DOL Announces $1 Million Competition to Help Transitioning Veterans Find Jobs

F.J. Thomas

Washington, D.C. ( – While veterans have valuable skills and experience to offer that are in high demand by employers, it’s sometimes difficult for them to find jobs due to a multitude of challenges. A new competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) aims to make the process much easier.

Recently Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia announced the creation of the Veterans’ Employment Challenge to start immediately. The new competition was developed by the DOL’s Veterans’ Employment Training Service (VETS) with support from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The goal is to create a new software tool to assist transitioning military members find employment.

Although there are currently programs that can assist service personnel in finding jobs, many improvements are needed to streamline and customize the process so that employers are well matched to service personnel that are transitioning to civilian life, officials said.

Scalia believes the competition will be beneficial in their efforts to assist veterans. “This challenge is an opportunity for the Department to draw on the creative expertise in the private sector to develop tools that help veterans find jobs,” he said.

The contest will go through 5 stages to allow users to provide input and creators to utilize the feedback in the test environment for the design process. Competitors can advance through the phases until the finals. Total prize money offered is $1 million across four stages. The potential earnings for the Grand Prize winner is $720,000.

  • Semi-Finalist – 5 winners at $20,000 each
  • Finalist Prizes – 3 winners at $100,000 each
  • Pilot Prize – 1 winner at $300,000
  • Grand Prize – 1 winner at $300,000

The VETS program gathered feedback on employment searches from service personnel, as well as employers and governmental agencies.

Some of the feedback from job searching military personnel included concerns about privacy; the ability to control the information that is shared; the ability to network with other veterans at a company; streamlining updates to job applications; better filtering for skills offered, and job search criteria such as benefits, location, culture; enhanced notification settings; and revamping of skills and role descriptions with terminology familiar to military personnel
The top feedback from employers included:

  • Standardized employer profiles that also include the opportunity to give more information about the company
  • Ability to generate match lists for potential employees
  • Ability to contact an applicant directly

Greater job description capabilities to include more information about benefits, work environment, required skills

The competition is open to individuals and groups. The complete lists of rules is available here.

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