CSC has been proactively supporting veterans for over a decade and has been named a Top Veteran Friendly Employer by GI Jobs magazine. But what does it take to support veterans and their families? I spoke to Andrea Hall, our HR Principle for Diversity, Military and Community Relations and herself a military spouse of 23 years, to find out more.
Paula: Andrea, how would you summarize the CSC veterans program?
Andrea: I’d divide it into three parts: recruitment, volunteerism and philanthropy. Recruitment focuses not just on providing career opportunities but also on proactively assisting veterans through the applications process. Our volunteers also support transitioning veterans through our CSC Salutes community and our employees regularly raise money for veteran’s charities.
Paula: It sounds like recruitment plays a key role in the strategy. Why is recruitment so important?
Andrea: We’ve hired in the region of 10,000 veterans in the last five years which is important when you consider that the unemployment rate for veterans in the US is now about 9 percent, well above overall civilian levels of around 7 percent.
The problem is even more pronounced for young veterans. For those aged 18-24, the jobless rate is more than 21 percent and the military spouse unemployment rate is three times the national average. Veterans have valuable skills and a great work ethic so it’s a win-win to recruit veterans into the CSC workforce.
Paula: What does the recruitment program look like?
Andrea: We provide one-on-one assistance and career coaching to military-affiliated job seekers alongside career tools such as our Skills Translator. An online resource, military personnel can enter their military job title and specialties to find relevant career opportunities at CSC. Plus there’s the CSC volunteer-led Veterans Employee Resource Group.
Paula: Sounds interesting, can you tell me more?
Andrea: CSC Salutes is one of our employee-created networks of support. It’s a global community made up of hundreds of CSC employees who provide mentoring and coaching to transitioning veterans. Members of the group also come together as a community of veterans and spouses to support one another and raise money for veteran charities. In the past three years they’ve raised $15,000 for wounded warriors through their annual gift card drive.
Paula: So veterans already working within CSC support each other and those looking to join the company? Why do you think they volunteer?
Andrea: In my experience people volunteer first and foremost because they feel passionately about supporting our military. But they also get a lot out of being part of the group too. It helps build professional networks and provides insight into other parts of the business, which in such a large organization is always valuable. Plus it gives people the opportunity to lead projects, which if your day job isn’t in a leadership role, is incredibly useful in terms of personal and professional development.
Paula: We’ve talked a lot about veterans, but the program also supports military spouses and wounded warriors.
Andrea: Yes, that’s right. In fact our program began back in 2003 when we became a founding partner of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, an initiative committed to providing career opportunities for military spouses and wounded warrior caregivers. Our program expanded from there to include veterans and wounded warriors, but it started with military spouses and they remain a key focus today.
We proactively recruit and hire wounded warriors. Our goal is to provide opportunities for them to transition to fulfilling and growth-promoting careers so we also partner with a number of community organizations as well as the US Military’s wounded warrior programs in order to learn and share best practice on how best to achieve that goal. Last year we hired in the region of 300 veterans with disabilities.
Paula: Where would someone reading this be able to find out more about the program?