This morning, as I prepared to write this third annual Veterans’ Day blog, I applied to join the 100,000 Jobs Mission on behalf of Digital Lumens. The 100,000 Jobs Mission is a coalition of 123 very large companies who have made a commitment to collectively hire 100,000 veterans by 2020.  Turns out they are almost there and have moved the goal post to 200,000.

I filled out the on-line form and received the following message in response:

“This message confirms that we have received your application to join the 100,000 Jobs Mission. We are in the process of developing a 100,000 Jobs Mission small and medium- sized business strategy and will be in touch with you in early 2014 with more information. In the meantime, we hope you find the resources on the 100,000 Jobs Mission website useful. Your support of our nation’s veterans is greatly appreciated.”

I encourage all small companies and especially startups to get in line and be ready in 2014 when the coalition expands.  The employment stats are well known, small businesses account for about 50% of the jobs in the US and 64% of the new jobs.  With over 1 million men and women coming out of the military services over the next few years, matching those veterans with new jobs will be critical.

As I have written on past Veteran’s Days (How Do We Hire Veterans? and Are You Hiring the 1%?), tapping into this deep pool of employee candidates is an opportunity missed by most startups.  All startups fill out their new hires by luring away each other’s rock star developers, taping the bright young interns farm system for entry-level positions, and work our personal networks for the rest.  But, as the economy continues to ramp upwards, getting the right employees in the company and productive is critical to growth and scale.  I am sure there are other start-ups like Digital Lumens who have targeted the veteran pool for employees, but I cannot say that I know of any.

So once again, I implore all startups to consider identifying a few job openings that you will work hard to fill with a veteran.  That is how we started and we are now over 10% veteran.  If you need help getting going…drop me a line and I would be happy to help.