Saturday, June 8, 2013

VETS 2 | Pru's Programs

Prudential Financial's table at a veterans' job fair,
New Yorker Hotel, May 23, 2013. Photo by JT Marlin.
A veteran's getting hired shouldn't be a problem in a country with 27.3 million firms, right?

Well, 21.4 million of these firms are sole proprietorships with no employees.

That leaves 5.9 million firms, of which only 109,000 have more than 100 employees and only about 18,000 have more than 500 employees.

But of these 18,000 firms, how many are really eager to hire veterans? Also, how many of these firms are really appropriate for veterans to head for in expectation of a job?

One indicator is whether a company shows up at a veterans' job fair. I recently visited one in New York City and found that Newark-based Prudential Financial (Pru) had a booth there, one of maybe 25 firms seeking veterans for their payrolls.

Military Times recently examined 1,000 American companies to determine their openness to hiring veterans and providing support for them when they are hired. The publication reported on the top 53 companies and ranked Pru #27 (

Pru attained this high ranking because it has launched a variety of veterans’ initiatives:

  • The VETalent work-study program for veterans, in partnership with the nonprofit Workforce Opportunity Services, 
  • VETnet, a network of veteran employees of Prudential who can provide one another with mutual support and speak with a unified voice to the rest of the company and the outside community.
  • Philanthropic grants to veterans service organizations.
  • Original research on Veterans’ Employment Challenges, available here - and previously written up at this Blogspot (click or scroll down).
The strength of the company's veterans’ initiatives reflects Pru's commitment in assigning two senior employees to work exclusively on veterans’ affairs: 

  • Ray Weeks, VP for Veterans Initiatives, who manages the company's internal veterans programs, and
  • Steve Robinson, VP for External Veterans Affairs, who works on veterans' issues with outside organizations.

Pru hires veterans both because it's the right thing to do for those who have served and because it makes business sense. When asked not long ago how hiring veterans helps Pru as a company, Robinson said:
Veterans typically are the kind of people who - if you give them a mission and help them understand their role in its success - will go off and accomplish it without much supervision. Veterans are dedicated and have a demonstrated ability to work in arduous environments and take on complex tasks. The data also show that vets typically work harder, longer, don’t take as many sick days, and have the demonstrated ability to inculcate themselves into the culture and improve systems. 
For more on Pru's veterans initiatives, visit

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