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Hire a hero: Why your tire shop should employ veterans

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Navy veteran Chris Wozniak (left) at work. | © Goodyear

Hire a hero: Why your tire shop should employ veterans

With around half a million unemployed veterans in the U.S., there is a rich field of potential employees with the kind of dedication, work ethic, discipline and array of skills your tire shop could benefit from. So if you haven’t considered hiring a hero, today Traction News explores some of the reasons why you should.

The big end of town is already doing it

Goodyear recently received the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award – the nation’s highest honor given to employers for “exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees.” It’s the first company in the tire industry to receive the award, which was created in 1996.

Goodyear’s military support includes hiring 1,000 Guard, Reserve and veteran employees between 2011 and 2014 and renewing that commitment last year. The company also has a military employee resource group, which advises on hiring initiatives, mentors new Guard and Reserve employees, and provides community and company networking assistance.

Meanwhile, Bridgestone has joined the Veteran Jobs Mission, which brings together companies committed to hiring U.S. military veterans and military spouses and aims to employ 100,000 talented and skilled former service men and women by 2020.

Goodyear has also received the Pro Patria and Above And Beyond Awards and awards from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The company was recently recognized as a Military Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs magazine for its leadership in hiring and supporting veterans.

So, why is Goodyear making such a commitment to our veterans?

Veterans have unique skills to offer

Nancy Berardinelli-Krantz, who is an active-duty Army Judge Advocate and a Senior Legal Counsel at Goodyear, said that while veterans have a range of sought-after skills and attributes, it often proves difficult to translate their military experience into a civilian resume and they are overlooked as potential employees.

“The skills that service members acquire in the military (for examples, leadership, teamwork, process improvement, accountability) are invaluable assets in a corporate environment — the difficulty is demonstrating how the application of those skills in a military environment benefit corporate hiring managers,” she said.

“Our nation’s military veterans are an incredible pool of talent. In today’s business environment, employees who demonstrate that they can perform under pressure with the highest amount of integrity are a coveted asset. Veterans bring these traits to the table.”

You’re supporting those who supported their country

Chris Wozniak, engineering manager at Innovation Center Manufacturing, home of the Goodyear Race Tire business, was on active duty for more than eight years as a nuclear submarine officer and is currently a Navy Reservist. He said organizations willing to hire someone for a cultural fit rather than job experience alone will often find rewarding employees in veterans.

“My job here at Goodyear has represented a successful conclusion to a coordinated transition process — from the active duty world to civilian life,” he said. “Furthermore, I’ve found a home in an organization with a genuine interest helping veterans and facilitating a welcoming environment for drilling Guardsmen and Reservists.”

It could benefit your business financially

Aside from the benefits of employing talented, dedicated and hardworking employees, the government offers businesses that give jobs to unemployed veterans the ability to earn tax credits.

Businesses that hire eligible unemployed veterans can take advantage of a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), the Returning Heroes Tax Credit now provides incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit — for veterans with service-related disabilities — doubles the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit, up to $9,600.

To check which tax credits your business could earn, check the IRS website.

How can I go about it?

The are many organizations that connect veterans with job opportunities and allow businesses to register as veteran-hiring employers, such as hireveterans.com and hireheroesusa.orgMilitary.com also has a wealth of information and the Veteran Jobs Mission (also known as the 1 Million Jobs Coalition), specifically engages employers committed to providing 1 million jobs for veterans by 2020.

Wozniak is a case in point: “I got my chance at Goodyear through a very active and effective veterans network, which effectively got the ball rolling by putting my resume in front of the right people at the right time,” he said.

Be flexible in your job application and recruitment process. Many veterans find it hard to relate their military experience to civilian jobs and many employers don’t understand the depth of skills a veteran may have, including military terminology. Don’t base future employees just on specific previous experience, as military training means many veterans are able to quickly learn the role and use their own unique talents to outperform expectations.

“It’s often difficult to translate military experience directly to the job descriptions posted within the company,” Wozniak said. “That’s not to say there isn’t applicable job experience, but the traditional narrow interpretation of resumes often limits what the individual ‘could’ do within the company.

“Through their service, veterans have attained a unique set of skills and a strengthened character, making them highly marketable job candidates. Yet, many highly qualified and experienced veterans struggle to market themselves effectively for civilian jobs.”

Hire a hero today

There are extensive networks willing to work with employers who want to offer veterans employment, and the transportation industry is a growing sector of keen interest to military veterans seeking jobs. Finding that perfect employee could be as easy as thinking outside the box and opening up opportunities to the men and women who have returned from serving our country.

If you’ve hired a veteran in your shop, let us know! Send us a photo, their name and service details, and tell us what a difference they’ve made to your business! You can email editor@tractionnews.com, tweet us @Traction_News with the hashtag #hireahero or search for Traction News on Facebook.

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