WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Veteran Jobs Mission (VJM), a coalition of largely Fortune 500 companies representing nearly every sector in the U.S. economy, today announces the creation of a new advisory board to provide strategic direction and oversight of the organization as it continues to expand its commitment to support economic opportunities for veterans and military spouses. Composed of 12 elected board members, a senior advisor and a board chair, the inaugural VJM Advisory Board is set to meet for the first time today in Washington D.C.
Since its founding in 2011, the VJM’s membership has grown to include more than 300 companies representing various industries across the United States with over 900,000 veteran and military spouse hires reported. In 2022, the coalition increased its goal of hiring two million veterans and 200,000 military spouses over the next decade.
“The military community brings immense value, diverse talent and robust skills into their next careers whether it be leadership, problem solving, teamwork, resilience and so much more,” said Mark Elliott, Veteran Jobs Mission Advisory Board Chair and Global Head of Military and Veterans Affairs at JPMorgan Chase, a founding member of the Veteran Jobs Mission. “With over 200,000 service members predicted to separate from the military each year, this presents a unique opportunity for the VJM to continue to evolve and position itself as the leader in shaping the initiatives of the future that support veterans, guard and reserve members, and military spouses.”
Initiatives and programs to support veteran hiring are helping, according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Defense. The unemployment rate among veterans was just 2.2% in April 2023, compared to 3.4% for nonveterans. However, much work still remains to be done as issues surrounding retention and underemployment continue to impact both veterans and military spouses. Veterans still only represent about 5.4% of the civilian labor force, and for military spouses, the unemployment rate is around 21%.
With the new advisory board, the VJM will now have a strong governance structure in place to help further its mission of supporting military families by addressing the existing barriers to veteran and military spouse employment. Led by a diverse group of corporate leaders with backgrounds in military and veteran affairs, human resources, and diversity, equity and inclusion, members of the VJM Advisory Board bring a variety of experience, expertise and perspective.
Advisory board members include:
- Mark Elliott (VJM Advisory Board Chair), Managing Director and Global Head of Military & Veterans Affairs, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Alex Gorsky (VJM Senior Advisor), Board of Directors for JPMorgan Chase & Co. and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson
- Eric Airola, Sr. Manager, Military Relations & Inclusion Strategy at J.B. Hunt
- Edward Carr, Senior Director, Military & Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal
- Karin Childress, Vice President Technologies, Executive Director Veteran Center of Excellence at Randstad
- Omari Faulkner, Military & Veterans Ambassador at ManTech
- Beau Higgins, Vice President at Oplign
- Tommy Jones, Associate Director at Verizon
- Shalin Kothari, Vice President of HR Strategy and DEI at Schneider Electric NAM
- Marcus “Ohley” Ohlenforst, Lead Military Talent Strategist for the HR Chief of Staff Office at USAA
- Sean Passmore, Senior Vice President, Head of Enterprise Military and Veteran Initiatives at Wells Fargo and Company
- John Perez, Head of Military & Veterans Affairs at Johnson & Johnson
- Michael Piper, Lead of Military Recruiting and Engagement at Lowe’s Companies Inc.
- Ernie Reyes, Global Procurement Manager of Earthmoving Division, Global Chairman of the Armed Forces Support Network at Caterpillar Inc.
“The VJM will continue to be a best-in-class organization that provides opportunities for member companies to network, share best practices, participate in advocacy discussions, and make a positive impact,” said Tommy Jones, Veteran Jobs Mission Advisory Board Member and Associate Director, Talent Acquisition, Verizon. “One of the top priorities is to get more companies engaged in the work that we’re doing to increase hiring and career development opportunities for veterans and military spouses, who are so vital to our nation’s communities and economy.”
Veteran Jobs Mission companies commit to reporting their veteran and military spouse hires on a quarterly basis and advancing their veteran and military spouse employment initiatives with the support from their fellow coalition members. Learn more at veteranjobsmission.com.
About the Veteran Jobs Mission
Launched in 2011 as the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the Veteran Jobs Mission brings together companies committed to hiring U.S. military veterans and military spouses. More than 300 companies have joined and collectively hired over 900,000 U.S. military veterans and military spouses. The private sector organizations are continuing to increase their focus on retention and career development. This includes supporting veterans and military spouses as they adapt to the workplace by establishing sponsorship and on-boarding training programs, as well as industry-based coalition subgroups to increase collaboration among members. Visit veteranjobsmission.com.