Focus on Veterans

By Brian Carhide

photo 2Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the first annual Veterans Institute, Heroes Work Here event at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Walt Disney Company began an initiative in 2012 and set a goal to hire 1,000 Veterans over 3 years; like everything else Disney does, they went above and beyond by hiring 2,500 Veterans thus far. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, and First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke at the event, both recognizing the great potential of these men and women who served our country, and shared insightful information on how to capture this talent.

The First Lady and Vice President Joe Biden launched an initiative called Joining Forces a few years ago, bringing together a team of subject matter experts, to assist Veterans in making a seamless transition from the end of their service to the private sector; an inter-agency task force program, which is now mandatory for all individuals separating from military service. The program is designed to bridge the gap to the civilian workforce and make our heroes career ready!

A key topic that has been a challenge, not only for Veterans, but for career advisors is how we articulate the military attributes into a business application. Much of the conference was focused on successfully identifying those attributes and how they can be applied.  Below is a reference that can be used to help Veterans look at their military attributes and how they could be of value to a potential employer:

Veteran Attribute                                                                Business Implication
Entrepreneurial………………………………………………………..Adept to taking ownership
Assume a high level of trust……………………………………….Trust in co-workers and leaders
Skill transfer…………………………………………………………….Rapidly apply skills from the military
Advanced technical training………………………………………Adept at the latest technology
Act decisively in the face of uncertainty & change………. Skilled at making decisions with imperfect info.
Resilient………………………………………………………………….Bounce back quickly from adversity
Advanced team building skills……………………………………Rapidly integrate into project teams
Strong Organizational commitment……………………………Loyal to leaders and organizations
Cross cultural experience…………………………………………..Cultural literacy to include languages
Comfortable in diverse work settings………………………….Seeks diverse work groups
(provided by Syracuse University – Institute for Veterans and Military Families, http://vets.syr.edu/)

The conference also presented a panel of Veterans who currently worked at The Walt Disney Company and provided them an opportunity to share their stories and challenges. One of the panelists spoke about one of her challenges, something I took for granted, but completely understood the Veteran’s perspective. The Veteran told the story of her first networking event and how the dress for the event was business attire; however, the panelist was unsure what business attire included. We think of those in the military, always looking their finest and dressed to impress, but in reality their best dress is the same attire every day.  Another challenge mentioned was a Veteran’s knowledge and ability to maximize the use of social media in the job search. The military places limitations on service individuals and the ability to use social media, many times for the sake of national security, which does not allow them to develop social media profiles.

photo 1The conference was nothing less than spectacular, from high level individuals speaking to the great stories of those individuals who fought for the very freedom that is provided to us every day! These are talented individuals, and there is no doubt they deserve our service in providing them the tools and resources to be successful after their separation from service. Beyond the resources the Career Services Office provides to our Veteran population at Embry-Riddle, I leave you with this, a robust list of other resources, to help our Veterans successfully bridge that gap.

www.hiring500000heroes.com
www.servicelocator.org/onestopcenters.asp
http://dvoplverlocator.nvti.ucdenver.edu
www.careeronestop.org/businesscenter
www.va.gov/homeless/for_homeless_veterans.asp
www.usaa.com
www.dav.org
www.awfdn.org
www.vetsuccess.gov
www.disneyinstitute.com

Brian Carhide has more than 20 years of professional aviation experience. He spent many years as a professional pilot, including experience as a charter and airline pilot. He has been a leader in guiding young aviators in higher education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the Executive Director of Career Services.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: