What makes a good veteran employer?

Now’s your chance to tell the government.

The U.S. Department of Labor is accepting public input on the criteria for a new awards program aimed at recognizing employers who recruit, hire and retain military veterans. The new Medallion Award Program comes as part of the “HIRE Vets Act,” which President Trump signed into law in May.

“Veterans have a proven ability to lead under pressure and deliver results,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said in a news release. “The veteran unemployment rate in July was a low 3.5 percent; yet 356,000 veterans are still looking for work. The HIRE Vets Medallion will recognize employers who hire our nation’s heroes, and encourage others to follow suit.”

Proposed criteria for the gold and platinum Medallion awards include specific percentage goals in veteran employee hiring and retention, as well as requirements that companies have veteran-specific human resource professionals and employee resource groups.

Employers will be divided by size — companies of 500 or more employees, companies with 50 to 500 employees, and companies with fewer than 50 employees.

The goal is to establish clear criteria so that any companies that apply and meet the eligibility requirements laid out in the final version can receive the recognition or know what they need to do to qualify in the future, said Randall Smith in the department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service Office of Strategic Outreach.

Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes, a veteran employment initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said in an email the Medallion program “adds to the conversation on the tremendous veteran talent pipeline and recognizes veteran-ready employers of all sizes across America.”

“Hiring veterans is a win-win proposition for American businesses seeking highly skilled job candidates,” he said.

The public has a chance to weigh in on the specifics of the HIRE Vets awards criteria until Sept. 18. Companies will be able to apply for the awards beginning Jan. 31, 2018, and the Department of Labor will announce the results around Veteran’s Day next year.

To review the full list of proposed criteria and submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov and search for RIN number 1293-AA21, or send mail addressed to Smith at U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-1325, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210.