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Graphic for the Veterans Crisis Line. It reads Veterans Cris Lins 1 800 273 8255 press 1

Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Remarks by Former Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould

Press Conference on Executive Order #443658 on Hiring Veterans
Washington, DC
November 12, 2009

Hardly a day goes by that we Americans aren’t reminded of the debt we owe the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces. For some, that debt can never be repaid, which makes it all the more important that we honor those who are still living. The executive order signed Monday evening does that in a very meaningful way, with something as powerful, as practical, and as rewarding as a good job in the public service.

But this executive order does more than honor Veterans—it’s also good for government. Veterans have seen the alternatives to our way of life and appreciate our blessings in ways some may take for granted. They are mature beyond their years and eager to live productive, meaningful lives. They are accustomed to working hard and making a difference. They know how to work as a team with others from diverse backgrounds. And they know how to plan, manage, and prioritize tasks to accomplish a mission. We have invested extensively in their training and professional development. Their hard-won experience makes them better citizens and valuable employees.

At VA, we want to compete for our fair share of this great Veteran talent pool. They provide valuable insight into Veterans issues because they have lived it—as well as much needed leadership in the ongoing transformation of VA.

Across government, we intend to work together to make Veterans aware of job opportunities, help government translate their rich military experience into government terms, and help Veterans adjust to their new work environment successfully. The result will be a government that runs better and a country that has taken one more step to honor the service and sacrifice of our Veterans.

On behalf of Secretary Shinseki, I’d like to thank our colleagues throughout the Federal Government for their efforts on behalf of Veterans. In particular, I’d like to thank the Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management for helping to put together this new initiative. We will all have to work a little harder to hire Veterans and we will be better for it.

And now it is my pleasure to introduce John Berry, Director of OPM, to talk more about this initiative.

John is the Federal Government’s Chief People Person, setting policy for 1.9 million Federal workers. He’s the man the President has tasked to make sure the government keeps hiring the best and the brightest.

John is a dedicated public servant with broad executive agency and Congressional experience. I know him from our days together at Treasury. Take it from me, America's civil servants could have no more positive, respectful, or innovative a leader than John Berry. He sticks to his mission until it is done. And when he’s done with this mission, we’ll have more of the best and brightest Veterans in government jobs.