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Veterans in the Workforce

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SIOP Members Help Private-Sector Employers Understand Skills Taught in the Military

Surveys of business leaders and hiring managers in companies across the country continue to demonstrate that the civilian workforce is having a difficult time finding job candidates with leadership skills, who can think on their feet, manage and supervise others, and work together in teams.  At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Americans are leaving the military each year with these same skills. The Department of Defense (DoD) and RAND Corporation are creating tools to help address this challenge.

SIOP Member Chaitra Hardisonleads a team at RAND Corporation, which was commissioned by the DoD’s Transition to Veterans Program Office (TVPO) to conduct a pilot project to create materials that will help quantify the essential skills that enlisted Service members acquire during their military service (through both training and on-the-job experiences) and then convert these skills into terms that civilian hiring managers and business leaders can understand.

The project team  has finished the first phase of this research which focused on how combat arms professions in the Army and Marine Corps gain these skills in their professional military training programs. As a result of Phase I, RAND created the following materials for employers to use to help understand these skills:

  • report and toolkit describing the project and the ways that the training received by Soldiers and Marines in the combat arms professions help develop these essential skills. 
  • reference card that identifies many of the essential skills transitioning Service members and Veterans have learned in professional military training programs. This resource was created to help better evaluate résumés, conduct interviews, and make informed hiring decisions by increasing awareness of the essential skills Veterans have to offer, according to RAND.  An infographic summarizing this reference card can also be found here.

The second phase of this research focuses on understanding how on-the-job experiences contribute to these essential skills.

Essential skills (such as leading, motivating, and inspiring others to accomplish organizational goals; managing and supervising the work of others; decision making; teamwork and teambuilding; and handling work stress) are not only taught outright in military training courses, but are reinforced through the military’s culture and learned and practiced every day in on-the-job experiences.

The profession of arms can serve as a talent pipeline to America’s civilian workforce by providing a source of training and skills development unmatched anywhere else in the country. The ongoing work at RAND and the DoD’s Transition to Veterans Program Office will help hiring managers understand what Veterans can bring to their organizations.

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