July 25 is National Hire a Veteran Day.
Hire our Heroes, a non-profit organization founded and operated by veterans for veterans, established the day to draw attention to the enormous benefits a veteran can bring to the workplace. This year, as part of National Hire a Veteran Day, Hire Our Heroes is hosting a virtual career fair. Employers will have an opportunity to recruit veterans, and veterans can ask questions and explore employment possibilities.
U.S. military veterans and transitioning service members represent a highly-valued, yet under-supported demographic in today’s workforce. Each year, roughly 200,000 men and women transition out of the military, and when they do, they face unique challenges. Fortunately, they are not alone. Many organizations exist that empower veterans by supporting their transition to the civilian workforce.
Current examples of training programs
Hire our Heroes conducts free programs that provide veterans with training and resources to develop the most in-demand skill sets and prepare them for certification and other professional qualifications in the civilian workforce. Using Skillsoft’s Percipio intelligent learning platform veterans (and their spouses) can choose to watch, read and/or listen to a large selection of Skillsoft’s content about business, management, leadership, productivity and collaboration, and IT skills training, as well as prepare for over 100 business and IT certification exams. Veterans can use the platform and content to gain essential skills, including project management, cybersecurity, understanding of emerging technologies and digital skills, among many others.
Other examples of that demonstrate corporate commitment to veteran success in the civilian workforce include the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University and GE’s Veterans Network. IVMF provides vocational training and education for veterans and their spouses. While many veterans have foundational experience in HR, project management or IT as part of their military role, the program helps veterans become re-certified to remain competitive as a civilian employee. To help students prepare for their certification exams, Syracuse partnered with Skillsoft to curate an extensive eLearning library complete with online courses, practice tests and targeted mentorship tools.
GE has a long history of hiring veterans and enriching their professional lives through the GE Veteran Network. To support this effort, GE partnered with Skillsoft in 2016 to pilot the Veterans Leadership Journey (VLJ), which provides opportunities for continued growth and development through mentorship, training and educational initiatives. VLJ, which offers a blueprint for corporate training programs, uses Skillsoft content to reskill and upskill 10,000 employees who are U.S. veterans. Skillsoft helped the GE team ensure that the learning material is specifically curated and geared toward the veteran community’s needs as they transition to corporate environments. Leveraging Skillsoft’s Leadership Channel and Books content, the training includes three key topic areas: career progression, leadership style and working environment.
The three essential components of a successful program
The success of these initiatives demonstrates the increased importance of corporate training and reskilling programs that enable the continued growth of veterans, both professionally and personally.
Working within the corporate environment comes with new rules on how to interact with coworkers and leaders. Part of the transition from the military to civilian workforce involves helping veterans navigate this new environment. Creating a community of veterans and non-veteran advocates helps ease the transition and provides valuable insights into how veterans can establish successful careers.
Training to Reskill and Upskill
Businesses should work closely with a learning solutions provider, such as Skillsoft, to develop a targeted, robust portfolio of resources that are specifically geared toward the veteran community’s needs as they transition into corporate environments. Content should focus on the competencies required to upskill and reskill veterans, and ultimately make them more effective in their new roles. Building on the lessons learned while in service, training programs should also offer courses that prepare veterans for certifications to up-level their technical skills.
Management and Leadership Training
Once veterans leave the military and enter corporate environments, many need help rediscovering how to manage expectations and relationships with leaders and coworkers. Beyond technical skills, practical training programs should provide veterans with resources that focus on leadership styles, management expectations and different working environments. Following their pilot program and based on direct feedback from veteran participants, GE’s Veterans Leadership Journey added leadership development resources that focus on difficult conversations and conflict management, influence and persuasion, resilience and perseverance, prioritization and delegation, problem-solving and decision making, and motivating and inspiring others.
Military service often provides leadership experience, discipline, strategic thinking and a level of loyalty that is difficult to find in civilians. However, veterans need career guidance and additional training as they transition into corporate life and pursue new and elevated roles. Providing the resources for navigating a new working structure is invaluable to creating a support network within the company. These men and women have made enormous sacrifices for our country. As good corporate citizens, we must provide them with the tools they need to adapt to civilian life and hone the skills that are important to their professional careers.
Join Hire Our Heroes on Wednesday, July 25 and Hire a Veteran.
Dan Caporale is the Founder & Chairman of Hire our Heroes.