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WMATA named military-friendly employer; APTA encourages veterans to consider transit agency jobs

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) was named a 2014 "Military Friendly Employer" by Victory Media, which publishes G.I. Jobs and Military Spouse magazines.

The media company recognized WMATA for its efforts to increase military veteran hiring. Since 2012, the agency has increased the size of its veteran employee base by nearly 50 percent, WMATA officials said in a press release. The agency has aggressively sought to hire and train top-quality military veteran candidates, a practice that lends a strategic competitive advantage, they said.

WMATA officials value veterans' commitment to teamwork, discipline and selfless service, and are committed to providing competitive salaries and benefits to qualified veterans who pursue careers at the agency, said WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles.

Last year, WMATA adopted a strategy to enhance its military recruitment efforts, which include agency officials giving regular employment presentations and information sessions on military bases; participating in Job Readiness workshops with the U.S. Department of Labor Veteran Employment Services; and promoting career opportunities for military spouse as a standard component of all military employment presentations and networking efforts, agency officials said.

Meanwhile, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) took advantage of Veterans Day yesterday to remind veterans that many public transit systems and related businesses are interested in interviewing them for civilian jobs.

"Public transportation is a good fit for veterans looking for civilian jobs since there are many military skills that are transferable to the public transit industry," said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy in a press release.

Added Phil Washington, APTA's vice chair, the general manager and CEO of Denver's Regional Transportation District, and a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army: "Leadership is the single most important skill set that military service creates. It is a universally transferrable skill, and effective leadership is in constant demand but often in short supply."

APTA has been part of the White House "Joining Forces" initiative to support hiring U.S. veterans and also is working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote job fairs for veterans. Many U.S. commuter-rail systems have committed a 12 percent veteran new-hire target, APTA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/12/2013