Veterans in the Workforce: Military Service Matters

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Express Employment Professionals examines why veterans make good employees.

Orin Rovito

As we prepare to honor our veterans this week, let’s keep in mind that one of the best ways to pay tribute to their service is to help them find rewarding work in their communities. - Bob Funk, CEO of Express

Orin Rovito is one of the most sought-after Express Employment Professionals associates in Sacramento, California. According to Savannah Schaefer, an Express office manager who helps connect job seekers with work, it’s hard to beat Orin’s work ethic, and local employers actively recruit him for short and long-term projects.

“He doesn’t have to work,” Schaefer said. “He wants to work.

“Our clients adore him and often fight over him. We have a running joke in our office and with our clients that he is our ‘first come, first served’ associate. Clients will call in requesting Orin for a job, and are dissapointed when he has already been placed on another assignment.”

What makes Orin Rovito stand out? According to Rovito himself, it’s his experience in the U.S. military.

“The military certainly helped mold me for my civilian career,” he said. “The military world is very ritualistic, and they have high expectations. You are often told to do things that aren’t pleasant, and things that you do not necessarily want to do. It can be mentally and physically exhausting, but you do them anyway. This built morale and structure in my life that carried on into my civilian career.”

While Rovito left the army in 1969, he still recognizes the values his service instilled.

“My time spent in the military taught me diversity, comradery and the benefit of aid toward others,” he said.

As it happens, Rovito isn’t the only veteran held in high regard by the Sacramento Express office. Schaefer’s husband also serves, while taking jobs in the Sacramento area when his schedule allows.

“Being in the military is a great stepping stone for anybody’s career,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Ryan Schaefer. “It helps you recognize and use the chain of command structure, as civilian and military are the same in that regard. You are taught discipline and organization.”

Fortunately, a lot of the traits learned in the military are what business owners say they value most in a candidate. According to a recent survey of 573 businesses by Express, owners ranked attitude and work ethic/integrity as the most important traits in a job applicant.

Brandi McBride, an HR manager at MOVE Systems in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recognizes the valuable perspectives a veteran brings to an office or workplace.

“Veterans have traveled around the world experiencing different cultures, religions and structures and can bring new ideas to the team,” she said.

While veterans can certainly face any number of challenges upon reentering public life, David Robb, with the Express office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, cautions that it’s a myth that they bring more challenges than other employees.

“I think it is important for employers to understand that some veterans will have challenges, just like any potential employee, but that the veteran workforce, as a whole, does not face more challenges than your average employee,” he said.

It’s also important for employers to educate themselves on how positions in the military translate into positions in the civilian workforce, she noted.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for all veterans in September 2017 was 3 percent, compared to the 4.2 percent national average. The unemployment rate for those who have served since September 2001 is higher, at 3.9 percent; their labor force participation rate is 80.5 percent.

“As we prepare to honor our veterans this week, let’s keep in mind that one of the best ways to pay tribute to their service is to help them find rewarding work in their communities,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Bringing veterans into your workforce is a winning proposition for your company and communities. We witness that firsthand every day at Express. You may still have to navigate unexpected or unfamiliar challenges, but our experience shows that it’s well worth it.”

The survey of 573 businesses, which are current and former clients of Express Employment Professionals, was conducted in August 2017 to gauge respondents' expectations for the fourth quarter of 2017. Previous surveys were conducted to cover hiring trends of the quarters indicated.


If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bob Funk to discuss this topic, please contact Sheena Karami, Director of Corporate Communications and PR, at (405) 717-5966.

About Robert A. Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 770 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than 6 million people to work worldwide. Funk served as Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve and was also the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.05 billion in sales and employed a record 510,000 people in 2016. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit

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Sheena Karami
Express Employment Professionals
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