Security firms and government program team up to hire veterans

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Saturday, October 1, 2005

NEW YORK--As more military veterans arrive stateside from duty tours, Hire Vets First, a national program funded by the government, campaigns for veterans to enter the workforce such as the security industry.
Veteran job placement is a priority for Ronald Tocci, commissioner of veteran affairs for the New York Department of Labor. In August, Tocci addressed attendees at the ISC East Conference and Tradeshow in New York about the effort. His presentation encouraged the security industry to hire veterans because they are trained in computers and robotics, as well as for the talent, dedication and the leadership they will bring to any firm.
Richard Cantor, chief executive officer at Amerigard, a systems integration company that offers security consulting, design and installation services for the tri-state area, and a veteran as well, understands the importance of supporting veterans by offering employment.
"People don't realize that the average veteran now is a 34-year-old and married with a family," Cantor said. "Many have left jobs with small companies, and those jobs are not available when they come back."
The Hire Vets First campaign, coordinated through the President's National Hire Veterans Committee, ensures that veterans are welcomed back into civilian life, including the job market. According to Michael Biddle, a spokesman for the Labor Department's Veteran's Employment and Training Service, there are approximately 13 million veterans in the labor force. The overall unemployment rate of veterans is very good and continues to improve, Biddle said. In the second quarter of 2005 the unemployment rate is down to 3.6 percent.
The program also helps firms recruit former military personnel. Amerigard submitted employment requests to Tocci to fill installation technician positions at the company. Canter participates in the program to show his company's patriotic support. However, he noticed that in recent years, it has been difficult to find qualified people to join the security industry.
"We are dying to get good personnel, so the veterans service program acts like a bridge," he said.
Tocci agreed the security industry is in need of trained people. "In the military, many have been trained in IT and computer training, so it's almost a natural fit," he said.