Time to reflect as Veterans Day approaches
Editor’s note: Veterans Day is Tuesday, Nov. 11. Jennifer Schaus offers her thoughts on helping veterans win government contracts. Schaus is principal of Washington, D.C.-based Jennifer Schaus & Associates. Here are Schaus’ views.
The U.S. government has annual small business contracting goals. This means each agency will be graded on how many contracts are awarded to each of the small business designations — women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, etc. This is how the government regulates the government contracting industry — so that large businesses are not taking the lion’s share of work. Some may agree or disagree with the politics behind these programs. However, out of all of the designations, our veterans are the only group that have sacrificed their lives for us, served our country, fought for our freedom and defended the Constitution.
It is the right thing to do, ethically and morally. I am not advocating handouts simply based on having this designation, but I am in favor of competition within the veteran-owned business community — and having set-aside procurements for veterans. Within this designation, there are ample qualified, capable and successful firms.
Although the current administration may have blatantly failed to take care of the veterans, that does not give us a reason to throw in the towel or accept the status quo. We can help by hiring veterans, partnering and teaming with them on various contracts – both in the private and public sector. Veteran-owned businesses typically get high marks in business process and other evaluation criteria. They are the hardest working individuals, easiest to work with, efficient and effective – they have been trained this way. Hiring a veteran will most likely equate to hiring a punctual and responsible person who is a team player — this is how they are built.
For veterans who wish to start a business, there is an abundance of training and support programs available via government sponsored organizations (PTACs, SCORE, Small Business Teaming Centers, etc.), nonprofits and private organizations alike. The government needs to do a better job of promoting these programs and communicating with veterans so that they know what options are available to them.
Our company, Jennifer Schaus & Associates, continues to work with veteran organizations from all branches of the military, including women veterans. We offer our veteran clients discounted rates on our services. With our partner, VET-Force (Veteran Entrepreneur Task Force), we have held complimentary government contracting training classes. Additionally, we have organized workshops on how to obtain the SDVO (Service Disabled Veteran Owned) certification and how to leverage it in the government contracting space.
We are lucky to have our veterans and hiring them (based on their merits) or contracting with a veteran organization (based on their qualifications) is one way to say thank you and simultaneously make a wise business decision.
For prospective employers, including governments, who are considering hiring veterans:
Hiring our veterans is not only a good thing to do — ethically and morally, but also a smart business move. The likelihood that a veteran will come to work on time, complete his or her task and follow direction is much higher than a non-veteran. This is how they are built and have been trained. Veterans are team players, make good leaders and are well-versed in process. They understand a mission statement and how to carry it out, whether it is defending the homeland, implementing a cyber-security program or loading a pallet onto a truck. They know that each person involved in the mission is critical from the top of the food chain to the bottom. If someone in that mix is not carrying out their responsibilities, they won’t last long. Most veterans are competitive by nature and want to win. They see the endgame, have a goal and know what steps to take in order to carry out the mission — in military operations, civilian government and business. These are the individuals you want on your team.
Jennifer Schaus & Associates is a boutique government contracts consulting firm in Washington, DC. They provide support services for government contractors including training & workshops, GSA Schedules, proposal writing, federal sales and more. For more information, go here.