Government hiring of vets is on the rise, report finds

Numbers mark progress on a 2009 initiative to bring more veterans returning from Iraq and other conflicts into the federal workforce. Numbers mark progress on a 2009 initiative to bring more veterans returning from Iraq and other conflicts into the federal workforce. Defense Department
Despite a decrease in overall hiring, the federal government brought on more veterans in fiscal 2010 than in fiscal 2009, according to a report released Wednesday by the Office of Personnel Management.

The number of veterans hired rose by about 2,000 to 72,133 in fiscal 2010, OPM said. Veterans also accounted for a higher percentage of new hires, the personnel agency said, rising 1.6 percentage points from 24 percent of new employees in fiscal 2009 to 25.6 percent in fiscal 2010.

OPM emphasized increased hiring of disabled veterans, noting the percentage brought on grew 1.2 points, from 7 percent of new hires in fiscal 2009 to 8.2 percent the following year.

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments saw the most new veterans hired, while the Transportation Department had the highest percentage point increase, going from 25.4 percent to 30.1 percent. Most agencies saw small increases, but the Commerce and Energy departments and the General Services Administration hired fewer veterans. While OPM itself hired more veterans than it did during the previous year, veterans as a percentage of new employees decreased by 0.5 percentage points from 27.3 percent to 26.8 percent.

This is the first report on veterans' employment data since President Obama issued an executive order in November 2009 to make hiring veterans a priority. The order created Veterans Employment Program offices in federal agencies, to guide veterans through the job application process and help them adjust to life as civilian employees once hired. Additionally, the order established a Council on Veterans Employment.

OPM called the increase a success but stressed that more work remains.

"The Veterans Employment Initiative is off to a strong start, but this is only the beginning," OPM Director John Berry wrote in an introduction to the report. "We must work even harder in the months and years to come."

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