They can work on billions of dollars of the most sophisticated and advanced technology in the world. Even the most recent high school graduate can be trusted to work on systems that can save the lives of millions – and yet they might not be certified to change the brake pads on the lowest price used car.
The branches of our U.S. Military are usually on the cutting edge of transportation logistics and technology that may eventually find its way into passenger and commercial vehicles. While in service, soldiers, sailors and airmen are tasked with maintaining and repairing tanks, trucks, planes and whatever else is stored at Area 51.
But, as they say, sometimes coming home is the hardest part – not only from an emotional standpoint but also on an economic and employment level, not to mention the work it takes getting required industry certifications.
“Leaving the military and preparing to work in the civilian world can be confusing and scary for service members,” explains Shelby West of RecruitMilitary, a resource provider that helps connect employers with high quality veteran talent. “Knowing when and how to start the civilian career search is important.”
Veterans Day is November 11 and all this month, we’re sharing stories of veterans in the industry, partners who support our veterans and resources that are out there to help our industry thrive with this pool of talent.
Our friends at TechForce Foundation support veterans transitioning from their military service back to civilian life with financial support of many kinds. TechForce provides more than $1 million in scholarships and grants annually, 20 percent of which are to veterans, to bridge gaps left from VA/BAH benefits.
Some of those gaps are tremendous and the bridges built have been impressive. I’ve been told countless stories of vets who, though they were working on electronics in M1A2 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles, servcing the diesel engines in personnel carriers and rotating systems in aircraft, need help getting back into automotive service.
One of the recipients of a TechForce scholarship explained that transitioning back to civilian life was more challenging than he expected.
“I had the mindset that it wouldn’t be difficult for me, considering I don’t have PTSD. Little did I know, the struggle of transitioning back into civilian life doesn’t only involve soldiers with PTSD. I needed some help while attending a Cummins certification course and I was told that my GI Bill wouldn’t cover the last phase of my class.”
Another young soldier said that he had just gotten out of the Army and was attending Trade School when one of the government shutdowns put a hold on his benefits. “I’m almost done using my savings to pay my bills, and the VA isn’t paying me yet. I needed help with my rent, just a one-time thing while waiting for the VA to pay me.”
So what can you do about it? First, look for ways you can support these deserving members of our society. Organizations like RecruitMilitary and TechForce Foundation can give you plenty of ideas on how you can help.
And, of course, you can hire a vet. With the ongoing technician shortage, your next great employee may have the discipline, diversity and experience you need, courtesy of the U.S. Military.