USA: Military, Civilian Officials to Discuss Retaining Wounded Warrior Employees

Military, Civilian Officials to Discuss Retaining Wounded Warrior Employees

Military and civilian officials with the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, and private sector employers will discuss retaining wounded warrior employees at the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference, hosted by the Naval Sea Systems Command scheduled for Nov. 9-10.

According to Stephen King, director of disability programs with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, adjusting attitudes through education goes a long way to helping wounded warriors gain employment and become a good fit for their organizations.

“We need to ensure managers and the work force in general is trained on employment of individuals with disabilities,” King said. “We can do that by making them aware of what individuals with disabilities, whether they have served or not, bring to the workplace. In the case of our wounded warriors, they bring integrity, they bring leadership skills, they know the culture, and they know how to get things done.”

King said while disabilities can be the most apparent thing in a wounded warrior, the “iceberg analogy” can illustrate how these people have much more to offer that isn’t readily apparent.

“When it comes to individuals with disabilities, you see about 10 percent of a person. You may see their wheelchair. You may see that they use crutches or canes, or a stick or some sort of mobility device. But if you can find a way to accommodate them, you can concentrate on their knowledge, their skills and everything else they have to offer,” King said.

He added while accommodation is usually simple and affordable, federal agencies have an advantage over civilian employers in that they can have such accommodations subsidized by the Office of the Secretary of Defense through the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP). TRICARE administers CAP, which covers all disabled federal government employees.

King said the Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference will be a valuable learning opportunity for federal and civilian employers who hire or want to hire wounded warriors.

“This will be information that will help our leaders and our hiring experts know what value wounded warriors bring to the workforce,” King said. “It will help them know how easy it is to hire individuals with disabilities and our wounded warriors through expedited hiring authorities, which quite frankly are underutilized. It will help them prepare the workplace through knowing what time of accommodation solutions are available, because quite frankly individuals with disabilities can do the same thing individuals without disabilities can do, they may just do it a little bit differently.”

Source: navy, November 08, 2011