Author: Cadence Bank
NextOp helps veterans translate their military training and experiences into valuable qualifications for employment in the business community. Cadence Bank proudly supports NextOp in its efforts to place veterans in fulfilling careers after their service is over.
NextOp reaches out to veterans to build their post-military careers by using skills and experiences they already have. NextOp has worked with enlisted veterans ranked from E-3 to E-7 since 2014, connecting them to career opportunities.
Cadence Bank started collaborating with NextOp in 2021 as part of its diversity, equity and inclusion initiative.
“With Cadence Bank’s help, NextOp is able to recruit, develop and place high-performing middle enlisted service members and veterans into rewarding civilian careers,” says NextOps Executive Director Shelby Mounts.
Veterans take the first steps after their military service
Middle enlisted service members, according to Mounts, make up 80% of military personnel but receive the least post-service employment support. He mentions this contributes to unemployment and underemployment of highly skilled veterans.
“Middle enlisted personnel have significant technical skills and leadership experience, but may lack the college degrees and civilian work experience required for jobs they are otherwise quite qualified for,” Mounts says.
Employers respond by favoring veterans with degrees who are otherwise easier to place. “That leaves our middle-enlisted candidates with fewer opportunities to effectively launch their careers after military service,” he says.
NextOp fills the gap by providing these job services to middle enlisted veterans.
“NextOp helps veterans decide where they might want to go to work. They help them write a resume, prepare for interviews and learn how to sell themselves to get the value they deserve,” says Cadence Bank Executive Vice President, Commercial and Industrial Lending Taylor Ducoff.
“They are helping tailor their skill set to a particular industry,” agrees Cadence Bank Assistant Vice President and Senior Compliance Officer Lisette Johnson.
Mounts says NextOp is connected with over 330 corporations in a wide array of industries. The organization works to educate employers on the veteran experience, create internal veteran resource groups, host educational workshops, and ultimately place veterans into fulfilling careers.
NextOps provides vital services to job-seeking veterans
NextOp provides employment coordinators to engage with each candidate individually to provide guidance and coaching throughout the process, Mounts says. The coordinators educate candidates on job market trends, available trades and training opportunities that can build individual capacities, and industry employment requirements.
“It’s definitely daunting, but that’s why they are there,” says Cadence Bank Assistant Vice President, BSA Analyst Amy Lee. “NextOp is very passionate about serving their community and giving veterans the skills and the tools to use their military expertise in the world outside the military.”
Mounts says NextOps’ personalized approach with each candidate is a proven method of success.
“A recent Penn State University study found that veterans are twice as likely to find a job if a mentor helps with their resume and three times more likely to find a job if a mentor practices interviewing with them,” he said.
NextOps even provides help before members leave the service.
“They offer assistance with SkillBridge, which takes place during the service members’ last six months of military service,” Johnson says. “That enables them to receive full military pay and benefits while gaining new skills and experience in the civilian workforce. For example, if NextOp determines that a candidate qualifies for an internship, they will help them through the process to secure the internship.”
Veterans see success with NextOps
With NextOp’s help, job candidates are securing positions with average starting salaries over $20,000 higher than their base pay in the military, Mounts says.
“This increased earning power provides financial security and greater self-worth, which helps our candidates avoid financial stress, substance abuse issues, and self-harm that veterans can be more susceptible to,” he says. “NextOp offers its services for free to all of our candidates. We wouldn’t be able to provide our comprehensive one-on-one employment assistance and mentorship without the support of corporate partners, like Cadence Bank, and individual donors.”
Aside from financial contributions in 2022, Cadence Bank has taken part in NextOp hiring events.
“At these events, Cadence Bank presented their company, provided insight on their application process and interacted with veteran candidates face-to-face,” Mounts says.
NextOp has been able to introduce several veteran candidates to Cadence Bank recruiters, he added.
New opportunities for Cadence and NextOps
Mounts says NextOp will continue to collaborate with recruiters and Cadence Bank leadership to introduce qualified Veteran candidates, provide opportunities for the company to present and speak about job openings and further equip them on how to recruit and retain Veteran talent.
“We have participated in several employee or industry panels with NextOp,” Lee says. “Now we’re talking about hosting an employee panel focused solely on Cadence Bank, so we would have more opportunity to speak with candidates and tell them about who we are and what we do. We want them to know why we want to bring on veterans.”
Cadence Bank supports NextOps and its work with military veterans. To learn more about how we’re helping people, companies and communities prosper, visit our Stories page.
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