Site Selection magazine
twitter linkedIn facebook email email email
From Workforce 2024 Guide

The Benefits of the Valiant Veteran

Top U.S. companies look to harness the talent held by the country’s armed forces.

Military & Veterans
FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program is supported by teachings created at Columbia University.
Photo courtesy of Columbia University

by Alexis Elmore

he return home after serving in any branch of the nation’s armed forces should bring feelings of pride and comfort, worry and anguish about returning to civilian life.

As they begin to transition back into the country’s workforce, veterans are equipped with skills and knowledge that leading companies find of unmatched value. A few of the benefits include the ability to adapt, train, lead and problem solve with ease. 

What The Data Say

According to a Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the overall unemployment rate for veterans was 3.8%, higher than the nonveteran rate of 3.6% in 2022. In addition, BLS found that sectors veterans found the most success in were education, health services, construction, manufacturing, transportation and business services.

Moving forward, industries such as technology, biotechnology, IT and aerospace & defense have gained a lead in acquiring the veteran workforce, as Forbes found in its 2023 America’s Best Employers for Veteran’s rankings. A survey of 8,500 veterans showed that industry leaders like Google, Duke Energy and Lockheed Martin are bolstering their teams and offering relevant skills training to transitioning service members.

Nearshoring of operations has changed the landscape of workforce needs looking forward into the next decade, creating a beneficial two-way street for both employers and veterans as tax credits further incentivize the asset of this workforce. These hiring needs span nationwide, although data show that certain states seem to provide the ideal environment for veterans to set up shop.

In WalletHub’s “2023’s Best and Worst State’s for Military Retirees” report, based on the economic environment, quality of life and health care offerings, the top five states for veterans are Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Minnesota and Connecticut. All of these states support the leading industries looking to on-board service members and are well-suited to support a member’s family in the long run. Regardless of location, veterans are guaranteed to find services that help them gain the training or credentials needed to score a high-quality role.

Google’s Got Your Six

Forbes found that Google was the No. 5 top employer for veterans in 2023. 

According to Google Veteran Network Global Leader Mike Benedosso, the military community offers invaluable attributes such as teamwork, collaboration, grit, reliance and a diverse perspective. A U.S. Army veteran himself, Benedosso knows all too well the benefits of hiring service members that embody these attributes. 


Military Veterans AP-AdamBruns iMac (4)-2


“I joined the U.S. Army to be part of something bigger than myself, to tackle complex problems and to become a member of a tight-knit team working towards a common goal. When I left military service, one of my priorities was to find a mission-driven company with similar characteristics,” says Benedosso. “While little can match the camaraderie that I gained through my military service, I have been inspired by the community of Googlers who similarly aspire to work towards a common good while addressing some of the world’s most complex challenges.”

Most veterans would head to Google’s search engine to research what opportunities are available to them upon returning home, and that same tool can be used to land a role with the Fortune 500 company. 

Google offers a wide array of avenues for former service members to find the perfect role. This includes the recent implantation of its cloud-based platform Onward Ops, a partnership with the ETS Sponsorship Program that serves as a one-stop shop for tailored job training, trained sponsors, veterans benefits assistance and mental health resources.

In addition, Google invested $10 million in the Hiring Our Heroes Career Forward program, which offers free access to Google Career Certificates and the opportunity to move into a 12-week fellowship with companies like Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, Verizon and Google, to name a few of over 400 participating employers. Veterans can also take advantage of free programs like Google Cloud Days training, building skills in data analysis, IT support, cloud development and security engineering.

“Whether it’s by helping transitioning service members build a civilian career, supporting veterans as they work to expand their networks and build community outside of the military, or making it easier for military spouses or partners to succeed in their careers despite countless moves, I’m proud to be a part of a company that puts its honor for the military community into action,” says Benedosso.

FourBlock Removes Roadblocks

Beyond companies, there are a number of organizations around the nation that aim to help veterans transition as smoothly as possible. FourBlock is a New York-based non-profit organization that has been aiding the career transition of veterans nationwide for over 10 years.

“By connecting transitioning service members and veterans with a diverse network of corporate partners, coaches and mentors, and support services, we aim to ensure comprehensive support for their career transition so they may in turn contribute to their communities,” says FourBlock National Operations Director Queta Rodriguez.


Top Organizations for Veterans

Military Veterans AP-AdamBruns iMac (4)-2y


Each year FourBlock is able to help over 600 service members and their families access resources that build new skills and networking opportunities that land roles with an average starting salary of over $100,000. Resources like its Career Readiness Program connect veterans directly to a growing ecosystem of employers and curriculum curated by Columbia University, which partnered with the organization in 2012.

“Most veterans come to FourBlock’s Veteran Career Readiness Program with a very broad sense of the career path they are interested in, but often seek clarity on specific roles that best align with their skills and aspirations,” says Rodriguez. “Many are also undecided when they enter the program; for our most recent Fall 2023 program semester, nearly 20% of participants said they were undecided when asked to identify their career interest for their post-military career.”

The program’s one-one-one approach offers an individualized avenue to career planning and searching throughout its fall and spring semesters, with a goal of having job placements secured upon completion of the program. Results from 2023 program participants showed a 105% increase in veterans reporting that they were extremely confident of finding a post-military career, based on averages of 37% before completing the program to 76% upon completion.

 FourBlock worked with 108 companies during last year’s program, though overall its alumni have secured positions with over 500 companies in the U.S. such as PwC, T-Mobile, Boeing, ADP, USAA and Wells Fargo. These same companies often reinvest into the program. In April 2023, FourBlock received a $75,000 grant from USAA to work to expand the program’s capabilities, while Wells Fargo has donated over $170 million since 2012.

The organization additionally puts intentional focus on student veterans through its partnership with Student Veterans of America, which looks to target critical career fields facing a workforce shortage. 

“We are grateful to be in a position to contribute to this important effort,” said Student Veterans of America National President and CEO Jared Lyon. “Our organization is dedicated to supporting the academic and professional success of student veterans, and this partnership with FourBlock will allow us to reach even more veterans and make a meaningful impact on their lives.” 

For former service members, having this kind of support readily available upon their return home can offer a bit of peace as their lives find new purpose. With nationwide support from both major employers and organizations, feeling lost or alone in this new chapter is a less likely scenario. 

Alexis Elmore
Associate Editor of Site Selection magazine

Alexis Elmore

Alexis Elmore joined Conway Data in 2022 as associate editor for Site Selection. A 2021 graduate of the University of Georgia, she studied journalism and communications before moving back to Atlanta to pursue her career. As an editor for Site Selection and contributor to Conway's Custom Content guides, she writes about economic development efforts and corporate growth happening around the globe.


Site Selection online is a worldwide service of Conway Data, Inc. ©1983-2024, all rights reserved. Data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current. To unsubscribe from our print magazine, contact Julie Clarke. For general inquiries, visit our contact page. For technical inquiries contact the Webmaster.