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Great Jobs for Hampton Roads Military Veterans


Public and private-sector efforts to recruit and employ veterans have paid major dividends in lowering the unemployment rate for veterans.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016 that of the approximately 21.2 million men and women with military experience, an unemployment rate that hovered near 10 percent just seven years ago has cut almost in half.

The Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act, signed in 2011, was designed for the Department of Labor to match veterans with career paths based on their responsibilities while in service. Meanwhile, private-sector companies like Combined Insurance launched their own hiring initiatives around the same time.

The Glenview, Illinois-based Combined Insurance has hired 2,500 veterans since 2010, with the goal of adding 3,000 more by the end of 2018.

Bob Wiedower is Combined Insurance's Vice President of Sales Development and Military Programs, and himself a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He has a unique, dual perspective on the significance of veterans in the workplace.

One area in which Wiedower cites the value of military training when it applies to careers in sales.

"You have to be able to build rapport," he said. "You need able to discern client needs, and apply solutions to their needs."

It's no wonder, then, that Sales Manager is one of the top positions employers seek in the CareerCast Veteran database.

The problem-solving and relationship-building qualities Wiedower pointed to also translate to careers in Operations Research Analysis. This high-growth field helps shape the direction of a company based on best practices and input from all levels and departments.

Oldcastle, Inc., a products and materials operation with 40,000 employees across the United States, implemented a Military Skills Translator in 2016 to match veteran job seekers with open positions. It values the same qualities of team and relationship dynamics that veterans bring to the workforce.

"Oldcastle is a huge company with thousands of locations and many companies under the Oldcastle umbrella name. Many of these companies go back decades and have an entrepreneurial mindset in how they are managed and operated," said Oldcastle Director of Human Resources Cindy Reeves. "This decentralized company structure, family 'feel' and team environment is one which can be very appealing to a transitioning veteran."

Such efforts show the importance American employers place on hiring veterans. Specific skills gained during military service are in high-demand, including some of the best opportunities has identified from its Jobs Rated report.

To Read the full article and view the 8 best jobs for veterans visit's 2017 Jobs Rated report:

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