In today’s economy, it is common for the average person to have multiple and completely different careers. Veterans are a great example of professionals that must make career changes after their transition into the civilian workforce because their military occupation does not seamlessly transfer to a civilian career. The amount of information available to job seekers can make it very difficult for someone to make an informed career decision.
I speak with candidates everyday who have no choice, but to make a career change. This is a difficult and frustrating route to navigate for everyone. Advances in technology make it very easy for candidates to apply to multiple positions. Consequently, it is very difficult to stand out from hundreds of other applicants. Hiring managers now have many options when deciding who will be the best fit for their team.
My advice is to find companies that are offering apprenticeship programs.
Most job seekers do not consider apprenticeship and leadership programs.
What is an Apprenticeship Program?
According to the Department of Labor ( DOL), a registered apprenticeship program must be employer-driven that uses the “learn while you earn” model. This program must be a combination of on-the-job-training (OJT) with curriculum that will lead to a nationally recognized credential. Also, the program must involve a progressive increase in the apprentice’s wages as they meet the predetermined benchmarks.
Why Pursue an Apprenticeship Program?
There are many reasons why anyone looking for a career change should consider an apprenticeship program.
For veterans, that first job after the military is very important to set them up for future success. Getting started with a big company can set them apart from other candidates applying to the same roles. Recruiters will take you more seriously if you have a big named company behind your name. As a Talent Acquisition Manager, I know that Apprenticeship programs provide workers with the necessary problem solving, industry knowledge, and technical skills that hundreds of employers are craving for.
Free Training with Pay and Benefits
In this model, you are also gaining great skills while you earn a good paycheck. Some companies offer full benefits such as: 401K, pension programs, bonus program, paid time off (PTO), healthcare and dental benefits, and short-term disability insurance. There are also other great compensation incentives, such as veterans being able to receive an additional housing allowance if they want to use their Education Benefits. When considering a new career, would you rather pay for the big degree and hope that there are companies that won’t need the experience or would you rather get paid while you get the skills and training you need now?
Stable Career and Growth Opportunities
Companies that invest in apprenticeship programs have a huge investment in your success. They want you to stay with the company for at least 12 months. According to the DOL, Apprenticeship programs range from one to six years. During this economy, any kind of job security is crucial to plan the future for your family. Also, these companies want to retain you and provide you with other opportunities because you are now fully trained and fully integrated within the company culture. Also, companies that have these programs are true advocates of promoting their own employees into new exciting roles. This is an important value when considering a career change with a well-known company.
These are just a few benefits of apprenticeship programs.
Other Factors to Consider
There are also other factors that you need to consider such as location and commitment.
Sometimes the location is not ideal, but if you consider the future opportunities that you will have because you decided to pursue this program you should not let the location stop you.
Finally, you must commit to the company and the career. Every day, I speak to recruiters and hiring managers that want to see candidates with a stable work history. So, choose wisely the first time!
Current Apprenticeship Program Opportunities with NextOp
At NextOp , we are currently assisting a Global Oil and Gas Company connect with veterans for a Field Technician Apprenticeship program. This company values and grows their own. Right now, we are in the best position to help veterans with mechanical or technical skills who are transitioning or have transitioned in the last 24 months go down this path.
I am also recruiting for a Leadership Development Program for Cameron, a Schlumberger Company. The interviews will be conducted at the end of October so we do have a deadline of the 24th of October 2017. See the flyer on the right column. We are looking for veterans with degrees who have transitioned or received their degrees within the last 2 years.
My name is Julio Martinez and I am a Marine Corps Veteran.
What do you do at NextOp?
I serve as the Operations Manager and my mission is to insure NextOp and its members have the support they need to help our fellow veterans with their transition.
College Education and Veterans
How do some post 9/11 veteran not see the importance of obtaining a college education after the military? Higher education is essential and a must for career progression and professional development. Yet, a portion of our veteran community has the mentality that their experiences while in the service should be good enough to obtain a meaningful career after the military. Unfortunately, only a select few will come across the right people who will take a chance and offer a position based on merit and character alone. For the vast majority, obtaining a rewarding career in the civilian sector will be a challenge and a pain if you do not have the proper school certification or college degree.
The college road is not an easy one, especially if you have other responsibilities such as providing for family. However, this is a necessary road that must be traveled to help with career placement. According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate for people with a High School diploma was 5.2%, Associate’s 3.6%, and Bachelor’s degree with 2.7%. Just two years of college education will make a difference on how recruiters view your potential.
The mindset of a veteran needs to be flexible and adaptable in order to succeed in the civilian sector and as a college student. You cannot rely on just your veteran identity and character to get you through the civilian sector.
A common question we ask to our fellow veterans in transition is: “Are you planning to go back to school?” Some say, “Nah! I don’t have the patience to deal with those whinny kids or listen to a dude that has never done anything important.” The answer was not surprising because I had the same mindset at one point during my transition period. Our mindset and our attitude towards college education need to improve in order to help us become competitive and marketable with our civilian peers. If we adjust our mindset and look at college like any other tactical task we had to analyze while serving it would be a great step in the right direction.
If I asked you, the reader, “What do you think is the best option tactically; Concealed carry or Open carry and why?” What would your response be? In my opinion, open carry makes you a target and more prone to unwanted attention in general. While conceal carry, lets me blend in with the community and gives me the element of surprise; giving me the upper hand to an extent. My point is this, veterans that attend college with the open carry mentality, in this case, self-identifying as a veteran every chance they get and impose their opinion or believes because they are better due to veteran status, will have a tougher time getting through school. The veteran with the conceal carry mentality will blend in, take advantage of the element of surprise, will interact with other classmates to gather intelligence and adapt and overcome to achieve success.
In Conclusion, education is an important requirement for many job opportunities. Use your education benefits wisely and have a solid plan that has flexibility built into it because you will have to adjust at one point. Civilian life is not hard but, it is challenging and if you don’t keep your guard up, it will punch you in the mouth.
John is Executive Director of NextOp, a non-profit organization whose mission is to recruit, train, and place high-performing mid-level enlisted military leaders into industry. John served in the United States Marine Corps from 1999-2007 as an infantry unit leader. His overseas assignments include Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Djibouti, and Kenya. In 2009 John helped found the Lone Star Veterans Association (LSVA), which has become the largest network of Post 9/11 veterans in Texas. In 2015, John worked with regional leaders to establish the Combined Arms network, a first of its kind community-based transition system built to accelerate the impact of veterans on Houston.
John holds a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Houston. John is also a recipient of the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship, representing the United States in eight different European countries during a month-long fellowship. As a Marshall Fellow, John has also traveled to the United Kingdom, Israel and Denmark to write comparative papers on their military transition systems and is planning to travel to Ukraine in Spring 2017 to assist in the development of their military transition infrastructure.
What do you do at NextOp?
Mostly serve as the janitor but also work with the board of directors on passing an annual budget, approving policy, setting strategic vision and authoring of 3 year strategic plan for the organization.
Serve as the chief financial officer, programs officer, development officer (fundraising), and anything that helps build the brand with military installations, corporate partners, foundations, grant making institutions, our 3 advisory boards, mentor universe, strategic partners and generally anyone who will support our veterans!
Value of Veteran Recruiting Initiatives
The value of military and veteran recruiting initiatives not only impacts working culture, safety, productivity, team orientation, and respect within an organization, learning how to recruit, train, and retain veteran employees has proven to have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. The Corporate Executive Board recently found that veteran employees not only have a lower turnover rate than their civilian counterparts, but also have a higher productivity rate. So, veteran employees do not only save the company money but they make companies more money too!
We all know that veterans’ “soft skills” are the most sought after for companies such as showing up early, staying late, learning things faster, adapting to the mission, showing respect to supervisors, and working well in teams. Veterans also come with significant hard skills too, depending on their MOS or military occupational specialty. Although the military does not do a great job of providing civilian credentials for many of these learned skills, veterans may be able to test into mechanically and technically oriented positions right out of the military, they just need the chance to prove their value.
By developing a military or veteran recruiting initiative, companies can take advantage of these great opportunities to improve their workforce by attracting more military talent. It does not have to cost a lot either. For example, if you already have employees who are veterans, recruiting and hiring managers can activate them to attend job fairs, design military-specific marketing collateral and provide their perspective on how to best develop a veteran recruiting plan. HR professionals can also tap into expert military recruiting organizations like NextOp to source veteran candidates from regional bases and other marketing portals in the community.
There are many cost-effective solutions to recruit, train, and retain military employees into an organization such as insourcing and outsourcing – or a combination of both – to ensure your team is successful in taking advantage of America’s greatest human resource.
My name is Jonathan Barreda and I am a Marine Veteran who deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Helmand Providence.
What do you do at NextOp?
At NextOp, I am one of the Employment Team Coordinators who works with the veterans to assist them in their search for employment in their desired industry.
How to Find Key Words in Job Descriptions to Tailor Resume
Having a resume that stands out when given to a recruiter can be challenging and confusing. I use the term confusing loosely because I can get an opinion from multiple people and still not have a clear direction of what should be included in the resume. Something else that can be challenging can be a special task that requires time and a selection process to pick out a job. I personally read the resume and either highlight repeated words that can be considered hard/soft skills and recommend that there is an emphasis on those specifically highlighted words. Rule of thumb is that if an employer is looking for a certain candidate they would expect the resume to answer all of the requirements on the resume itself.
There are some tools that I wish I would have known when I started my transition from the Marine Corps. The website JobScan.co can be a great asset because you can easily see what are the words that are mostly used in the job description and you can capitalize on explaining your accomplishments. Another source that I found very useful was O-net Online and that site helps you see what type of jobs would be closest related to your military specialty. At the end of the day, NextOp is here to assist in translating military experience to civilian terms.
“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example” — Benjamin Disraeli
NextOp’s Military May Mentorship & Fundraising Campaignkicks off May 1st, the first day of National Military Appreciation Month! Highly motivated Fire Teams of supporters compete against each other to raise awareness and funds that will help get more veterans employed. Aimed at easing the post-military transition process, our goal is to recruit more mentors that would like to guide veterans into long-term careers, raise funds to help NextOp improve our employment programs, find more job opportunities, and reach more veterans in need of our services. Learn more about our Military May Mentorship & Fundraising Campaign here.
CELEBRATE THE SERVICE MEMBERS IN YOUR LIVES!
Help us recognize our nation’s veterans and their service to our country by submitting military pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include the name of the service member and branch of service.
Bringing skilled transitioning Soldiers and Construction Industry professionals together.
Military and construction industry experts will come together to highlight upcoming reductions in force, major issues impacting soldier transition into the construction industry, as well as provide direct networking opportunities for soldiers and construction professionals.
Organizations Speaking at MILCON
NextOp recruits, trains, and places high-performing middle-enlisted military leaders into Industry careers.
NextOp provides companies with world-class, skilled candidates and coaches them on how to be effective employees. Our mentors work with each transitioning veteran to adjust to their new roles and cultivate the necessary skills to excel in field work, increasing satisfaction and reducing turnover for these positions. We serve those who have served so many—our hardworking veterans.
ABC is a national construction industry trade association representing more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. ABC’s membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors.
The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)
NCCER is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation created in 1996 as The National Center for Construction Education and Research. It was developed with the support of more than 125 construction CEOs and various association and academic leaders who united to revolutionize training for the construction industry. Sharing the common goal of developing a safe and productive workforce, these companies created a standardized training and credentialing program for the industry.
Speaker and Presentation
Mark Thomas, NCCER- Senior Manager, Programs NCCER
The Society of American Military Engineers leads collaborative efforts to identify and resolve national security infrastructure-related challenges. Founded in 1920, SAME unites public and private sector individuals and organizations from across the architecture, engineering, construction, environmental and facility management, cyber security, project planning, contracting and acquisition, and related disciplines in support of national security.
Speaker and Presentation
Joe Schondrel, Executive Director SAME- Society of American Military Engineers
MSG Jason Parlor, US Army School of Engineering- NCCER Construction Credentialing Programs for Engineering Soldiers & Officers
The Soldier for Life- Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) Fort Hood, TX
The Soldier for Life — Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) is a centrally funded commanders program that provides transition assistance services to eligible Soldiers. Public Law is the foundation of the Transition Assistance Program initiative, along with DOD and Army policy. SFL-TAP supports the Army’s Active Component recruiting effort by producing successful alumni. Those who are capable of translating Army skills, training, and experience into rewarding careers are living billboards promoting the Army as a great place to start.
Speaker and Presentation
LTC Jon Sowards, Soldier for Life Central Region Director
AECOM is a global network of experts working with clients, communities and colleagues to develop and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most complex challenges. Delivering clean water and energy. Building iconic skyscrapers. Planning new cities. Restoring damaged environments. Connecting people and economies with roads, bridges, tunnels and transit systems. Designing parks where children play. Helping governments maintain stability and security.
PCL Industrial Construction Co. is a diversified heavy industrial contractor, based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Houston, Texas, with extensive experience in the power, oil, gas, chemical, cement/aggregates, mining/minerals, and pulp and paper industries. An expansive project portfolio consists of work throughout the United States.
During your time in the service, you were trained to lead. In the office or in the field, you know leadership involves taking your junior service members to the side whether in a group or individually and teaching them the ropes.
You mentored them; you taught them how to think and take care of others, you gave them the tools necessary to succeed.
Your enthusiasm and knowledge made them the leaders they are today.
Now that many service members are transitioning, they need your guidance again.
Remember how you felt when you made that decision to transition.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
If you have an interest in becoming a mentor, register today!.
This year, NextOp Veterans had a goal; it was to have 300 veterans and transitioning military hired in the construction, healthcare, and energy industries by the end of 2016.
We reached that goal on October 31st and to date NextOp has placed over 450 Veterans since March 2015.
NextOp’s impact on the local economy is over $25 million based on the first year earnings of 456 successfully placed veterans.
We wouldn’t be able to reach this goal without the support of our Corporate Partners and our Top Contributors. Without your contributions and support, we wouldn’t be able to successfully serve those who served.
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) hosted a Veterans Breakfast honoring veterans in all branches who recently joined their organizations.
Some of the organizations represented at the luncheon today: Baylor College of Medicine, CHI-St Luke’s Health, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas Medical Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, and Houston Methodist.
Today’s keynote speaker was retired Army Major Marvetta M. Walker. She is working as the Clinical Administrative Director at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her speech was very inspirational, full of great advice to veterans seeking opportunities within the Texas Medical Center.
The ceremony also included a Challenge Coin Ceremony. Veterans who joined one of the organizations at TMC received a coin welcoming them to the organization.
This event is just another example of why Houston is the best place to transition in after the military.
Full Description: Join #TeamHouston under the stars for a celebration of two of Houston’s favorite things: Football and Freedom! The Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee will tip their hats to local veterans and jump into Houston’s fifth season, football season, with a screening of football fan favorite film – The Blindside.
Come out for an evening of fun with photo opportunities with Houston Texans Cheerleaders, food and beverages for sale, raffle prizes, Super Bowl Host Committee and #TeamHouston giveaways and more!
Blankets, lawn chair and picnics are welcome. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages. Share your experience using #TeamHouston and #CityWithNoLimits.