Helping military veterans transition to civilian life, pursue analytics careers

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Veterans possess traits that can enrich any organization. There are many opportunities for companies to help them re-enter civilian life, and tap into their talent.

Veterans transitioning back to civilian life face a number of challenges, many of which involve working in a non-military environment. The Honor Foundation helps Navy SEALs and other current and transitioning members of the U.S. Special Operations community enter civilian life. Last week, a group of former special operators visited several employers in North Carolina’s Triangle area, including SAS, to learn about the skills needed to land jobs in the civilian world.

In addition to learning best practices in interviewing, resumes and job hunting tips, the group learned about the lucrative careers available in analytics and data science. Many of the skills valued in the knowledge economy, such as teamwork, creative problem-solving, strategic thinking and hard work, are ingrained in these military elite.

As Kevin McLaughlin, Policy Director, SAS US Government Practice, says in this segment from Raleigh NBC affiliate WRAL, “What company wouldn’t want to add that to their team?”

Kevin’s right, and if a company is interested in hosting, mentoring, hiring or donating, they should visit the Honor Foundation website and sign up today. Also, check out this powerful testimony from a recent Honor Foundation fellow.

Many opportunities for companies to recruit and hire veterans

As a company committed to supporting veterans, SAS is fortunate to be based in North Carolina. With 130,000 active and reserve military located here, North Carolina trails only California and Texas in that regard. SAS participates in many programs to attract these dedicated, driven people to the company, and to help them make the transition to civilian life.

These efforts helped earn SAS the Pro Patria Award, the highest state-level award given to a civilian employer by the US Department of Defense. It recognizes companies for hiring and supporting veterans, reservists and members of the National Guard.

Here are some of the programs in which SAS is proud to participate, which may spark ideas for other organizations. And we’d love to hear about what other companies are doing.

  • The company’s signature internship program, VETS (Veteran Employment, Training and Support), which provides valuable work experience for military personnel pursuing a degree in IT. Participants work on business-critical projects, partnered with a mentor in the IT organization who is also a veteran, to help them acclimate to the corporate world while experiencing practical career coaching.
  • An IT Awareness Day sponsored by Cisco Systems and the North Carolina for Military Employment invited transitioning servicemen and women to explore the diverse roles in information technology, from tech support to network engineering, project management to software developing. SAS veteran employees shared their stories at two military bases, and provided advice to those transitioning vets on how they can navigate a future in IT.
  • The Veteran Career Transition Day matches local companies looking to hire service men and women with those looking for job opportunities. More than 120 transitioning service men and women who are currently seeking employment attended this year’s event.
  • The North Carolina Veterans Enablement Consortium meets quarterly to share best practices and supports career fairs, mentoring opportunities and charity events for veterans.
  • Military job fairs are an opportunity for HR staff to connect with military professionals on their own turf to help them explore potential career paths.
  • SAS participates in a Mentoring Day with Enable America, which assists wounded warriors and disabled veterans in their transition to civilian society. Participants explore potential career paths, evaluate personal goals and participate in training sessions that strengthen their skills and prepare them for employment. At a Camp Lejeune Job Seekers Workshop with Enable America, SAS and other panelists advised vets on how to look for jobs in today’s world, how to write resumes and what jobs are available in different industries.
  • SAS works closely with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security’s local employment office and its veteran employment representatives to ensure they know the skills SAS seeks, and the company’s current job openings. SAS also conducts resume reviews with the department’s clients and presents information regarding the company’s application process.
  • As a sponsor of the North Carolina Women Veterans Summit and Expo, SAS worked closely with the NC Division of Military and Veteran Affairs to bring education and resources to women veterans from across the state.
  • SAS sponsored and provided instruction for the Wake Tech Vet2CEO program which provides eight weeks of business instruction to veterans pursuing entrepreneurship.
  • The NC VetBiz Procurement Summit convened the US Small Business Association, NC Military Business Center, Small Business Technology Center and NC Veterans Business Association to provide business resources and access to procurement opportunities to veteran business owners.

Whether it’s the Honor Foundation or another organization, there are countless ways to support our veterans as they move into civilian life. We welcome new ideas and stories in the comments.

 

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Trent Smith

Trent handles government and education communications for SAS. Opinions shared are his own...or someone else's...he's not much for original thought. But they definitely don't represent SAS.

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