TAMPA, Fla. - Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) hosted the Sixth Annual Navy Veteran and Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Summit this week in Tampa, Florida, with government and private companies set to offer positions to job-seeking veterans and spouses.
Since the first Navy-wide conference in 2009, NAVSEA's Veteran and Wounded Warrior office is now closing in on nearly 4,000 hires.
"We set hiring goals each year," said Capt. Ann Duff who leads NAVSEA's Veteran and Wounded Warrior effort. "And we've been really successful in aligning our efforts to these goals and not only meeting them, but surpassing them."
In fact, with the exception of the 2013 hiring freeze under sequestration, the office exceeded each of its goals. NAVSEA leads the Navy hiring of Wounded Warriors and, according to Duff, used this as a part of their hiring goal this year.
"We set out to hire 432 this year," said Duff. "It's kind of a countdown or a cheer, 4-3-2, because we're number one."
Duff said NAVSEA already exceeded this number and hopes other federal and private organizations are able to put the talents of these men and women to work in the today's professional workforce.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Commander Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, opened the conference yesterday, as the NAVSEA host, with a message to potential employers to use the conference as an opportunity to network, ask questions, and to overcome some of the misunderstandings associated with hiring veterans and Wounded Warriors.
"At NAVSEA, we have the same culture and the same goals as those who have served, and I think that's why we've been so successful, not just in hiring, but in retaining them. We understand, but we need to teach others to understand what it was like to serve."
Selby said with a hiring retention rate at 92 percent, he believes those who have served belong to a different set of employees, those employees who raised their hand to serve their country and who want to continue that service.
"At NAVSEA we have a secret weapon," said Selby. "And it's not our high-tech weapons and ships. It's the men and women we hire who come to work every day and make our mission possible. So as you're here today and asking questions, you need to ask yourselves, how does it work for your organization? We're here to share our lessons."
For NAVSEA's Director of Corporate Operations, Bill Carty, the summit has a dual opportunity. Carty oversees the ongoing operations across the NAVSEA enterprise that has hiring goals of thousands of new employees annually, and this summit offers an opportunity to bring new, motivated employees into the organization, but it's also more than that.
"These employees are directly aligned with the type of people we need to support the goals and missions of our organization," said Carty. "This is an opportunity to focus on some of the misunderstandings that surround hiring Wounded Warriors. I've heard it said that some of our people might shy away from hiring them, thinking they're not really getting the 'full-up round' they might expect from a new employee, but I'm here to say that when they make that hiring decision, they're actually getting more than they expect with the veteran's background, training and motivation."
Navy Veteran & Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Summit rotates locations each year to areas of high veteran concentration and has been hosted in Washington, DC; San Diego,; Raleigh, North Carolina; and San Antonio, Texas. Planning for next year's summit is currently underway.
For more information on hiring Wounded Warriors, contact NAVSEA's Veteran and Wounded Warrior office at: NSSC_WWarriorhiring@navy.mil or (202) 781-1431.