Many employers in the forest industry are looking for workers who can show up on time, follow procedures, and pass a drug screening test. At FRA’s Fall Board Meeting we heard from two speakers who made a case for finding these employees by seeking out veterans of the United States military.

In October, Lt. General Howard Bromberg (Retired) and Lieutenant Colonel Keith Wilson spoke to FRA’s Supplier-Consumer Relations Committee about the strengths and capabilities that veterans bring to the workforce, and how our industry can connect with this underutilized resource.

What I learned from their talk:

• Only about two in 10 high school graduates are qualified to join the armed forces. While this is a significant problem for the military, it also means that individuals leaving the service are a select set of individuals and part of a high-quality workforce.

• Veterans are a good fit for private sector employment not only because of their skill sets and training, but also because they are experienced leaders who have been provided the opportunity to build leadership and management skills.

• When you hire a military veteran, you get someone who:
o Has developed a habit of showing up on time
o Is used to high standards
o Is accustomed to responsibility and accountability
o Has a desire for self-improvement
o Is experienced working with a team
o Has passed drug tests – not only at the time of enlistment, but at random intervals throughout their service

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