By Debbie Gregory.
More than 300 representatives of veteran employers attended a Starbucks’ hosted muster to discuss jobs for military veterans.
Starbucks and the Schultz Family Foundation brought participants together for their second muster, an Old English military term for the process of accounting for members of a unit, generally after a battle — to help with the transition from military service to civilian careers.
“Last time, we had about 150 people in attendance and one of the suggestions that we heard that resonated was that we need to broaden the conversation,” said Daniel Pitasky, executive director of the Schultz Family Foundation. “The idea was that each person who came to the last Muster would bring someone new to the conversation.”
The effort is a continuation of Starbucks’ commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018.
Hiring veterans makes good business sense. Veterans have attributes that employers look for. They are leaders, committed to something greater than themselves. They understand diversity. They are able to accomplish a mission under the hardest of conditions.
Retired Army Gen. Ray Odierno said that while veterans are quick learners, they need assistance from their employers to close the military-civilian gap.
“We need the long-term civilian expertise within a company mentoring and helping veterans,” Odierno said.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who’s on the Starbucks board of directors, agreed that civilians and veterans need to get to know one another so that they can better understand each others culture.
In addition to addressing employing veterans, the subject of retention was at the top of the list.
JPMorgan Chase commissioned a study with the Center for a New American Security to survey companies about veteran retention. The results should be published around Veterans Day.
Another topic of discussion focused on employing military spouses.
Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, said,“The very best thing you can give a transitioning veteran is a spouse with a job.”