The National Association of Broadcasters recently held its annual convention in Las Vegas. As part of the event, the trade group sponsored a seminar to advise employers about the value of hiring veterans.
The audience included many veterans as well as employers. Employers said they were eager to hire qualified candidates who had military backgrounds.
The keynote speaker was Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Flynn, who told the group that “There’s a set of values in the military that one does not find in a lot of civilian life.”
He stressed what he said was a fact that most veterans who take civilian positions are loyal employees who know how to follow instructions and who see a job through to the end.
Of special interest in his presentation, he said that he has been working with select members of Congress to make a major change in the current G.I. Bill.
Although many former servicemen and women use their benefits for education, he would like Washington to allow the money to be used instead by veterans to start businesses.
He said that post-WWII, 49 percent of veterans started their own businesses, and “many are still around today.” But he reported that today, less than 69 percent of veterans start their own enterprises.
He wants to “re-engineer” the G.I. Bill so that in place of education, qualified veterans can use the available funds to begin their own companies.
Although there are no Nevada legislators involved at this time, he named several leaders he is working with to make the change happen, including Congressmen and Senators.
Two of the most prominent are Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-SC., (Graham served on active duty and is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves); and Rep. Mike McCaul, R-TX. Flynn said he expects Congress to approve the change.
Another speaker was Tony Forbes, director for Outreach and Engagements for the the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. He told the group about the local Nevada PBS station that has a program in place that helps transition veterans to civilian life.
He also suggested that employers ask themselves two questions about their companies — “Are you veteran friendly? And are you veteran ready?” He said some firms initially assign individuals to work with recently hired veterans in their organizations.
During the Q&A portion, audience member Bill Deutch of Linear Media, Inc. reported that he produces a syndicated television program entitled “Hiring America” which he said is a show dedicated to finding jobs for veterans.
Currently in 80 markets and on the Armed Forces Network, it has yet to find a home in Nevada, but Deutch said he has been contacting local stations in hopes of being on the air here.
Separately, the Department of Veterans Affairs reports there are 22 million U.S. veterans, including 2 million female veterans. Both Flynn and Deutch were asked if there are outreach programs for older veterans who often find it difficult to compete against younger counterparts.
They both said that their various efforts include veterans of all ages. An NAB spokesman pointed out that veterans (and others) seeking careers in broadcasting should start out by going to the organization’s website, BroadcastCareerLink.com.
The NAB had an additional program for the military, entitled “Today’s Media Technologies for Military and Government Workshop.” Guest speakers demonstrated how integration of government and commercial technologies “jump the line” to advance both sectors through sessions, expert panel discussions and hands-on tutorials focusing on digital asset management.
One specific topic was how to secure sensitive products from both internal and external security threats.
The topic was of extreme interest given today’s cyber attacks against government and individuals.
Chuck N. Baker is a veteran and reporter.