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Partner Spotlight: Veterans ASCEND

Partner Spotlight: Veterans ASCEND

Veterans ASCEND was awarded the Department of Labor (DOL) HIRE Vets Medallion Award. There are two award tiers in the program, Gold and Platinum. Veterans ASCEND received the platinum award. There are also different awards for the size of the employer. The criteria for large employers are 500 or more employees; medium employers are 51-499 employees; and small employees are 50 or fewer employees. Veterans ASCEND applied as a small employer. Additionally, there is an application fee to cover the costs of the program: $90 for small employers, $190 for medium employers, and $495 for large employers.

“This is a new federal award; It came out in 2017.” Robyn, co-founder of Veterans ASCEND, said, “So we want to get the word out for companies to apply for the award.”

According to, “The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017 (Hire Vets Act or the Act), signed by President Trump on May 5, 2017, requires the Secretary of Labor to establish a program, by rule, that recognizes employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans.”

Although the criteria depends on the level and employer size, most of the awards are based on the following measures:

  1. Percentage of new hires of the previous year are veterans.
  2. Percentage of veteran employees retained for a period of at least 12 months.
  3. Percentage of employees who are veterans.
  4. Provision of an employee veteran organization or resource group to assist new veteran employees with integration, including coaching and mentoring.
  5. Provision of programs to enhance the leadership skills of veteran employees during their employment.
  6. Employment of a dedicated human resources professional or initiatives to support hiring, training, and retention of veteran employees.
  7. Provision of compensation to employees serving on active duty in the United States National Guard or Reserve that is sufficient, in combination with the employee’s active duty pay, to achieve a combined level of income commensurate with the employee’s salary prior to undertaking active duty.
  8. Provision of a tuition assistance program to support veteran employees’ attendance in postsecondary education during the term of their employment.
  9. Employer with an adverse labor law decision, stipulated agreement, contract debarment, or contract termination, as defined in the rule. Pursuant to either of the following labor laws will not be eligible to receive an award: Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) or Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistnace Act (VEVRAA).

“It’s great recognition,” Robyn Grable said. “It’s a great way to promote that you are a veteran- or military-ready organization.”

The application can be submitted by the employer themselves. The 2020 application window opens on January 31, 2020. The DOL will stop accepting applications on April 30, finish reviewing them no later than August 31, and select the employers to receive the HIRE Vets Medallion Awards no later than September 30. The employers will be notified of their application status by October 11. The DOL will announce the list of award recipients as it coincides with Veterans Day. For a complete list of the 2019 award recipients, visit

Robyn said she’s working very closely with the DOL for the Veterans ASCEND program and definitely wanted to apply for and support the HIRE Vets Medallion Program.

Veterans ASCEND is a free resource for transitioning service members and all veterans. They match the veterans to employers, based on their skills. They are not a job board or a traditional recruiting firm. Instead, their technology uses unique data sets and algorithms to translate military occupations into skills and then matches the veterans to employers. By reversing the hiring process, Veterans ASCEND is eliminating the barriers between veterans and employers.

“It’s all about getting a veteran in the right job.” Robyn continued, “and getting a company to utilize the skills a veteran brings to the table and pay the veteran at a wage commiserate with their skills.” Thereby ending veteran underemployment.

According to, “Veterans ASCEND is a Veteran-Owned company, breaking employment barriers by changing the way employers find and hire great talent.”

For more information about Veterans ASCEND, visit

Additional details of the HIRE Vets Medallion Program can be found at