Federal hiring of vets hits highest mark in 20 years

WASHINGTON — More good news on veterans employment: Veterans made up 28.5 percent of new federal hires in fiscal 2011, the highest rate in the last 20 years, according to officials at the Office of Personnel Management.

Twenty-two of 24 federal agencies hired more veterans last fiscal year than in fiscal 2009, and 23 agencies met previously announced goals for disabled veteran hiring for fiscal 2011. Officials credit President Barack Obama’s 2009 veterans employment initiative with the increased numbers.

“The President’s Council on Veterans Employment established and pursued aggressive goals, and for our veterans, meeting those goals means jobs that serve the American people and help sustain the growth that supports the propriety and leadership in the world,” OPM director John Berry said in a statement.

The news comes after months of focus on Capitol Hill and in the White House on veterans employment issues. The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans still remains above national levels, although the figure has dropped in recent months.

OPM officials said the 28.5 percent of new hires translates into 65,372 more veterans working in federal agencies.

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