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News Release

During inaugural meeting, members of Interagency Council on Veterans Employment agree to publish plan to increase hiring of veterans by federal agencies

WASHINGTON On Dec. 11, the Interagency Council on Veterans Employment held its first meeting to discuss ways of expanding the participation of veterans in the nation's federal workforce. The meeting was co-chaired by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, serves as the council's vice chair and chief operating officer.

The three officials were joined by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Commissioner Michael J. Astrue of the Social Security Administration, Director Arden L. Bement Jr. of the National Science Foundation and several other high-level representatives from agencies that together comprise 97 percent of the federal workforce. The council's goal is to transform the federal government into a model of veterans' employment.

A draft strategic plan was discussed, which the council agreed to publish in January 2010. Additionally, the council agreed to use the fiscal year 2008 Report on the Hiring of Veterans in the Federal Government as a baseline by which to measure progress. A veterans' employment office is required to be set up in most federal agencies by March 2010.

"At the U.S. Department of Labor, we are unwavering in our commitment to furthering the president's order to expand job opportunities for veterans in federal employment, and I am looking forward to working with Secretary Shinseki, Director Berry and our colleagues across the administration to make this initiative a success," said Secretary Solis.

"Veterans have shown their worth and value to our nation through their peerless leadership and dedication to nearly impossible tasks under the most austere of conditions," said Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. "We must create opportunity, and our efforts must be about recognition of their worth. This effort must be about preparing veterans for the next phase of their lives."

"We are excited to have this council operational so quickly. While we owe the men and women of our armed forces a debt we can never fully repay, one thing we can do is help them find work when they lay the uniform down. Keeping their skills and dedication in the federal family isn't just right," said Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry. "They are valued, experienced and trained, so it makes good business sense, as well. This initiative will build on the government's position as a leading employer of veterans."

The Interagency Council on Veterans Employment was established under President Obama's Executive Order on the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, which was signed into law on Nov. 9. The council's next meeting is scheduled for March 2010.

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Veterans' Employment and Training Service
December 14, 2009