Author: Christine Knauer, Avionic News
The American workforce is shifting. Workers are moving into new industries and from lower-paying jobs into higher-paying management positions vacated by retirees. They’re spending more time caregiving and prioritizing a better quality of life over working long hours. It’s left companies scrambling to find talented, experienced workers who can keep the lights on, services running and customers happy. It’s especially true in aviation.
Meanwhile, veterans and transitioning military personnel need help finding sustainable employment in a competitive civilian market. Between online job hunting, resume writing,
electronic applications and adapting to life as a private citizen, finding and landing a good job can be downright daunting.
NextOp, a nonprofit organization that provides employment services to veterans, helps solve both challenges. In six years, NextOp has helped more than 2,700 veterans find employment while simultaneously solving recruitment issues for companies.
Founded in 2014 by a group of former military leaders and industry executives, NextOp operates offices in Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana, but its services are available to veterans and transitioning military members across the United States.
Serving ranks E3 to E7, NextOp provides comprehensive, one-on-one employment services such as identifying skills, resume writing, application assistance, interview preparation and more. Each candidate works with a dedicated employment coordinator.
The employment coordinators don’t share all resumes with companies or all jobs with candidates. They take time to match qualified candidates for specific roles as well as follow up with placed candidates periodically to see how they’re doing in their new careers.
“These veterans have fantastic skills that can translate into a career,” said Patrick McManus, employment coordinator for NextOp. “They just need help seeing how their skillset translates, which is in more ways than they think, navigating the environment and communicating their skills in a way that makes sense to the civilian population.”
Like McManus, most of the members who make up the NextOp management team, board of directors and advisory board are former military veterans. McManus, a U.S Air Force veteran, served 20 years in support of Operation Sea Signal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Task Force Katrina in New Orleans, Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, among other assignments. After the military and prior to NextOp, McManus served as a project manager for a Louisiana company, building commercial diving equipment.
In addition to veterans coming to NextOp, the nonprofit recruits candidates directly from military bases and veteran organizations as well as through partner programs.
“We strive to recruit and begin working with candidates as early as one year prior to their end of service to help them avoid periods of unemployment or underemployment after leaving the military,” McManus said. “We also have veteran candidates who find us after they’ve left the service and are already in local communities and unemployed or underemployed.”