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Running head: VETERANS 2
Veteran’s Certifications Project: Project Requirements Document
Background information: Since the terrorist attacks on the Twin towers in NYC
on September 11, 2001, the United States has been at war, with almost two million troops
cumulatively deployed by the Army alone prior to 2012, and in each of the intervening
years, roughly 13 percent of regular Army soldiers and 15 percent Reserves and National
Guard have left the service to return to the civilian world (O’Connell, Wenger, &
Hansen, 2014). Unemployment statistics for these veterans have been consistently and
significantly higher than those of their civilian counterparts, up to 29 percent unemployed
for those veterans 18-24 years old in 2011 (Loughran, 2014). Strangely, these veterans
have received a wide scope of training that should provide them with a significant
advantage in terms of employment in comparison with their civilian counterparts, but this
is clearly not the case. Thus, the purpose of this project is to examine the causes and
provide a viable solution that will reduce these unemployment numbers to a level at least
consistent with that of the civilian population.
The problem: The United States government and people owe a huge debt of
gratitude to all veterans, and finding some means of transitioning these veterans back into
the civilian workforce in an efficient and effective manner is a necessary obligation for
the government as part of its responsibility towards them, and towards the American
people as a whole. Numerous reports indicate that one of the primary causes for veteran
unemployment is a lack of civilian certifications, regardless of the fact that there are often
very close similarities between the jobs veterans do in the service, and jobs on the civilian
market. Thus, it is conceivable that a suitable program to document, validate and certify
Running head: VETERANS 3
these skills in a manner that is translatable to civilian Human Resource offices could have
immediate benefits in terms of enhancing veteran employability.
Impacts of the problem: Veteran unemployment is not just shameful, but
expensive to the taxpayers as well. Each veteran on discharge from the service is
immediately eligible for unemployment benefits and food stamps too. Many veterans
that seek ‘civilian-recognized’ certifications, spend thousands of Dollars on unnecessary
or largely repetitive education paid for by the Montgomery GI Bill (Nunez, 2014). Many
of these veterans return to their homes where they become a financial burden on the
homeowners (parents or other family) until such time as they can become employed, and
at the same time, American businesses are deprived of the immediate commercial
benefits offered by the skills and talents of these veterans, likewise obtained at significant
taxpayer expense (Harrell & Berglass, 2012). Further, unemployed veterans are subject
to substance abuse and health issues not seen in the general population that likewise can
and has become a public expense (Hoffer, Dekle & Sheets, 2014).
Impact of ignoring the problem: Troop drawdowns are now occurring in all of
the military services, as part of lessening military requirements in the Middle East. As a
result, There is an increasing ‘flush’ of newly discharged veterans arriving that is
expected to last for another three years, thus aggravating an already very expensive
problem by a factor of two.
Voice of the Customer Analysis: Numerous reports by a wide variety of sources
have documented the problems associated with veteran unemployment, and many, if not
all have specifically indicated that a lack of certifications as a primary cause, though no
‘solutions’ have been offered. Time Magazine documented that “today’s business leaders
Running head: VETERANS 4
don’t understand the value that veterans bring to the table,” and more specifically blames
this on the fact that current business leaders represent one of the first generations that
largely didn’t serve in the military, which means they do not understand how military
skills translate to increasing their own business profits (Tarantino, 2013). Further, a
study done by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) highlighted that while
many businesses would like to hire veterans for patriotic reasons, they are unable to make
an appropriate ‘business case’ for doing so because of their unfamiliarity with skill
translation (Harrell & Berglass, 2012). A further report highlighted the problem and
expense of obtaining largely redundant certifications where a transitioning U.S. Army
medic, having been trained in all aspects by the Army and in the field in all of the tasks of
a paramedic, must attend a year-long civilian course that can cost up to $10,000 in order
to be certified as such for civilian employment (Nunez, 2014). Clearly, the military and
the civilian world of Human Resources are not communicating effectively.
Strategic alignment: Given the fact of reducing military budgets, combined with
the need to reduce unemployment costs associated with transitioning military veterans
(nearly $1 billion a year on veteran’s unemployment checks alone) and the business
needs of American companies of all kinds in an ever-more competitive marketplace make
the viable translation of military skills to the commercial environment one of the most
effective cost savings and profit producing projects imaginable.
Key assumptions: Veterans that have been employed in the civilian world have
been repeatedly recognized by their employers for a wide variety of desirable
characteristics not generally noted in their civilian counterparts (Harrell & Berglass,
2012). Quantifying these qualities in terms of business profitability should provide a
Running head: VETERANS 5
convincing argument for business managers to retrain their Human Resources/hiring
departments to not only cooperate and participate in a government-sponsored veterans
certification program, but also adjust their own hiring logarithms and Internet hiring
‘bots’ to account for these certifications. Likewise, the academic world of colleges,
universities and technical training schools will also wish to assist in the accreditation of
these certifications, in order to streamline their own student flow to successful
graduation. Finally, the Federal government and Department of Defense in particular
should be extremely interested in coordinating and orchestrating the certification and
accreditation process as well in order to reap the benefits of reduced expenditures both
now and in the foreseeable future. Thus, and in accordance with the methodologies
provided, described and taught in our text, it is my intention to bring this project forward,
not only through this course, but also for my remaining courses so that it can be brought
to the direct attention of the Senate Armed Services Committee as an actionable solution
to an ever-increasing problem (Heerkens, 2002).
Running head: VETERANS 6
Harrell, C. & Berglass, N. (2012). Employing America’s Veterans: Perspectives From
Businesses. Center for a New American Security. Retrieved from
Heerkens, G. R. (2002). Manager’s Guide to Project Management.
McGraw-Hill Companies; ; ISBN 978-0-07-137952-6.
Hoffer, E. F., Dekle, J. W. & Sheets, C. (2014). Social Work with Service Members,
Veterans, and their Families. Health & Social Work. February 2014, Vol. 39
Issue 1. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.proxy-
Loughran, D. S. (2014). Why is Veteran Unemployment so High? RAND National
Defense Research Institute. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/
Nunez, E. (2014). Dissecting Veteran unemployment in the United States. Classy
Awards Collaborative Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.classyawards.org/
O’Connell, C., Wenger, J. W., Hansen, M. L. (2014). Measuring and retaining the US
Army’s Deployment Experience. RAND Corporation. Santa Monica CA.
Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports
Tarantino, T. (2013). The Ground truth on Veteran’s Unemployment. Time Magazine,
Running head: VETERANS 7
March 22, 2013. Retrieved from http://nation.time.com/2013/03/22/the-ground-
Whittaker, J. (2011). Unemployment compensation (insurance) and military service.
Congressional Research Service. Washington DC. Retrieved from