Military Connection: STEM Jobs May Be the Best Fix For Veteran Unemployment

Military ConnectionBy Debbie Gregory.

According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among post-9/11 veterans was still running at a higher rate than the civilian population. This comes at a time when American employers are struggling to find workers who are qualified to work in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

It has been projected that employment in occupations related to STEM will total more than 9 million jobs between 2012 and 2022. That’s an increase of about 1 million jobs over 2012 employment levels.

The demand for employees with technical training isn’t likely to subside anytime soon. STEM workers use their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, or math to try to understand how the world works and to solve problems.

This is especially relevant for Veterans because military service leaves many men and women particularly well-prepared for careers in these fields. Our nation’s military is highly trained, and extremely familiar with cutting- edge technology. When you add in the rich education benefits that Veterans have, continuing their advancement to train for these skilled jobs seems like a no-brainer.

Occupations with both high employment and fast growth usually offer better opportunities than small occupations with slow growth. High-employment, fast-growth occupations include computer systems analysts, applications software developers, and systems software developers. In fact, information security professionals will grow 37 percent by 2022 — faster than any other STEM positions.

Young veterans can thrive in high-demand STEM professions. What’s needed now is an aggressive, national effort to help America’s former service members put their abilities to work in the STEM fields.

By preparing today’s newly-minted Veterans for careers in STEM, they will be best positioned to achieve the American dream. All the while, they will be building the skilled workforce the 21st century economy demands.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) has detailed profiles for hundreds of occupations. Profiles include information about job duties, wages, typical education, job outlook, and more. The OOH is available online at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: STEM Jobs May Be the Best Fix For Veteran Unemployment: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Veteran Job Outlook-Where the Jobs Are

boise

By Debbie Gregory.

With the jobless rate for veterans last year being at 5.3%, one might wonder where the best place would be to settle down and reduce that percentage even more. Factors making a region more desirable can include low crime rates, modest cost of living, and proximity of medical/VA facilities.

Topping the most recent list of cities with the strongest labor market is Boise, Idaho.  Having Gowen Field Air National Guard Base in the area, Boise knows the high caliber of job candidates in both veterans and military spouses.

“Once you set foot in Boise, you can literally see the growth,” says Sunny Ackerman, Vice President for workforce expert ManpowerGroup’s western division. “Boise’s employment outlook has jumped 10 points since the first quarter of 2015, when it was 22%.”

In a recent survey of 18,000 employers spanning the country, Manpower additionally listed Jacksonville, FL, Grand Rapids, MI, Milwaukee, WI, and Seattle, WA as cities with promising job growth.

Although the jobless rate still remains higher for the veteran population versus civilians, the unemployment rate is certainly easing. This could be due in part to employers being more enlightened as to how skills acquired in the military will translate to the civilian world.  Employers are realizing that military-trained candidates bring a high level of discipline, adaptability, technical skills and integrity to the workforce, and once oriented to the needs of the employer, veterans are proving to be excellent hires.

Cities showing the least growth in Manpower’s survey were Oklahoma City, Youngstown, OH, El Paso TX, and Wichita, KS.

In positioning one’s self to the best advantage for employment opportunities, veterans might benefit from seeking the advice of a good resume writer.  Frequently the job criteria may be perfect for a candidate, but without the resume opening the door, candidates and employers might not make the connection.  Crafting the resume to highlight the desirable skills of the veteran will often avoid placing a candidate in an under-employed environment or a mismatched placement.

Networking is extremely valuable in seeking employment in the civilian workforce.  Quite different from 30 years ago, when one would simply submit an application, networking is often the best way to get a first interview.

Social media sources, such as LinkedIn, are not to be dismissed; the connections one makes through these sources often capture the opportunity before the listing even hits the job boards.

As the positive outlook of employers increases across the country, veterans should be prepared, and are well suited for success.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Military Connection: Veteran Job Outlook-Where the Jobs Are: by Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Why not Hire a Veteran?

Hiring Veterans

By Joe Silva

There is no question that unemployment among Veterans is improving. The utilization of resources such as the MilitaryConnection.com Jobs Page, Virtual Job Fair, as well as other government and private sector initiatives have made headway in eliminating unemployment among Veterans. But our latest generation of war Veterans still encounter an unemployment rate that is higher than their civilian counterparts, evidence that there is still a need for hiring initiatives for Veterans.

At MilitaryConnection.com, we are committed to honoring service members and Veterans from all branches and components, as well as the sacrifices made by their families. It is the obligation of our nation’s citizens to provide considerations for those who sacrificed for our country. Therefore, hiring advantages and initiative for Veterans are necessary to give back to those who have sacrificed so much. But we also see the hiring of Veterans as advantageous opportunities for employers as well. Veterans entering the talent pool are equipped with unique experiences, talents and education that just can’t be found anywhere else.  Savvy employers are taking notice.

Much like college, spending four or more years living and working on a military installation can be just as educational as living on a college campus. The military uses informal training, classroom instruction, online training modules, advanced testing and training review boards in their methods. In the military, service members are taught a multitude of technical, vocational and leadership skills, using real-world work environments to hone these skills. Unfortunately, too many employers don’t recognize the U.S. military as an educational institution.

Employers have also passed on hiring Veterans because of perceived skill gaps between military experience and private sector job requirements. But too often, these gaps can simply be attributed to the differences between military and corporate cultures. Employers who are interested in hiring qualified Veterans are encouraged to incorporate questions that address the functions of their military positions, and not just job titles and locations. Employers may find that most Veterans have a sharp knowledge of computer skills and administrative functions, even if their Military Occupational Specialty doesn’t suggest it.

The bottom line is that employers need to find ways to say “yes” to hiring Veterans. Business leaders claim to be constantly looking for the top talent. If this is the case, then why not start with a workforce whose talent, reliability and determination to succeed is mission accomplishment? Why not hire a Veteran?

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Why not Hire a Veteran? By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Questions Veterans Should ASK at Interviews

Veteran job interviews

By Debbie Gregory.

For many Veterans looking for their first post-military jobs, much of the process is new to them. There are workshops and resources for employment searches, and resume writing to assist with those aspects of the job hunt. There are also resources available for practicing for interviews. But even with preparation, interviews can be the most intimidating portion of the job search. That is why it is important that Veterans do all that they can to present themselves as capable and confident to prospective employers.

It is crucial that Veterans research the company they’re interviewing with, and be familiar with the company’s mission statement and values. It also goes without saying that Veterans should be prepared to answer questions about the industry and the position they’re applying for, in a manner that displays their capability to fill the company’s need. But what many Veterans may not be aware of is the need to ask questions at the end of the interview, in order to convey their interest in the company and desire to win the position.

In the military, asking too many questions was a bad thing. And most Veterans who held leadership roles would argue that, in fact, there is such a thing as a stupid question. But asking well informed and targeted questions at the end of an interview can mean the difference between getting hired or continuing the job search.

When you’re researching the company, its policies and values, if you should happen to come up with legitimate questions that were not addressed, ask them. These questions will show that you have done your homework.

One of the best questions you can ask is something along the lines of, “Is there anything about me or my resume that I can clarify for you to make hiring me an easy decision?” A question such as this will show your interviewer that you are truly interested in getting the position. It can also get you talking more about your strengths, abilities and experience.

Another question to ask your interviewer should be something like, “Can you provide me with an area that the company needs improvement in?” If in researching the company, you find an area that company acknowledges a deficiency, you could specify that area, and ask how the company is approaching that fix. Asking these types of questions shows your interviewer how you are already thinking of ways to make their company better. Be prepared to offer a solution, but only if you are asked for one.

One last question that Veterans should ask during the interview is, “What does your ideal candidate look like and what can I do to become more like them? This question is a good one for multiple reasons. First, it shows your desire to win the position. It also exhibits your willingness to improve yourself. Furthermore, if for some reason you don’t get hired for this position, an answer from the interviewer could provide you with useful information to land the next job.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Questions Veterans Should Ask at Interviews: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: From Military Service to Business Owner

entrepreneur

By Debbie Gregory.

In the course of military training, the government has inadvertently conditioned Veterans to be successful entrepreneurs. The military teaches discipline, problem solving tactics, and leadership.  These are also the qualities of successful entrepreneurs. So why aren’t more Veterans putting these skills to use and starting their own businesses?

Jack Nason, CEO of Nason Inc. knows all about the similarities between military experience and running a startup. “The real fight of entrepreneurship takes place in the battlefield of the mind,” says Nason, a Gulf War veteran and successful small business owner of a transportation company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Despite federal incentives, the trend of veterans becoming entrepreneurs has declined in recent years. In fact, the statistics reveal that since 1996, the number of Veteran owned businesses have dropped significantly.

In previous years, approximately 13% of businesses were Veteran owned, whereas last year, that number shrunk to approximately 5%.

There are theories as to why this decline in the Veteran start up rate is happening, including a demographic and generational shift. An excess of six million Veterans will be entering retirement age within the next 15 years. That means more and better opportunities for younger veterans to start or expand businesses, particularly those with federal contracts attached.

Given the high rate of unemployment for Veterans, now may be the best time for Veterans to employ themselves and show the world why the US military is the best anvil to forge an unbreakable entrepreneur. They may not have been born into money or an entrepreneurial family, but that hasn’t stopped some of the greatest American businessmen from achieving great success.
The combination of more funding and less competition should spur more veterans to start their own businesses in the coming years, and we at MilitaryConnection.com hope to see their dreams become reality.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: From Military Service to Business Owner: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Five Reasons to Hire Veterans

leader

By Joe Silva

I recently had a bad experience at a clothing store. Without going into too much detail, I noticed that there were several employees standing around, having inappropriate conversations in front of customers, and flat-out misrepresenting their company. The only capable person there happened to be helping me, and she was one of the store’s managers.

“I hate to say it, but you have a lot of dead weight working here,” I said to her. This, after she apologized to me when one of these employees interrupted our transaction, asking to go on a break.

The manager didn’t agree with me, verbally, but her reaction told me that I wasn’t far off the mark. I suggested to her that she should look into hiring some new people, and after a brief pause, I added, “Maybe some Veterans.”

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that adding some Veteran blood to that establishment could potentially improve their service, efficiency and image. I highly recommend hiring Veterans to any employer who needs to boost production, improve their image or change their culture. Here is why:

Veterans are Team Players. If you want your establishment to be a winning team, you need to have employees who are willing to work as part of a team. Veterans from all service branches and all military occupations have completed some of the most rigorous team-building exercises around. Veteran employees, who feel valued by their company, will be the first to promote the company’s brand and culture.

Veterans are Detail Oriented. From boot camp to separation, Veterans were required to have inspection-ready uniforms, living quarters, and work spaces. Having an employee who can handle that sort of scrutiny can do wonders for your company. If they don’t know something, they’ll ask, and once they know, they do the job correctly.

Veterans are Planners, so they are great hires for companies concerned with productivity and schedules. In the military, Veterans were given manuals for every aspect of their lives, from brushing their teeth, to cleaning a rifle. Being conditioned to methodical planning of any task, they will most likely find ways to quicken your company’s tasks, and be able to write you an Standard Operating Procedure  on it.

Veterans have the Can-Do Attitude. Military training and conditioning has equipped Veterans with the ingenuity and grit to get the job done. So, whether you need to meet a deadline, keep pace with the competition, or take out a machine gun nest, Veterans are going to get the job done.

Veterans Take Direction well. Most Veterans weren’t the commanding officers of their units, but even C.O.’s answered to their superiors. Veterans are used to being told what to do and how things are by whoever’s in charge, and then getting the job done. In the same thread, Veterans with military leadership experience have been conditioned to ooze confidence. Sometimes it’s not the order, or who gives it, but the tone in which the order is given that gets the desired results.

I try to imagine what that clothing store would be like if there were a Veteran or two on its sales team. I imagine that there would have been less standing around and more work being accomplished… I also imagine that I would have been a return customer.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Five Reasons to Hire Veterans: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Trucking Industry Vows 50,000 Veteran Jobs

TCA

By Debbie Gregory.

At MilitaryConnection.com, we take pride in providing one of the best resources on the web for Veteran employment. We are always thrilled to hear about Veteran hiring initiatives, and eagerly facilitate a connection between that company or industry and a Veteran who is looking for work.  One such industry-wide hiring initiative was recently publicized, as the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) announced that it has committed the trucking industry to hiring 50,000 Veterans over the next four years.

The TCA is a trade association that focuses on the truckload component of the motor carrier industry. The TCA represents dry van, end-dump, flatbed, inter-modal container, and refrigerated carriers in 49 states (all but Hawaii), as well as in Canada and in Mexico.

The TCA is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s hiring initiative Hiring our Heroes to deliver its own Veteran hiring program within the trucking industry, called Operation Heroes to Highways.

The trucking industry has embraced hiring Veterans into  well-paying and highly needed positions in all aspects of the industry, from drivers to salesmen,  dispatchers to mechanics and more. Veterans are highly sought after for their versatility, trainability and dependability, all of which are key components to quality employees in an industry that is vital to our nation’s economy.

One of MilitaryConnection.com’s allies, C.R. England, hires Veterans and trains them, providing “Honored Veteran” trucks that are painted with patriotic themes.  All the highways across America can see the pride that the Veteran drivers have in their service, and that their company has in their Veteran drivers.

Trucking companies are invited to participate in Operation Heroes to Highways by dedicating a minimum number of future hires to military Veterans, and making a pledge to that number in the next 30 days. Carriers who participate will be recognized on the Heroes to Highways online Wall of Valor, and will also receive commemorative Challenge Coins from Heroes to Highways.

Veterans, who are looking to embark on their civilian careers, are invited to research careers in the trucking industry. There are plenty of opportunities for well-paying jobs and advancement, even becoming a small business owner/independent contractor by driving their very own truck. A great start is our very own Jobs Page.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Trucking Industry Vows 50,000 Veteran Jobs: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Next Step, Civilian Career

Career-Services-Counseling

By Joe Silva.

As a Veteran, I am proud of my service.  While there are numerous programs designed to help us Vets get jobs, many of the jobs that employers are touting as “Veteran Friendly” are retail jobs, or jobs that require little skill or training. These jobs can be good for transitioning Veterans, especially while they are using the GI Bill to go to school. But once we have degrees in hand, Veterans are still having difficulty getting hired in jobs that require a professional wardrobe as opposed to a name tag.

One of the main problems I had was effectively translating my military experience to prospective employers. I needed to communicate what my skills were,  and how I could be of value to them.  I found that while most interviewers were quick to verbally thank me for my military service, very few were willing to take a chance on someone with little experience in their industry, just because I had served.

It’s not that those who served don’t have any experience. Far from it, and that is usually the problem. Veterans must find a way to weed through their experiences and pick out aspects that are pertinent for the position they are applying for, and highlight those points.

Veterans tend to write their resumes like they were generating a personal eval, and that is not the case. Resumes don’t serve the same function as a military eval, so why should they look the same or contain the same language? Military jargon can provide a disconnect between you and your potential employer.

Even hiring managers who sincerely want to hire Veterans will have a hard time justifying a new hire to their boss if the Veteran’s resume is unintelligible to them, or does not convey experience needed for that position.

It is highly recommended that all Veterans frequent career resource centers while they are actively looking for employment or while they are in school or vocational training. These centers, called by many different names, are usually free for Veterans, and can be found on most college or university campuses, and at city, county, or state funded employment offices.

Even if you think that you have got it down, these centers will help you with job searches, generating a strong resume, drafting cover letters, and preparing for interviews. Some even offer referrals. Often times, these centers provide computer labs with printers and paper, as well as other resources needed to find employment.

Make sure that your military experience leads to the civilian career you deserve, by effectively communicating your military work experience. And be sure to use your improved resume to apply for jobs posted on MilitaryConnection.com’s Jobs Page.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Next Step, Civilian Career: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Paid Sick Days for Federally Employed Vets?

Bill for Paid sick days

Newly proposed legislation will make it possible for wounded Veterans, newly hired by the federal governmentto start their jobs with multiple weeks of paid sick leave.

On January 13, 2015, Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch introduced H.R. 313. The bill would amend Title 5, United States Code, providing paid leave to any new federal employee who is a servicedisabled Veteran, rated at a minimum of 30% disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The measure, if passed, would give service-disabled Veterans 104 hours of paid sick time after they enter the federal workforce. New federal employees who are not service-disabled Veterans begin their federal careers with zero hours of sick time, and accrue hours over time. The bill would also allow the Veterans to carry over any of the 104 hours they do not use in a given year.

“It is unacceptable that our wounded warrior federal employees, who are just starting out in the federal workforce, are often faced with the difficult choice of having to take unpaid leave to attend their VA appointments or miss their medical visits,” said Rep. Lynch.

Along with Lynch, six additional members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors: Representatives G.K. Butterfield (NC), Gerry Connolly (VA), Elijah Cummings (MD), Blake Farenthold (TX), Walter Jones (NC), and Delegate Eleanor Norton (DC).

“These men and women have made incredible sacrifices to defend our freedom and have been wounded as a result,” Rep. Jones said in a statement. “They deserve an adequate amount of time to tend to their wounds while beginning a new chapter in their careers after they leave the military.”

The proposed legislation has also been backed by the Federal Managers Association. Representative from the group have admitted to seeing first-hand the struggle that service-disabled Veterans have when trying to juggle the job with their necessary medical appointments. Compounding the problem is the narrow scheduling windows at VA medical facilities. The group feels that supporting this bill is the right thing to do.

Senators Jon Tester (MT) and Jerry Moran (TX) also plan to introduce similar legislation in the Senate soon.

You can keep track of H.R. 313 and other Veteran legislation at www.congress.gov or www.Govtrack.usYou are encouraged to contact your elected officials and let them know how you want them to vote on your behalf.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Paid Sick Days for Federally Employed Vets? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Veteran Employment Report: By Debbie Gregory

Veteran jobs

Back in 2011, a group of employers banded together and vowed to collectively hire 100,000 military Veterans by 2020. The coalition began with eleven companies, bent on hiring Veterans, and calling their initiative the 100,000 Jobs Mission. But the undertaking rapidly grew into a widespread national alliance, expanding to 170 employers. As of September 30, 2014, the coalition of employers that make up 100,000 Jobs Mission have combined to hire 190,046 Veterans, smashing its initial goal.

In 2014, the RAND Corporation published a Veteran employment report titled “Veteran Employment: Lessons from the 100,000 Jobs Mission.” The report was based on data collected from 26 member companies of the coalition, spanning a diverse range of industries.

The report was intended to provide 100,000 Jobs Mission members and government organizations with informative data on best-practice methods for recruiting and retaining Veteran employees, However, there is a wealth of additional information in the report that Veterans can use to help land civilian employment through the 100,000 Jobs Mission.

The report recommends that Veteran job seekers not waste their time and energy attending any and every job fair until they get hired. Instead, Veterans are encouraged to focus their energy on only attending job fairs that allow them to submit their resume to potential employers before the job fair. These job fairs are more like interview fairs, where the employer can notify candidates of their interest ahead of time, and make arrangements to interview them.

Veteran job seekers are also encouraged to research and seek out job-placement/temp agency companies that are Veteran friendly and positioned to help link Veterans to companies that are hiring.

The RAND Veteran employment report also suggests that one key aspect for Veteran job seekers in finding civilian employment is the ability to convey their skills and experience to their prospective employers. Some ways that Veterans can learn to better translate their skills and experience is by taking advantage of the technical training opportunities that are made available to them when they are preparing to separate from the military. There are also resources available once they have separated.

The report also repeatedly stresses that coalition companies and Veterans should link up with each other through programs such as the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Employment Center, state Veterans affairs offices, state and county employment offices, and local and national Veteran non-profit organizations.

MilitaryConnection.com would also like Veterans to know about the resources and information that can be found on our Jobs Page at: localhost/mc/jobsoverview

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Veteran Employment Report: By Debbie Gregory