Strengthening the
Health Care Workforce


Strategies for Now, Near and Far

Section 4  |  Expanding the Reach

Recruitment: An Opportunity to Hire Veterans

As organizations rethink their approaches to recruitment and retention, consider the value military veterans bring. They contribute both clinical skills and leadership experience, both critical as hospitals pursue new care models. Veterans are:

  • Proactive, committed leaders who can translate work and tasks to outcomes.
  • Mission-driven.
  • Financial managers, familiar with financial constraints and using all possible resources to capacity.
  • Mentors.
  • Adaptable and able to work under crisis conditions. They have mastered the art of disaster readiness.
  • Experts in emergency service delivery in under-resourced environments — an invaluable resource for rural and critical access hospitals.
  • Innovative.
  • Problem solvers and strategic thinkers.
  • Team-trained leaders. They enter civilian workplaces having worked in teams throughout their entire military service.

In short, veterans are a great fit for health care. Explore possible partnerships with local military base leaders and veterans’ groups. Working together, we can identify opportunities for qualified personnel separating from the armed forces as well as veterans to bring their enhanced skills to the health care workplace.


Top Takeaways for CEOs

1 Veterans bring great value to health care jobs and are an often overlooked pool of qualified workers.

2 Be proactive. Identify possible partner organizations and military programs with whom you can partner. You don’t have to start from scratch to recruit and support them

3 Commit to providing resources for veterans to succeed: onboarding support, on-the-job training, mentors and professional development opportunities.

  • For those hospitals and health systems that want to hire veterans but are unsure of where to start, there are several steps to identify the right path:

    • Understand what transition assistance is offered by the Department of Defense and local veteran groups.
    • Military members are offered a transition curriculum through the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program. Individual service branches also have programming (noted below).
    • Reach out to local National Guard Bases or Reserve Posts to be part of existing recruiting fairs. Additionally, many military installations have active job fairs and job posting websites that could be helpful in reaching veterans.
    • By identifying and connecting with leaders in the appropriate programs for your area, your recruiting team can map out the best ways to connect with candidates.
    • Resources
      Individual branches of the military have developed programs to help active military transition to civilian careers: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard
      Pennsylvania Military Occupational Crosswalk
      Pennsylvania has launched a military occupational crosswalk to help veterans and service members translate their work experience to civilian jobs in the commonwealth, including in health care. The crosswalk was created under Act 35 of 2022 to remove barriers to professional licensing and employment for military applicants. It includes related documents under the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine and the State Board of Medicine, comparing the licensing requirements with the typical duties, training, qualifications, and related credentials associated with military occupations.

    If your organization is near an active military bases or in an area with large numbers of veterans, identify human resources personnel with military understanding to lead programs aimed at recruiting veterans. This can help bridge gaps between military and civilian processes, terms and expectations. In addition, identifying a team member to serve as liaison and onboarding support will can ease transitions.

  • Support for hiring veterans must start at the top. C-suite commitment to allocate resources for needed connections and ongoing training and onboarding support is essential. Identify immediate and longer term job classes and recruitment needs. Consider whether on-the-job training or apprenticeship opportunities to help active-duty military transition their skills are available.

    Be proactive. Identify possible partner organizations and military programs and reach out. Identify opportunities to attend and present at veteran recruiting events and consider engaging with groups such as the SkillBridge program to provide a pathway and become known as an employer of veterans.

      Military Recruitment | HonorHealth
      The SkillBridge program allows HonorHealth to offer service members valuable civilian work experience to acquire employment skills, knowledge and abilities to assist with job opportunities in the civilian sector with the high probability of post-service employment being offered at the end of the internship.
      Mayo Clinic SkillBridge Program
      Mayo Clinic, in partnership with U.S. Department of Defense, provides SkillBridge internship opportunities for military service members transitioning from military service to civilian employment.
  • As you create or enhance an existing program to hire veterans, keep in mind the unique challenges they may face in shifting from military to civilian workforce. For example, terminology and skill set descriptions may differ and titles will likely not be comparable. Offering opportunities for mentors or sponsors for new veterans in their roles, along with an employee resource group or other means to connect with other veterans working in health care and related fields can provide needed mutual support and foster success. Your community may have existing programs with whom you can partner.

    As mentioned earlier, identifying veterans on the team who can serve as sponsors or mentors will be invaluable in smoothing transitions, along with opportunities for on-the-job training as well as creating affinity or employee resource groups.

    Prepare Human Resources team members with information about education bridge programs for veterans seeking to advance professionally.

    Below is a short list of community organizations (local, state-based, national) that serve veteran and veteran family needs and should be on every hospital and health system’s list of possible partners.

      American Legion
      Focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities, The American Legion has about 2.4 million members and 14,000 posts worldwide. To find a local post, click on the “Find a Post” button on the top right corner of the website
      Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring Our Heroes program
      Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) connects the military community—service members, military spouses, and veterans — with American businesses to create economic opportunity and a strong and diversified workforce.
      National Resource Directory
      The National Resource Directory (NRD) is a partnership among the DoD, Department of Labor and Veterans Affairs. NRD information is from federal, state and local government agencies; veteran and military service organizations; non-profit and community-based organizations; academic institutions and professional associations that provide assistance to wounded warriors and their families.
      Unite US
      Unite US is a free platform connecting current military service members, veterans and their families to transformative resources and opportunities in their local communities. These opportunities include networking outlets with veterans’ organizations, peers and civilian supporters. With its interactive, proximity-mapping technology, Unite US members and organizations are able to capitalize on assets within their immediate and national community and nurture seamless solutions for current and former military service members.
    • Amazon Military Talent Recruiting
      Amazon has been very successful in hiring and retaining veteran employees.
    • Home Depot Path To Pro Program
      The Home Depot and The Home Depot Foundation are committed to educating more people in the skilled trades and helping them find careers in the home improvement industry.
    • Boots2Roots
      Maine’s Boots2Roots program assists active-duty military members, Veterans and spouses to find meaningful work in Maine, including within the health care sector.