ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ) – Monday, July 25 marks National Hire a Veteran Day, which encourages veterans to apply to regular positions and employers to hire a veteran.

The Hire a Veteran holiday was created in 2017 by Marine Corps Veteran and Hire Our Heroes founder Dan Caporale as a call to action. It aims to recognize the unique skills that veterans can offer.

The Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 250,000 service members transition to civilian life annually. Interim Associate Director at James Van Zandt VA Medical Center Shaun Shenk said veterans’ main challenge is translating skills to regular jobs.

“One of the big challenges that we hear from our veterans when they are applying for jobs is that it’s extremely difficult for them to transition with the military skills set to words that the civilian side can interpret and understand what they bring to their company,” Shenk said.

Shenk said that decades of research found that veterans are some of the better employees to hire. Examples include their ability to work in a team, higher retention, and dedication to completing a job.

Attorneys, healthcare professionals, and diesel mechanics are just some of the positions that veterans do while in service. But it’s common for veterans to make their way to trade jobs.

“They are more likely to stick around. Their retention rate is much higher,” Shenk said. “They promote quicker and are more productive. What we do is we encourage employers to hire those veterans, but at the same time, we encourage veterans to link with the VA to get benefits.”

However, Shenk recommends that veterans needing assistance contact the Veteran Affairs office or visit their local CareerLink. The VA offers multiple benefits to help get veterans off their feet.

One program is the Transition Assistance Program which provides information, tools, and training to members and their spouses for a smooth transition to civilian life.

In addition, the VA has an employee who helps veterans get jobs and connect them to employers. Veterans interested in federal positions have resources to help them navigate the application system.

“It’s extremely important for when our veterans transition from active duty into the civilian population that they’re awarded opportunities where they can still contribute to the community but also contribute to many companies that are looking for well-qualified people,” Shenk said.

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If any veteran has difficulty finding a job, contact the Veteran Affairs office.