Each of the past three years, King County has met its goal of hiring 16 veteran fellows as part of the Vets 4 HIRE program. Funding is available to hire 16 more this year, but we need the help of hiring managers.
What began as King County’s Heroes Employment Reintegration Opportunity (HERO) Program five years ago has developed into the Vets 4 HIRE (Heroes in Reintegration Experiences) Program, a paid fellowship/internship for qualified veterans funded in part by the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy.
While the success of any program of this type depends on the quality of the candidates, success also relies on those County supervisors who engage with this unique pool of talent. With the approval of funding through 2023, there are opportunities for King County supervisors to bring veteran talent onto their teams – adding value to not only their teams, but to the County and the residents we serve.
“We created the Vets 4 HIRE Program to support veterans in making a successful transition from military to civilian employment, and to provide a pipeline of skilled veteran talent for positions within King County,” said Susan Navetski, King County Vets 4 HIRE Program Manager. “We believe their talent, experiences and perspectives can support us in achieving our best-run-government goal.”
“Veterans bring a different perspective,” said Zlata Kauzlaric, IT Governance Manager for King County’s CIO. “They bring discipline, reliability, organizational skills, and a sense of service. They are happy for the opportunity, they are committed to learn, and they bring an attitude that ‘nothing is impossible.’” Zlata has hired four veteran fellows over the past three years, two moved on to regular positions within the County, one relocated to the East Coast to accept a position elsewhere, and one is currently participating in the fellowship program.
So far, 54 veterans have participated in the program, and 37 King County supervisors have enjoyed the benefits.
Supervisors can work with their department HR staff to create opportunities for veterans to contribute to their teams, review and select from existing veteran candidate pools, or post those opportunities on the County’s career site. Veterans hired into these learning experiences are paid at similar rates as student interns.
The program helps support six-month, full- or part-time, paid learning experiences, and enables agencies to extend their veteran’s experience for a total of 2,080 hours. For those veterans who are residents of King County, half of the first six month’s salary – up to $6,250 – is reimbursed by the Levy.
There are currently three job postings for veteran fellowships with the County:
- Department of Transportation – Airport Division is seeking a Construction Management Veteran Fellow and a Lean Program Management Veteran Fellow.
- Metro is seeking a Veteran Fellow or Student Intern at Metro Transit.
Hiring managers are encouraged to consider how the Vets 4 HIRE program can add value to your teams.