CEO Column

Jennifer Safavian | International Automakers Hire and Support Our Veterans

Jennifer Safavian
July 31, 2023

International automakers are constantly demonstrating their innovation and creativity: not only through the vehicles they manufacture, but in the many ways they support their workforce. I am so proud to represent a group of automakers that understand the value of giving back, especially to our nation’s servicemembers. In honor of National Hire a Veteran Day, which was recognized on July 25, I chose to use this month’s CEO Column to highlight the many ways our member companies are supporting military veterans, active duty service members, and their families as they transition from military to civilian life.

BMW’s Military Service Technician Education Program offers veterans a springboard into various roles within their vast dealership network. Mercedes-Benz follows suit with their MB Drive program, providing veterans with comprehensive academic and on-the-job training for a career with Mercedes-Benz dealerships. They’ve also joined forces with the U.S. Army’s Partnership for Youth Success, ensuring a robust support system is in place for transitioning soldiers back home. Meanwhile, Mazda is a member company of the Veteran Jobs Mission, a coalition of more than 300 companies dedicated to hiring military veterans and their spouses.

Kia’s Military Veterans Technician Apprenticeship Program has opened doors for veterans to secure full-time employment with Kia retailers around the country, while Honda Manufacturing of Indiana has partnered with Conexus Indiana, which has developed a first-of-its-kind program to connect veterans transitioning to civilian life with local companies. Toyota has partnered with Hiring our Heroes, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation aimed at helping veterans find employment for nearly a decade. And Subaru’s Armed Forces Resource Group of Employees (SARGE) helps facilitate veteran hiring and champions veteran causes in local communities, while Hyundai Motor America has been designated as a ‘Military Friendly’ and ‘Military Spouse Friendly’ employer for 2023.

Many of our member companies focus on helping their employees after they have left the military. Mitsubishi partners with Record the Journey, a nonprofit organization that helps service members transition to civilian life, while Volkswagen last year signed a statement of support for its military employees, recognizing the importance of employer participation in the National Guard and National Reserve. Nissan offers a dedicated Veterans Business Synergy Group to support and advocate for their veteran employees. Volvo also launched its Veteran Technician Careers Program, offering training to active-duty service members to prepare them for full-time jobs when they leave the military.

Our industry’s commitment is simple: to drive support and opportunities for those who have served our nation. Through training programs, financial incentives, and partnerships, we are putting our words into action.

And while these initiatives are indeed impressive, they represent just the beginning of our industry’s potential to create meaningful opportunities for our military members and veterans. Our efforts are about more than just “doing good.” They are about recognizing the significant contributions service members have made and leveraging their invaluable skills, leadership, and experiences they bring to our workforce.

The future of the American auto industry is bright, and we are committed to ensuring America’s veterans share in its opportunities.