Letter to Editor: On Veteran’s Day: Give thanks – and jobs!

To the Editor,

I enlisted in the United States Army in 1998 when I was 24 years old. I had just completed my college education, and it was time to decide what was next. Joining the Army was the best option for me, for a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to follow in the proud footsteps of my father, uncle and cousins. Every veteran has a different reason for enlisting. For me, it was the future. I thought ahead to my life after the military and the skills I wanted to learn that would be most transferable in the civilian world.

I left the Army with a great sense of pride and a whole new set of skills, that led me to a career at Comcast. Two years ago, I became one of thousands of members of the military community hired by Comcast since 2015 as part of a company-wide commitment to hire 21,000 veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and military spouses by 2021. A lot of companies say they’re military friendly, but Comcast has proven it.

I can attest that it’s not about checking a box. From hiring and recruitment, to support throughout their career journey within the company, Comcast is providing veterans and their families with important tools and resources to be successful. Just one of those resources that I appreciate is the Veterans Network Employee Resource Group, which is dedicated to creating a community for Comcast employees who are part of the military community through professional development, community service and mentorship. For its dedication to supporting the military, as well as many other reasons, I am proud to call Comcast my employer.

In my role, managing two Comcast customer service centers in New Jersey, the skills I gained from the Army – including loyalty, leadership, a commitment to excellence and understanding the importance of teamwork – are all skills that I apply every day. They are what make me successful.

I am fortunate that I had people around to encourage and point me in the right direction because transitioning to civilian life is not easy. To any veteran out there struggling to find employment: Don’t give up. Find your county Veterans Affairs representative – it’s their job to help; take advantage of any available resources; attend military hiring events; ask your network. Just please don’t give up.

Veterans have done so much for our country. Thankfully, there are companies – like Comcast – who recognize the value that military employees bring to the business. I encourage local employers out there to look at your workforce and ask yourself, “Am I doing enough to hire and support veterans?” If you do, you won’t just be giving back, you’ll get well-rounded, highly skilled employees… and that is good for business.

I’ve learned that there is also plenty of advice out there for businesses on how to extend recruiting efforts to attract veterans, including HiringOurHeroes.org.
On this Veterans Day, let’s all pause, reflect and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. But don’t forget to take a moment to thank veterans that are still with us, who took up defense so we can enjoy our freedoms. And if you are in a position to actively recruit veterans when hiring and consider how a veteran’s skillset can translate into the civilian world, I hope you will consider that, too.

Ron Nelson