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USDA, American Legion Team Up for Veteran Employment

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and American Legion National Commander Fang Wong today signed a memorandum of understanding that will help veterans and service members making the transition to civilian life find jobs that promote agriculture, animal and plant health, food safety, nutrition, conservation and rural communities.

With this partnership, officials said, USDA and the American Legion will leverage existing resources to expand opportunities for veterans while promoting USDA programs and services in communities throughout the country.

USDA and the American Legion have agreed to promote USDA vacancy announcements, share information about activities in newsletters, provide information about USDA programs and vacancies through established networks as well as on the Web, and promote veteran-owned business participation in USDA contracts.

In addition, officials said, USDA will provide information about the opportunities and support it offers so service members who want to start a rural business, farm or ranch are aware of the department’s programs, grants, loans and small business contracts.

President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, in November 2009. In response, USDA officials created the Veterans Employment Program Office.

Through strategic recruiting and effective marketing of USDA to transitioning service members and veterans, USDA increased the percentage of veterans in the total workforce, including permanent and temporary positions, from 5 percent in fiscal 2009, to 6 percent in fiscal 2010 and to nearly 8 percent in fiscal 2011, officials said. Disabled veterans, they added, receive special emphasis in hiring. USDA increased disabled veteran hiring from just over 1 percent of total persons hired in fiscal 2009 to nearly 2 percent in fiscal 2010 to more than 2 percent in fiscal 2011.

Additionally, USDA increased its hiring of veterans in the permanent workforce from 17.5 percent in fiscal 2009 to 20.3 percent in fiscal 2010 to 23.9 percent in fiscal 2011. Disabled veteran hiring for permanent positions also increased, from nearly 6 percent in fiscal 2009 to more than 7 percent in fiscal 2010 to more than 8 percent in fiscal 2011.

According to data from the National Finance Center’s Reporting Center, USDA’s rate of hiring veterans in the total workforce is 12.8 percent, and just over 5 percent for disabled veterans, as of Feb. 19. The rate of veterans hired in the permanent workforce is 25.6 percent -- 12.2 percent for disabled veterans.

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Biographies:
Tom Vilsack

Related Sites:
Department of Agriculture
The American Legion



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