• Drew Poplin

[11/09/22] – U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh recognized Sonoran Desert Institute (listed as Trade Training Company, LLC.) as one of the 835 recipients of the 2022 HIRE Vets Medallion Award during a virtual award ceremony presented by the U.S. Department of Labor. Sonoran Desert Institute earned the Gold award after applying earlier this year.

The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act) Medallion Program is the only federal award program that recognizes employers who successfully recruit, hire, and retain veterans.

Recipients of the 2022 HIRE Vets Medallion Award meet rigorous employment and veteran integration assistance criteria, including veteran hiring and retention percentages; availability of veteran-specific resources; leadership programming for veterans; dedicated human resource efforts; pay compensation and tuition assistance programs for veterans.

When asked about the challenges veterans face on assimilating back into the civilian workforce, Walter Howard, Director of Military and Veteran Services at Sonoran Desert Institute, said, “Each veteran has their own unique challenges. And I think that realistically, the hardest one for transition is many of them do not take the time to effectively transition back into or transition out of the military.”

Howard continues, “There are not that many organizations that have a dedicated department that is strictly there to serve as a resource for transitioning service members or just service members in general…Our veteran employee ratio is roughly 37% of all employees. Our organization is very different dynamically compared to others, even with our student population. A student veteran population in any other school barely hits the double digits in some cases. We stand in that 60-70 percentile for our people, so our employee piece matches that as well.”

About SDI

SDI is a distance learning institute, which means students enjoy the benefits of flexible online learning and access to experienced staff without having to travel or relocate. SDI provides the materials, instruction, and support to help students succeed.

The SDI Military & Veteran Services department assists students in achieving academic, personal and professional success. They provide advocacy and support for our military-connected students by offering outreach, student-engagement, and personalized assistance.

SDI joins 834 other companies from 49 states, plus the District of Columbia, who have shown a commitment to hiring veterans. They were 1 of only 13 recipients based out of Arizona. 

About the HIRE Vets Medallion Program

The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is earned by businesses that demonstrate unparalleled commitment to attracting, hiring and retaining veterans. The 2023 HIRE Vets Medallion Award application period will open to employers on Jan. 31, 2023. For more information about the program and the application process, visit

There are different awards for large employers (500-plus employees), medium employers (51-499 employees), and small employers (50 or fewer employees). Additionally, there are two award tiers: platinum and gold.

For more information on how SDI assists and empowers veterans all over the country, go to

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