Different Kinds of Education Opportunities Available for Veterans

Who are you?

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%.[1] 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.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

Value of Veteran Recruiting Initiatives

Who are you?

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.

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hiring-veterans-what-measurable-benefits-george-hamilton?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BMfz51k98zRdUUcglAGko9A%3D%3D

How to Find Key Words in Job Descriptions to Tailor Your Resume

Who are you?

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.

MEMORIES for Military May 2017

“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 Campaign kicks 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.


Help us recognize our nation’s veterans and their service to our country by submitting military pictures to anna@nextopvets.org. Please be sure to include the name of the service member and branch of service.

Military Construction (MILCON) Summit

Join us at Fort Hood in April 2017!

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 Veterans Jobs in Houston


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.

Speaker and Presentation

John Boerstler, Executive Director

NextOp Process  NextOp Process »

Veterans in Construction

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

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.

Speaker and Presentation

Mike Glavin, ABC Workforce Policy Director

Construction Industry Workforce Data Construction Industry Workforce Data »


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

Construction Credentialing Programs for Engineering Soldiers & Officers Construction Credentialing for Soldiers »

The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME)

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

Permissive TDY Policies and Soldier Life Cycle  ARMY 101 »

Martin Traylor, Fort Hood SFL-TAP Transition Services Manager

Transition Assistance Program Transition Assistance Program »

Did you miss MILCON?

Don’t worry you can still register with NextOp

We will help you with your veteran hiring needs

Date and Time
Thu Apr 20, 2017
7:30 AM – 7:30 PM CDT
Fri. Apr 21, 2017
7:30 AM – 11:30 AM CDT
Texas A&M University Central
Warrior Hall, Multipurpose Room
1001 Leadership Place Killeen, TX 76549
Parking Map
Military Construction

NextOp Placements since 2015


Title Sponsor

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.

Installation Sponsor

Veterans in Construction

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.

Soldier Social Sponsors

Turner Industries Veteran Friendly Employer
KBR Veteran Friendly Employer

Corps Sponsors

Performance Contractors Veteran Friendly Employer
Webber Veteran Friendly Employer
Jacobs Veteran Friendly Employer
Brock Group Veteran Friendly Employer

Been There, Done That: The Benefits of Mentorship



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.”

—Benjamin Franklin

If you have an interest in becoming a mentor, register today!.

Mission Accomplished: The 300


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.

Our Top Contributors and Supporters:

The William Stamps Farish Fund

Chevron Phillips Chem Co LP

Vaughn Construction Community Foundation

Strake Foundation

Herzstein Charitable Foundation


Adaptive Construction Solutions

Harris Health


Consolidated Infrastructure Group


Performance Contractors

Schulte Building Systems




Texas Medical Center TMC

Fort Polk

Fort Sam Houston

Fort Hood


Texas Medical Center Hosted a Veterans Breakfast


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.

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Greater Houston Partnership presents Houston No Limits Football & Freedom Movie Night

Please read below for a great event hosted by one of NextOp’s Corporate Partners.

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Company: Greater Houston Partnership

Location: Houston , TX

Event: Houston No Limits Football & Freedom Movie Night

Event Date: 11/11/2016


Event Description: 

Date: Friday, November 11th (Veteran’s Day)
Time: 6:00pm – 9:15pm (Movie begins at 7:05pm)
Location: Discovery Green, 
1500 McKinney St, Houston, Texas 77010

Movie: The Blindside

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.

Please RSVP to Lindsey Peters at lpeters@houston.org

For more info, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1198330933561539/ or email  lpeters@houston.org

Veterans ‘drilled’ for oil and gas: Insight on Schlumberger’s Industry Day

NextOp Veterans partnered up with Schlumberger for Industry Day, held at the company’s Sugar Land Technology Centers on Oct. 21.

The day was filled with informative sessions where veterans learned about the oil and gas industry, and how to enter the industry.

Veterans toured the rigs, received personalized resume coaching, and interview coaching by Schlumberger’s human resource professionals.

Schlumberger is one of the world’s largest oil field services company, with offices in Paris, Houston, London, and more. According to the Houston Business Journal, the company plans to move their National Headquarters to Sugarland. The anticipated completion date for the new headquarters is 2019.

The company is Houston’s third largest public company based on the Houston Business Journal’s research.

If you missed the last Industry Day, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the next Industry Day, and be sure to register with us for career placement assistance, mentorship, and career guidance.