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Federal Hiring Of Nation's Military Veterans Increases

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2004 – Hiring of military veterans across the federal civilian work force increased in fiscal 2002, the government's director of personnel recently reported.

In fact, hiring of veterans in the federal work force was up more than 19 percent over the previous fiscal year, Kay Coles James, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, noted in her agency's most recent annual report to Congress, dated Sept. 30.

In a Jan. 5 OPM news release, James asserted that the employment of veterans within the federal government and in private industry is appropriate, because "the many freedoms we enjoy as a nation did not come freely. They were earned through the lives and selfless sacrifices of our veterans."

According to the OPM report, 47,510 veterans were hired government-wide in fiscal 2002, compared to 39,874 hired the year before, representing a 19.2 percent increase.

About one out of 10 veterans hired in government during fiscal 2002 worked in professional occupations, the report noted, while 25.8 percent of new veteran hires worked in administrative jobs and 19 percent took blue-collar jobs.

The OPM report noted that the percentage of disabled veterans in the federal civilian work force was 4.5 percent in fiscal 2002, a drop of 0.1 percent from the previous year. However, the percentage of veterans in the federal work force with 30 percent or more disability in fiscal 2002 was up 1.9 percent over the previous year.

The Defense Department hired 21,657 veterans in fiscal 2002, representing 45.6 percent of all new veteran hires across the federal government that year, according to the OPM report. Non-DoD federal organizations with the highest percentages of all new veteran hires in fiscal 2002 included the Veterans Affairs Department with 23.5 percent, and the Justice Department with 19.7 percent.

In OPM's fiscal 2002 congressional report, James said she was proud of federal agencies' efforts in hiring veterans.

"With our military actively engaged in the fight against terrorism, we must not falter in our commitment to the employment of these dedicated Americans," James declared.

"Nor can we forget," she continued, "that disabled veterans are heroes who have paid a price so dear that it will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

The federal government employed 450,100 veterans during fiscal 2002, according to the OPM report.

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Office of Personnel Management
Kay Coles James

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