Union Pacific was ranked second in a national list of the top 100 military-friendly employers. Two Nebraska trucking firms also made the list, with Werner Enterprises of Omaha ranked 24th, and Lincoln's Crete Carrier at No. 54.
The rankings, released for Veterans Day, began in 2003 and are published by Victory Media in its G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines.
The rankings are based on a survey of more than 100 questions that assess a company's commitment to hiring veterans, its recruiting and hiring efforts and results, and its policies for Reserve and Guard members called to active duty, among other factors. There is no charge for participation, and the survey results are reviewed by Ernst & Young.
U.P. and Werner also made a companion list of the top 50 employers of military spouses, at Nos. 18 and 22, respectively.
U.P. said it has hired nearly 800 veterans this year, including 91 who are disabled.
Veterans were about a quarter of all new hires in 2013 and are a fifth of U.P.'s total work force.
“Military training instills dedication and a goal-oriented work ethic that translates very well to the railroad,” said Roy Schroer, U.P. vice president for human resources.
He said that the railroad actively seeks out employees who are transitioning out of the military and that the number of U.P. employees who are veterans is increasing.
Crete said it, too, actively recruits from the military and called its veterans a competitive advantage. Nearly 30 percent of employees at Crete and its Shaffer Trucking subsidiary are veterans.
“Veterans can feel stranded once back in civilian life, and it is important that we offer them a solid career with long-term benefits,” said Crete driver development manager Issac Phillips.
Veterans make up about 20 percent of the workforce at Werner, which has also been recognized by the White House for hiring veterans. The company held a ceremony Monday to honor its veteran employees. It has hired more than 1,150 veterans so far this year. Veterans there can use their benefits to pay for on-the-job training as part of the Professional Truck Driver Apprenticeship.
“Werner has made honoring our veterans and their sacrifices a part of our company culture,” said Derek Leathers, president and chief operating officer.