary like our PAVE counselors who understand the military world and the corporate world is a good backstop to have for both the company and the veterans making those connections,” Prokop said. “It’s clear that our PAVE program can address many contractors’ concerns.”
More specifically, the modifications to VEVRAA provide contractors with new metrics to quantify their success in recruiting and employing veterans. The new rules require contractors to annually adopt a benchmark based on the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8 percent), or develop their own benchmark based on the best available data.
Modifications to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act create a hiring goal for federal contractors and subcontractors that seven percent of each job group in their workforce be qualified individuals with disabilities. The rules also require contractors to document and update data on the number of disabled individuals who apply for and are hired for jobs. The hope is that these increased metrics will help contractors assess the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts.
The Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs estimates that there are 5.78 million people 18 years or older in the labor force with a disability, of whom 822,000, or 14.21 percent, are veterans. OFCCP estimates that more than 700,000 veterans and individuals with disabilities overall will be hired as a result of the two regulations.
“There’s a body of veterans with disabilities currently in the labor force that would be good targets for the affirmative action activities by federal contractors,” Prokop said.
Paralyzed Veterans of America encourages federal contractors to contact one of its Operation PAVE regional or satellite offices for assistance with recruiting and hiring qualified veterans.
Veterans who are interested in looking for a job also are encouraged to reach out to Operation PAVE for assistance with identifying and applying for these available jobs, Prokop said.
“These regulations are new and contractors are eager to reach out to veterans, especially those with disabilities,” Prokop said. “Our Operation PAVE program is ready to help them out.”
Learn more about Operation PAVE
Brittany Ballenstedt is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in several publications, including Government Executive, National Journal, Technology Daily and NextGov.com.