Ready to Work: Why military veterans benefit businesses both as employees and suppliers
Please click here to check out the full article via the Milwaukee Business Journal
Moderated By: Ana Simpson, Director of The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program
Military veterans typically enter the workforce later than most, but when they arrive, they’re ready to go and ready to lead. The challenge for the business community is understanding the skills veterans bring to the table. The Milwaukee Business Journal sat down with a panel to discuss the challenges veterans face when entering the civilian workforce, how employers can help them make that transition and how it will benefit the firm and the business community.
ANA SIMPSON (moderator): Paint us a picture of veterans in the workplace today. How many are there? What are they doing? And are there certain types of occupations they gravitate towards after they complete military service?
SAUL NEWTON: We have just over 350,000 veterans from all generations, and another 50,000 National Guard reserve and active-duty. And there’s a whole new generation of veterans returning to the civilian workforce. They aren’t gravitating towards one type of occupation or industry more than another, but they are gravitating toward leadership opportunities, toward opportunities for continued service and toward opportunities that provide a continued sense of purpose.
BILL BALL: We are a construction company, so we have veterans both in the field and in the office. Like Saul said, they are looking for leadership roles. While they were in the military, they were required to lead people in austere environments and make decisions in ambiguous situations. The challenge for a corporation is taking their experience and skill sets and molding them to the type of work you do. That’s what we have tried to do – give the individual enough latitude and authority to exercise their decision-making ability.
TOM PALZEWICZ: Vets have a built-in work ethic that they learned in the military. They show up to work and they know they need to get something done. An employer does not have to teach them that. The military also teaches people teamwork – the ability to get along with co-workers. I worked on a submarine, which is pretty close quarters. I did not have to like the 99 other guys that were on the submarine with me, but I had to respect them and what they were doing, because their life was in my hands and their life was in mine. Those kinds of experiences teach you to work as a team.
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