What Are ‘New-Collar’ Jobs?

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Cropped shot of a group of business colleagues meeting in the boardroom

By Jess Scherman

In the past, American jobs have generally been classified into one of two categories: white collar and blue collar. The former typically includes jobs performed in an office setting by highly skilled and formally trained professionals, while the latter generally refers to labor jobs that often require professionals to work with their hands.

Today’s workforce, however, is chock-full of job opportunities that don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree but do call for a highly specialized skill set. It was in response to this widening need that Ginni Rometty, president and CEO of IBM, coined the term “new-collar” jobs.

As national focus on this developing sector of the workforce increases, we’re digging into the definition of new-collar jobs to uncover how they can impact entire industries.

Join us as we explore our findings and look into several examples of new-collar jobs you might come across in today’s labor force.

What are New-Collar Jobs?

Rometty has defined her coined phrase as including jobs that may not require a traditional college degree. In doing so, she hopes to help entire industries acknowledge a shift that needs to occur amidst hiring managers to look beyond the four-year degree and focus instead on a candidate’s relevant skills—particularly when obtained through valuable hands-on experience.

That being said, there’s no set-in-stone definition of the term or master list of jobs that fit the bill. Generally speaking, new-collar jobs are defined as skilled positions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree and often require some degree of technological know-how.

7 New-Collar Jobs to Consider

Many new-collar jobs can be found in the fields of healthcare and technology, and many of these positions offer respectable compensation levels. They’re also among some of the most in-demand jobs in today’s market.

Whether you’re looking to enter the workforce for the first time, you’re hoping to transition back to the workplace after taking some time off or you’ve been eager to change your career path, there are plenty of promising opportunities with new-collar jobs. Consider the following examples.

1 Pharmacy technician

Professionals who pursue a career as a pharmacy technician are able to enjoy the numerous benefits of working in the medical field without having to spend a handful of years immersed in formal medical training. So what do they do? In simple terms, pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist to prepare medications for customers.

Typical duties include measuring, mixing, counting, labeling and recording dosages of medications from prescription orders in addition to some basic clerical work like obtaining patient information, data entry and filing.

2 Cyber security analyst

With an increasing amount of valuable data being stored online, it should come as no surprise that information security has become a hiring focal point for many organizations—in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of information security analysts to grow 28 percent by 2026.* Cyber security is one area of new-collar expertise that is so in-demand that Congress has actually considered passing a bill that would grant tax credits to employers who pay for workers to receive specialized training in it—though that bill still has a ways to go before becoming law.

Political wrangling aside, working as a cyber security analyst requires a wealth of hands-on experience with common security technologies and a working knowledge of networking services, protocols and design principles. These tech pros are responsible for designing and developing security architectures and frameworks within dynamic and adaptive online environments.

3 Physical therapist assistant

As a physical therapist assistant, you would team up with physical therapists to help patients regain their full range of motion after an injury or when an illness provides temporary setbacks. This is an ideal career path for those who want to get out from behind a desk and be able to directly observe the ways your work can impact the lives of others.

Physical therapist assistants spend a lot of time working one-on-one with patients, observing their progress and showing them new stretches and exercises to help get them functioning at their peak levels. In addition to working to help patients regain typical range of motion, these medical professionals can contribute to the design of a patient’s treatment plan and provide any necessary education to patients and their families.

4 Web developer

As you may have assumed, web developers specialize in building websites, but their duties span much further that. These tech pros are tasked with analyzing user needs to ensure the right content, graphics and underlying structure is used to both meet the goals of the user and the goals of the website owner.

Typical duties of a web developer include using authoring or scripting languages to build websites; writing, designing and editing web page content, or delegating others to do so; identifying and correcting problems uncovered by user testing and converting written, graphic, audio and video components to compatible web formats.

5 Medical assistant

Professionals in patient care, medical assistants can work in a wide range of settings, from large hospitals to ambulatory care. They work under the direction of a supervising physician as they perform various administrative and clinical tasks. Administrative duties include updating patient records, scheduling appointments and navigating billing and insurance.

The clinical aspects of the medical assistant job include assisting the physician in taking and recording patients’ vital signs, explaining procedures to patients and their loved ones, administering medications, drawing blood, sterilizing equipment and conducting a variety of tests in the lab.

6 Radiologic technologist

With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age and additionally needing more medical care, it’s no surprise technical medical support roles are in-demand. One of the key components to medical care, diagnostic imaging, is performed in part by radiologic technologists—a career that fits the “new-collar” label very well. Radiologic technologists are healthcare professionals who use specialized equipment to create X-ray images or mammograms that help doctors diagnose ailments and determine treatment options.

7 Computer user support specialist

We live in a digital world—practically every business and organization relies on a host of computers, networks and devices to keep things running smoothly. While most people do a good job of using this technology for their specific jobs, things get a bit dicey when the technology they use isn’t working as intended. That’s where computer user support specialists come in.

Computer user support specialists, often called help desk specialists, are the tech professionals who work directly with users to ensure their devices are working properly. They troubleshoot issues, install and remove hardware and software and perform regular maintenance to keep computer networks up and running.

Could a New-Collar Job be Your Dream Career?

New-collar jobs present a bevy of new opportunities for American workers of all ages who don’t have four-year college degrees. If you’re looking for your chance to enter into a new field, these careers may be an excellent starting point to consider.

Source: rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/new-collar-jobs/

About Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Post Military Life – Reflecting Over a Decade

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Bobby McDonald -

Post Military Life  – Much has changed in the world and in our country since our publication was founded. Everywhere we look, times are shifting, and it’s our goal to always be a part of learning from the past to make the future better and brighter for those who have been called to serve. The impact of veterans in their communities is multifold. They bring their skills, expertise, values and work ethic to local business, politics and the community at large. However, they have, unfortunately, not always received the aid and respect that is due to someone who honorably served in our armed forces.

As U.S. Veterans Magazine celebrates 10 years of supporting those who have been called to serve, we asked some of our partners about the difference they’ve seen in the veteran experience over the last decade.

U.S. Veterans Magazine: What do you believe has been the most significant change or benefit to veterans in the last 10 years?

Bobby McDonald, OC Black Chamber of Commerce:

Orange Country Black Chamber of Commerce Member in a White Shirt and Black spotted tie smiling - Post Military LifePhoto Credit: Courtesy of Orange Country Black Chamber of Commerce

“In the year 2012, in the county of Orange, in the State of California, there were over 150,000 veterans living in the county. Orange County was the third largest county in California behind Los Angeles and San Diego and had no outside funding or support other than the Veterans Service Office, which came basically from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, through the County of Orange. The Orange County Veterans Advisory Council (OCVAC) was formed and comprised of members appointed by the OC Board of Supervisors. The board was made up of nine members that were U.S. military veterans with honorable discharges. In 2012, the OCVAC was injected with [a] couple of Vietnam veterans that were of the mindset to make a positive change in the veterans environment and set a course of involvement, awareness, outreach, resource availability and positive outcomes. Armed with the theme ‘Have We Helped A Veteran Today’ and a commitment to help veterans get housing, education, health, employment and legal support, the group set forth to make positive measurable changes with partnerships.”

Keith King, National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC):

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NVBDC

“The inclusion of veteran-owned businesses in the supplier diversity programs of America’s leading corporations is the most significant change of the past 10 years of successful post military life. When veteran businesses were first identified as legal contracting entities in the federal government, many veteran businesses celebrated. But the hype never lived up to the promise. As the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) was forming in late 2012, it was clear that, if a third-party certification organization could create a certification program for veteran business owners that met corporate supplier diversity standards, the corporations would give certified veterans a chance to compete for contracts. In 2014, when the NVBDC presented its certification program to a group of corporations, they all gave NVBDC their tacit approval. By 2017, when the 28 corporations of the Billion Dollar Roundtable named NVBDC as the only acceptable veteran business certification to use to capture and report their veteran business spend amounts, they created an $80 billion opportunity for our veteran businesses.”

Phil Kowalczyk, President and CEO of Camp Corral:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Camp Corral

A man standing in from of his military service medals - Post Military Life
National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC)

The awareness and understanding of mental health challenges veterans, caregivers and their families are facing has been the most evolving trend over the last decade. Furthermore, the demographics of military and veteran communities continue to change rapidly, especially among caregivers. Camp Corral’s research has indicated that 70 percent of military children perform at least one caregiving task in wounded warrior households. Many of them experience similar emotional health challenges as their adult counterparts and caregiver responsibility can affect a child’s ability to participate in activities non-military children typically pursue. The Biden Administration recognizes these challenges and is dedicating more resources to serving military and veteran families through the ‘Joining Forces’ initiative. Commitments include support for caregiver economic opportunities and respite as well as increasing access to quality behavioral, social and emotional health resources for military and veteran families. These initiatives will be essential post military life  steps in ensuring community providers have the resources they need to provide culturally competent and evidence-based care for both children and adult caregivers of our country’s ill, wounded and fallen military heroes and veterans.”

The Rosie Network:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Rosie Network

“The U.S. offers the most extensive veteran benefits in the world. Despite this, there remain much-needed improvements and one of the most significant is the Mission Act (2019) allowing veterans to seek treatment of the VA. As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I watched my mother sacrifice her nursing career to support my father’s 20 years of active-duty service. Living on a single enlisted income meant falling below the poverty line and [into] financial hardship. While military spouses continue to struggle with employment, there has been a significant shift over the past 10 years to address this issue. Today, military and veteran spouses have access to organizations and resources from Military OneSource to those seeking self-employment support from The Rosie Network.”

Patrick Alcorn, UTAVBOC:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of UTAVBOC

“The most significant benefit to veterans over the last 10 years includes the expansion of the Veterans Business Outreach Center program. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development created this program, specifically, to empower post military Life veterans and military spouses who are interested in starting anl growing

Women in the Military – First Career Accomplishments for Females in the Military

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Women in the Military - Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson

Women in the Military – In recent years, there have been numerous firsts for women in the military. Women are shattering barriers and inspiring others through their dedication to serving our country and their commitment to mission readiness. Demonstrating that grit and perseverance combined with a passion for service and adherence to excellence are the cornerstones of success for women in the military, we celebrate them as they continue to reach new heights.

 

First Woman Leads SOUTHCOM: Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson

Photo Caption and Credit: Gen. Laura J. Richardson (Courtesy of U.S. Southern Command)

Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson is a four-star general in the U.S. Army and commander of U.S. Southern Command where she oversees U.S. military operations across Central and South America and the Caribbean. Prior to leading SOUTHCOM, she was the commanding general of U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

During her Senate confirmation hearing Richardson said, “We must hasten to pick up the pieces left by the pandemic and transform our relationships to meet 21st-century security challenges. Put simply, winning together with our allies and partners matters.” Richardson continued, “We will draw upon the strength in our neighborhood from partners who share our values of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and gender equality.”

According to SOUTHCOM, “Over her career, General Richardson has commanded from the Company to Theater Army level as a notable women in the military . She commanded an Assault Helicopter Battalion in combat in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), deploying her unit from Fort Campbell, Ky. to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has also served in numerous staff assignments at a myriad of locations, including Military Aide to the Vice President at the White House in Washington, D.C., the Army’s Legislative Liaison to Congress at the U.S. Capitol and at the Pentagon as an Army Campaign Planner.”

Source: southcom.mil

 

First Female State Command Chief for Minnesota Air National Guard

Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Erikson -Women in the Military - Women in the MilitaryPhoto Caption and Credit: Master Sergeant Lisa Erikson (MN Air National Guard)
Master Sergeant Lisa Erikson is the most senior enlisted member of the Minnesota Air National Guard. As the State Command Chief, she plays a vital role in the development and readiness of the force. Since October 2021, she has been responsible for leading and managing roughly 2,000 Airmen located at two separate wings and one headquarters across Minnesota.

“My priorities are to build relationships to improve the resiliency of the force so we may provide this state and nation a ready force,” said Erikson. “I will also provide opportunities for development and growth” for women in the military.

According to the Minnesota Air National Guard, “Erikson brings tremendous diversity of experience having held six very different duty positions throughout her 32 years of service. She began her career as a Jet Engine Mechanic on the C-141 cargo aircraft. She succeeded in this traditionally male career field in a time when there were only five to six percent females in the U.S. Air Force. She transitioned into administrative roles include training manager, personnel systems manager and 148th Recruiting Office Supervisor. She served as the Senior Noncommissioned-Officer-In-Charge of the 148th Medical Group for 10 years. In this role, she deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom as part of the Wing’s aviation deployment.”

Source: 133aw.ang.af.mil

 

Utah National Guard Promoted First Brigadier General

Photo Caption and Credit: Brig. Gen. Charlene Dalto (Courtesy of Utah National Guard)

In May 2021, Col. Charlene Dalto became the first female to be promoted to brigadier general in the Utah Army National Guard, assuming the role of commander of the Utah National Guard Land Component Command.

She served the first 20 years of her military career as an enlisted Soldier, attaining the second-highest rank as a master sergeant. Dalto then commissioned as a first lieutenant working with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps for 18 years as an officer.

Dalto shared, “Throughout my military career, I have been privileged to know many great Soldiers and be mentored by outstanding leaders. I pledge to continue that tradition for the Soldiers under my command. Together, we will dedicate ourselves to the great tradition of the Utah Army National Guard for excellence in serving the citizens of Utah and our great nation.”

Source: ut.ng.mil

 

First Latina Earns Expert Infantryman Badge

Photo Caption and Credit: 1st Lt. Maria Eggers (Spc. Johnathan Touhey/U.S. Army)

Army 1st Lt. Maria Eggers earned the expert infantryman badge in April 2021when she completed the five-day test that gauges the ability to execute a variety of critical infantry skills and a Soldier’s physical fitness. The test evaluates skill mastery in various environments and under stress. While all combat roles opened to women in 2016, fewer than 100 women serving in the U.S. Army have received the expert infantryman badge.

Eggers was raised in a military family with both of her parents serving, which inspired her to join the military. She is currently serving at Fort Hood as a platoon leader.

When asked about her experience and upon learning that she was the first Latina to earn the award in the regiment, Eggers said, “I was shocked by how few females have had the opportunity or who have tried. I definitely think it is amazing that we have females that are in this profession and that we’re succeeding. There is a lot of good talk that happens whenever somebody is successful. It just shows that we can do it, and that females are strong, and we can handle this job too.”

Soldiers begin the five-day test by running four miles in 40 minutes then demonstrating their weapons skills. On day two they wear their combat gear while completing day and night land navigation courses. On the third and fourth days, the Soldiers are evaluated on their ability to care for injured personnel. On day five, they complete the ruck, a 12-mile foot march completed in three hours while wearing full body armor. The test is both a challenge, both physically and mentally.

Source: NBC

 

First Female General Strengthens West Virginia Army National Guard

Col. Michaelle M. Munger - Women in the MilitaryPhoto Caption and Credit: Then Col. Michaelle M. Munger (Courtesy of West Virginia National Guard)

Col. Michaelle M. Munger was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in December 2021, making her the first female general officer for the West Virginia Army National Guard. Munger has served in every component of the U.S. Army — active duty, U.S. Army Reserves and the Army National Guard throughout her 27-year career.

“Having a female voice at the table is critical in strengthening our National Guard,” Munger said. “What we bring to the mission is unique not because we are females, but because of our ability to approach the mission in perhaps a different perspective and viewpoint. Additionally, by being at the table, we can display our competency and capabilities, and to dispel stereotypes to help younger Soldiers not face the same gender-related limitations and hurdles we might have faced in our own careers. Every Soldier needs to be heard and judged based not on their sex, but by their ideas and vision.”
Munger serves as Special Assistant to the Adjutant General of West Virginia where she assists with special projects, mentorship, inclusion and diversity initiatives and leadership development within the WVNG.

“My own method to success has been perseverance and self-reflection,” she said. “And I try to instill in every Soldier I work with to be the 4 Ps: Productive, Present, Prompt, Professional. I am super-excited for the talented, smart, bright, energetic younger crop of women now entering the military and the opportunities and doors that are continually opening to them. They inspire me, and hopefully, I inspire them too. But I want to be a role model for all Soldiers, not just females, that doing the right thing, growing where you are planted and making the effort will allow you to succeed.”

Source: wv.ng.mil

 

Alabama Air National Guard Named First Female General

Brigadier General Tara D. McKennie - Women in the MilitaryPhoto Caption and Credit: Tara D. McKennie (then-Air Force Col.) (Courtesy of Alabama National Guard)
Brigadier General Tara D. McKennie, the Assistant Adjutant General-Air and Air Component Commander, Joint Force Headquarters, Montgomery, Ala., commands all units of the Alabama Air National Guard, and serves as the key advisor to the Adjutant General of Alabama on all matters relating to the air mission. She is the first Black female general officer in either component of the Alabama National Guard.
McKennie enlisted in the Air Force in 1989 as an airman basic, serving six years on active duty before commissioning as a second lieutenant through the Army’s Officer Candidate School in 1999.
McKennie’s entire professional career has been in health care operations focusing on optimization theory, implementation of management processes and developing and leading people. In addition to her military service, McKennie is currently Vice President of Culture and Leadership Development for a national physician practice, supporting and leading operations for 5000+ employees.

Source: al.ng.mil

 

MCRD San Diego Celebrates First Female Boot Camp Graduates

Photo Caption & Credit: Female Marines from Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, congratulate each other after graduating from boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, Calif. For the first time in MCRD San Diego’s history, male and female platoons completed their 13-week training concurrently in a gender-integrated company. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

In May 2021, dozens of women graduated from boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, marking a first for the Marine Corps. This milestone event is part of the Marine Corps’ efforts to expand training opportunities for female Marines. Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, was the camp’s first ever co-ed company. In 2019, Congress ordered the Marine Corps to make both boot camps, Parris Island, S.C., and San Diego co-ed. In the past, women could only train and become enlisted Marines at Parris Island, training apart from the men in their battalion. With the passage of the 2019 law, Parris Island was required to integrate women into training alongside men within five years and San Diego was given eight years. San Diego adopted the change six years sooner than required.

Fifty-three women completed the grueling Crucible, a three-day training exercise, and earned the name Marine while also making history. According to military.com, “The platoon of female recruits won the final drill competition last month; they also had the highest Physical and Combat Fitness Test scores in their company. And their rifle range scores were higher than the average female platoon at Parris Island.”

Source: military.com

Professional Athletes with Military Service – Meet Your Patriotic Superstars

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Professional Athlete with Military Service - Dusty Baker

Professional Athletes with Military Service are some of the jobs our nation’s veterans transition to, besides a multitude of different and exciting industries once they’ve completed their military service. Several have become some of the biggest names in sports. Here are some of your favorite athletes who also spent time in the military.

 Dusty Baker – Professional Athletes with Military Service

Photo Credit: Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Johnnie B. “Dusty” Baker Jr. has been a baseball phenom for his entire career. He played baseball from 1976 to 1986 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. Baker coached for the San Francisco Giants from 1988 to 1992; and has managed five major league teams since 1993, currently managing for the Houston Astros. Throughout his career, he has become a two-time All-Star, a World Series Champion and has been recognized three times as National League Manager of the Year. Dusty Baker is also a U.S. Marine. Baker served in the Marine Corps Reserve as a mechanic motor transport from 1968 to 1974 during the Vietnam War. “Out here on the baseball diamond, it’s like teammates are your brothers,” Baker said of the similarities between baseball and the service, “I learned more about teamwork in the Marines, more than anything else. If we get in a fight or whatever there is, you better not touch my teammate.”

Source: Department of Defense

 

Alejandro Villanueva – Professional Athletes with Military Service

Photo Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Alejandro Villanueva - Professional Athletes with Military ServiceAlejandro Villanueva played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens before his recent retirement from the NFL. He mainly played offensive tackle, becoming one of the Steelers’ starting players and ranking 24th out of all of the offensive tackles in the NFL. Before his football career, Villanueva served in the Army. The son of a Spanish Naval Officer, Villanueva enrolled and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was eventually assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., where he served his first deployment, which earned him a Bronze Star Medal for rescuing wounded soldiers while under enemy fire. Villanueva served three tours in Afghanistan. During his five years of service, Villanueva received the National Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among other recognitions.

Sources: Department of Defense, Wikipedia

 

David Robinson – Professional Athletes with Military Service

Photo Credit: Sporting News via Getty Images

David Robinson - Professional Athletes with Military ServiceDavid Robinson was one of the greatest basketball players of the 1990s. During his time in the NBA, playing for the San Antonio Spurs, Robinson became a two-time NBA champion, the 1995 MVP, a 10-time NBA All-Star and a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. But before he became one of the most admired ball players on the court, Robinson served in the U.S. Navy. Upon receiving his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy, Robinson was assigned to the Civil Engineering Corps at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, where he did engineer work and recruiting campaigns. Keeping his days of service close to his heart, Robinson supports military families in any way he can. He was also a military child whose father was deployed during his upbringing. “I know the price that people pay to serve our country,” Robinson stated to the Department of Defense, “and so it’s just a blessing to be able to come in and encourage the families here that are paying that price for us.”

Source: Department of Defense

 Arnold Palmer – Professional Athletes with Military Service

Arnold Palmer - Professional Athletes with Military Service

Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/WireImage

Although his claim to fame happened decades ago, ardent golfers of any age know the name Arnold Palmer. He won 62 PGA tour titles from 1955 to 1973, making him one of the top five golfers of all time. But before he became a golf superstar, Palmer served with the U.S. Coast Guard for four years. After losing his college friend and roommate to a car accident, Palmer enlisted in the service as a way to give back to his community and save lives. He served from 1951 to 1954 as a lifeguard at Cape May, N.J., and as a photographer at Cleveland East Pierhead Lighthouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Palmer heavily credits his time with the Coast Guard as one of the main influences in his upbringing. In a conversation with Coast Guard historian Richard A. Stephenson, Palmer shared, “I’m very proud of the fact that I was in the Coast Guard… The knowledge that I gained, the maturity that I gained in the Coast Guard made me a better person. The military isn’t just about restrictions, it’s a learning experience, and it’s very important that young people have that opportunity to learn and to know themselves a little better. I think the military helps put that in the right perspective.”

Source: Department of Defense

 

Harris “Hurley” Haywood – Professional Athletes with Military Service

Photo Credit: Army/Terrance Bell-

Harris “Hurley” Haywood - Professional Athletes with Military ServiceHarris “Hurley” Haywood is a world-class race car driver with over 35 years of professional experience under his belt. Haywood has won multiple events, including five overall victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two at the 12 Hours of Sebring. He is credited with the 1988 Trans-Am title, two IMSA GT Championship titles and 23 wins, three Norelco Cup championships, a SuperCar title and 18 IndyCar starts. But before his racing career began, Haywood was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving as a specialist 4 with the 164th Aviation Group near Saigon, Vietnam. After serving his one tour, Haywood returned to the United States and began his racing career, where he used many of the lessons he learned in Vietnam to help him become a better driver. Haywood credits his service for giving him one of the most critical skills to have as a racecar driver: the ability to adapt.

Sources: Department of Defense, Wikipedia

 

Melissa Stockwell – Professional Athletes with Military Service

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Melissa Stockwell - Professional Athletes with Military ServiceMelissa Stockwell is no stranger to athletic successes. A paralympic triathlete swimmer, Stockwell has competed in the Paralympics twice, one of which earned her a bronze medal. She is a three-time gold medalist in the ICU Triathlon World Championships. Before her athletic successes, Stockwell served as an Army Officer in the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. She served from 2002 to 2005 and spent the latter part of her military career deployed in Iraq. While leading a convoy in Baghdad, Stockwell was struck by a roadside bomb, resulting in the loss of her left leg. She retired from the military after the accident, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for her service. Along with taking an interest in swimming, Stockwell worked as a prosthetist and served on the board of directors of the Wounded Warrior Project. Besides her numerous achievements in triathlons, Stockwell holds the title of the first Iraq veteran to be chosen for the Paralympics.

Source: Wikipedia

Post Military Education – 5 Questions You Should Ask Before Going Back to School

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Series with a female as a solidier in an United States Army uniform. Numerous props convey a variety of concepts.

Post Military Education – Going back to school is one of life’s big choices. And like all major decisions, it might feel a little overwhelming — particularly if you’re just starting to navigate the civilian world again after military service.

Make it a little easier by breaking your decision down into smaller steps. If you’re on the fence about whether to continue your education, here are five questions you can ask yourself before taking the leap back into school.

 Happy military student in camouflage uniform and graduate cap standing on copy space background

What is my goal? (Or what do I want to be when I grow up?) 

This one tops our list for a reason. Once you have an answer to this critical question, you can start working backwards. Before you commit money and time to returning to school, think about what you hope to achieve by continuing your post military education and where you see your civilian career taking you. You don’t want to take courses without an endgame in mind because then you might end up with classes you don’t need.

If you’re not sure of your goal, consider the skills you mastered in the military and how they might translate to a civilian career. Evaluate your strengths using a test, like with the CareerScope Assessment at the Department of Veterans to identify potential job courses. See a career counselor or find someone in your field of interest to meet with or even shadow for a day. But you don’t have to do any of this alone. The VA also offers free career and educational counseling to those who are about to leave the military or who have recently transitioned.

 Veteran African Man Person Education. Army Soldier - Post Military Education

What should I study?

Once you’ve decided on a career path, it’s time to choose a program of study for your post military education. If you want to work at VA, you can pick from just about any program. As the largest integrated health care system in the nation, we employ hundreds of thousands of clinical and non-clinical staff across the country. We have job opportunities across the spectrum of careers, not just in health care.

 

Where should I go to school?

There are thousands of colleges in the U.S., ranging from two-year technical schools to four-year liberal arts schools. Narrow down your list by finding a school that offers the program you’re interested in and is located nearby if you plan to attend in person. You might also want to consider a school with an active veteran community and resources for former military for post military education.

 The soldier's military tokens are on dollar bills. Concept: cost - Post Military Education

Can I afford it?

We want to make sure the answer to this question is a definitive yes. As a veteran, you may be eligible to receive funding for some or all of your college, graduate school or post military education training program through the GI Bill — not to mention the generous scholarships, loan repayment and reimbursement and partner programs with colleges and universities that are available to VA employees. The VA National Education for Employees Program (VANEEP) scholarship even pays your salary and tuition while you pursue clinical licensure.

 

Do I have time? 

Juggling a career, family life and school can be a delicate balancing act. Be sure you’re at the right place in your life to devote the time you need to your studies. It might be helpful to make a list of the time challenges you foresee and the resources you can put in place to help you manage them. Building this support system now can save you headaches down the road. At VA, you’ll find a culture of continuous learning with flexible work schedules, possible telework options and generous leave to help you manage going back to school.

 

Source: VAntagePoint Blog

 

Celebrating the Career of General Joane Mathews

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Gen Joane Mathews

A 36-year military career filled with firsts concluded when Brig. General Joane Mathews — the first female Native American general officer in the Army National Guard — retired from her position as Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army.

“As much as I absolutely love my job, the Soldiers and families I work for and with, we have so many outstanding leaders who are ready for that next step,” Mathews said in explaining her decision. “I’ve never been one to hold anyone up.”

Mathews’ military career began in 1986 when she completed the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks. She spent 11 years on active duty as a helicopter pilot and flew numerous missions in northern Iraq’s no-fly zone as part of Operation Provide Comfort. When her time on active duty concluded, she joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

“It was a bit of a culture shock,” she recalled. “But what impressed me the most were the Soldiers. It amazed me how dedicated our Guard members were, then and now — having to comply with the same active-duty regulations and policies, with a lot less time to meet those requirements.”

Mathews spent time during her first drill weekends talking with and learning about her fellow Soldiers.

“I remember being so impressed with what they do on the civilian side,” Mathews said. “It reinforced to me, again, not to judge people by their rank — because a private, a specialist or second lieutenant with just a few years in the military may have years of leadership experience or be a subject matter expert in their career field. Everyone has something to offer and to give.”

Descendants of Red Arrow mark 40th PowWow, 100th anniversary of 32nd Division
Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s assistant adjutant general for readiness and training, receives a ceremonial blanket – photo by Capt. Brian Faltinson

During her time in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, Mathews earned numerous awards and achieved several milestones. She was the state’s first non-medical female colonel, the first female commander of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment and the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s first female brigade commander when she assumed command of the 64th Troop Command brigade.

She was the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s first female chief of staff for Army, and the first female assistant adjutant general for readiness and training when she was promoted to brigadier general. The Fish Clan member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians became the first female Native American general officer in the entire Army National Guard.

In June 2018, after two years as assistant adjutant general, Mathews became the deputy adjutant general for Army, responsible to the adjutant general for the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s performance and readiness for federal and state missions.

“The deputy adjutant general Army position carries a lot of responsibility,” Mathews said. “I care so much for our Soldiers, and I hurt when they hurt. People have and always will be my No. 1 priority.”

Mathews understood that many Soldiers are reluctant to speak to a general officer, so she tried to be as approachable as possible.

“I didn’t let the position go to my head,” she said. “I do my best to try and keep people at ease when speaking with them. I also speak from the heart when I am in front of Soldiers or even one-on-one. I really believe people know when one is being honest and sincere, showing care and concern. They can also see right through you when you’re not.”

Wisconsin Army National Guard names first female brigade commander
Col. Joane Mathews returns the 64th Troop Command brigade colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Marks – photo by Vaughn R. Larson

Her attitude will undoubtedly serve her well in her current role as director of the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy. She began the position in late April, upon the selection of her replacement as deputy adjutant general for Army.

Mathews said she advised Wisconsin’s new deputy adjutant general for Army to stay out of the office and away from the desk as much as possible.

“Walk around the building, talk to Soldiers, Airmen and our civilian employees and retiree volunteers,” she said. “Get out and travel — visit our Soldiers in their environment. And most importantly, when you speak with folks, listen to what they have to say. Be an active listener and a voice of change for them — a change for the better.”

Mathews carried on a legacy of military service in her family and expressed hope when she was promoted to brigadier general that she would be a positive role model for other female service members. She credited her success to her family, both biological and military.

“I have been so very blessed to have worked with so many dedicated Soldiers, Airmen and civilians throughout my career,” Mathews said. “I am grateful for my military career and am happy I will still be a part of the Department of Military Affairs family in my next adventure in life.”

All It Takes Is a Spark: Capital for Veteran-Owned VCs

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J.P. Morgan Asset Management announced a new initiative within its Project Spark program, aimed at providing capital to venture capital funds managed by emerging alternative managers that have served in the U.S. military.

In collaboration with JPMorgan Chase’s Military and Veteran’s Affairs division, the mission is to use the firm’s capital and network to close the funding gap for underrepresented managers and to strengthen the veteran ecosystem in the alternatives industry.

As part of the new initiative, the firm intends to commit an initial $25 million to five or more funds across a range of sectors and specialties, to be overseen by the Project Spark investment committee, which is comprised of diverse senior executives across J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The investments seek to support firms managing venture capital and other eligible, private funds founded by U.S. military veterans.

To launch this new activity, the firm along with Vets-In-Tech (ViT), gathered prospects at its first VetVC Summit, hosted at its world headquarters, featuring panel discussions, networking sessions and guest speakers, including JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon.

“Through Project Spark we have demonstrated our desire to directly impact representation of diverse managers in the alternatives industry and I’m excited to extend this to the veteran VC community,” said Jamie Kramer, Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Alternatives Solutions Group and the chair of the Project Spark Investment Committee. “Through our investments in funds managed by veteran-owned VC firms, we’re not only providing a capital commitment, but also seeking to create a network between the veteran community and the J.P. Morgan investment ecosystem.”

In 2011, JPMorgan Chase established its Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to promote veteran initiatives by weaving them into the fabric of how it conducts business. Focusing on careers, entrepreneurship and financial health, the firm supports veterans through both business-led initiatives like Project Spark, as well as philanthropic efforts and partnerships with top veteran service organizations around the world.

“This investment is a terrific example of how we are using the resources of our firm to lead the industry in creating access to venture capital for the veteran community,” said Mark Elliott, Global Head, Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, JPMorgan Chase. “When we leverage our partnerships across multiple lines of business and activate our global network, the economic opportunities we can create for the veteran community is so powerful.”

Another example of the firm’s commitment to veterans includes CEOcircle. In 2021, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking launched the year-long program for growth-stage businesses in partnership with Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit built by military veteran entrepreneurs with the mission of empowering other military veterans to become leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation. The program provides entrepreneurs with three key resources needed to help grow their businesses: targeted educational programming, peer-to-peer networking via monthly group meetings and financial expertise gleaned from a 10-week mentorship with JPMorgan Chase advisors.

For the 2021-2022 program, Bunker Labs and JPMorgan Chase worked with 40 businesses with 2021 projected annual revenue ranging from $1.5 to $105 million. The businesses, which averaged $13.9 million in annual revenue, represented a diverse array of industries including healthcare, marketing, data and information technology, staffing and recruitment and restaurants. The program is expected to double in size next year.

Source: JPMorgan Chase

1,000 Cups of Coffee: My Journey from Soldier to Civilian Employment

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Army Captain Reserve Ian Newell speaking into mic

By Army Captain Reserve Ian Newell

Approximately 62,000 active-duty Soldiers transition out of the U.S. Army every year. For me, that process began when I started my terminal leave in May 2021. After nearly a decade with the U.S. military, serving in Iraq, South Korea and Fort Hood, I finally found myself settling down in Austin, Texas. Although I had years of experience in leading global operations and project management, I still had no idea what I wanted to do, and I had the thought every transitioning Soldier experiences.

I need a job, and I need it now!

Thankfully, my father, Peter Newell, a successful Army officer turned entrepreneur, gave me solid advice: Be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to reach your potential.

I started with a severe case of imposter syndrome, with the unshakable feeling that the skills and talents I accrued in my eight years in the Army wouldn’t translate to the civilian world. In units where commanders valued innovation, as in deployments, I exceeded expectations and helped drive mission success because I was able to try new approaches. But under other commanders, my ideas and abilities were limited to the rank on my chest. To quote a former commander the first time I had met him: “Defense Innovation is a 2030 vision which isn’t a real thing. If you care about this stuff, you should stop wasting time and get out of the military.”

Upon starting terminal leave, I began my journey of having conversations over “1,000 cups of coffee” to find my path.

Phase 1: Fact-Finding, Expanding Aperture, Discovering “Me”

(May to June: Cups of Coffee 1-250)

My first 100 conversations were a mess. I was all over the place, with no structure for who I was reaching out to or how to prepare or build relationships.

Army Captain Reserve Ian Newell with group of soldiers at awards presentation
Army Captain Reserve Ian Newell is presented with a military award

When I first transitioned, I thought that I had to go to UT Austin for an MBA because I loved Austin, Texas, and wanted to stay in the city. My first 10 conversations were with my family and close mentors I’ve known for years — the next 15 included leaders in military transition at UT Austin. For conversations 26-50, my network expanded from family friends to members of my dad’s company (BMNT) and startup founders who had launched the Hacking 4 Defense academic course. It became clear receiving an MBA was not the only way a transitioning officer could be successful in civilian life.

The following 200 coffees were incredibly difficult. Conversations 51-100 included tech VPs, startup founders and seasoned military officers about to transition themselves. A VP from a large tech company told me he would never hire me because my resume sounded like an “Army ******bag,” and a startup founder told me not to waste someone’s time by not doing research into the company and preparing questions.

I realized I needed to not only expand my education but to better prepare myself to answer people who look past my previous achievements and ask, “OK, what are you going to provide me now?” This led me to take my first few certification courses from Coursera. After completing the Google Project Manager certification, I dove headfirst into innovation, artificial intelligence and blockchain. And I dedicated myself to completing transition support services such as those provided by the COMMIT Foundation.

Those first 250 conversations helped me learn I was drawn to space and that my strengths lie in my ability to learn and innovate in complex environments rapidly. These realizations culminated in me applying for an internship with the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Phase 2: Transformational Phase

(July to September: Cups of Coffee 251-500)

It didn’t get any easier. I had depleted half of my savings and was starting a new internship in an unfamiliar field with the Air Force Research Laboratory, and I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I “grew up.”

There were victories along the way — I received a full scholarship to U.C. Berkeley’s venture capital program and was accepted to AFRL’s SPECTRE fellowship. But it all suddenly stopped clicking. I had taken on way more than I could handle until one day, I sat on the floor of my closet, paralyzed with anxiety because I couldn’t choose an outfit to wear to a networking event. It was my “come to Jesus” moment.

Mental health is important in any transition into civilian life. But I ignored the signs and instead leaned into going out, eating poorly and working myself to exhaustion to try and manage the stress of transition without acknowledging what I was feeling.

To jumpstart my process, I signed up for local conferences I was interested in. Then, one evening after the Joint All Domain Command and Control conference, I headed to a local bar to get some work done for SpaceWERX. A group of men from the conference walked in, and I decided to introduce myself. A couple of beers and hours of conversation later, I had my first meaningful job offer in the artificial intelligence industry with a company called BigBear.ai, which uses AI and machine learning to facilitate data-driven decision support for government leaders.

Phase 3: Networking and Personal Growth

(September to January: Cups of Coffee 501-1,000+)

My number of “coffees” exponentially increased between September and January. I ended up accepting the job offer from BigBear.ai as the Senior Account Executive for Defense Innovation. I turned the offer with BigBear.ai down twice before accepting, when I finally stopped doubting my own skill set.

After being hired, conversations 501-1,000 were focused on networking for work and personal growth. The first half of these were internal in the company. I treated the first month with BigBear.ai as if my job was to get to know the people in the company and their challenges. My biggest takeaway: Companies need to be steadfast in their support of hiring veterans to give veterans the confidence and reassurance that their service would be an asset in their careers.

The 1 in 60 Rule: How Remarkably Successful People Stay on Track to Accomplish Their Biggest Goals

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By Jeff Haden

On March 28, 1979, a sightseeing flight crashed into a mountain in Antarctica, killing all of the 279 people on board. An investigation determined that the crew had not been informed of a two-degree correction made to the plane’s flight path the night before, causing the plane’s navigation system to route them toward Mount Erebus instead of through McMurdo Sound.

Two degrees doesn’t sound like a lot, but in aviation terms, even one degree is huge.

That’s why pilots are taught the 1 in 60 rule, which states that after 60 miles, a one-degree error in heading will result in straying off course by one mile.

Which means the lake you planned to fly over could turn out to be a mountain.

Keep in mind the 1 in 60 rule isn’t just a navigation aid; it’s a mental framework designed to reinforce the importance of making constant course evaluations and corrections.

If you don’t, the farther you go, the more off course you end up.

Which makes the 1 in 60 rule a great mental framework for accomplishing your own goals.

The 1 in 60 Rule in Action

We all have dreams. The people who accomplish their dreams don’t just dream, though. They create processes. They build systems. They establish routines that keep them on track and ensure they reach their ultimate goal.

Oddly enough, they don’t obsess over their goals. They obsess over their processes because greatness results partly from inspiration but mostly from consistent, relentless effort.

And they stay on course because they constantly evaluate their progress and make smart corrections to their process.

Want to turn a dream into a reality? Follow this simple process.

  1. Start with an extremely specific goal.

The further off course you start, the further off course you’ll wind up. That’s why setting a specific goal is so important.

Say you want to get in better shape and be healthier. “Be healthier” sounds great, but it’s too vague. How will you know when you’re “in better shape,” much less, “healthier”?

“Lose 10 pounds in 30 days” is a specific, objective and most critically, measurable goal. You know exactly what you want to accomplish, which means you can create a process designed to get you there. You can create a solid diet plan. You can create an effective workout plan.

You can monitor your progress and make smart course corrections.

Or say you want to grow your business. “Increase revenue” sounds great but is too vague. “Land five new customers this month” is specific, objective and measurable. You know exactly what you want to accomplish, which means you can create a process designed to get you there.

Bottom line? You can’t set an accurate course until you know exactly where you want to go.

  1. Then, forget your goal.

Maintaining a laser-like focus on a goal is critical.

Or not.

One of the biggest reasons people give up on huge goals is the distance between here, where you are today, and there, where you someday hope to be. If you did only $10,000 in sales last month and your target is $1 million in sales per month, the distance between here and there seems insurmountable.

That’s one reason most incredibly successful people set a goal and then focus all their attention on creating and following a process designed to achieve that goal. The goal still exists, but their real focus is on what they do today.

And making sure they do it again tomorrow.

Because consistency matters: What you do every day is who you are.

And who you will become.

  1. Focus on your process. 

Health care providers are taught to check medications three times before delivering to patients. Not because the process itself is complex.

But because the consequence of error is so great.

The same is true for you; the consequence of “error,” in terms of time, effort, money, etc., when you don’t achieve a goal can be considerable. (And depressing: No matter how often you hear “fail fast, fail often,” failure still pretty much sucks.)

Pilots use the 1 in 60 rule to remind themselves to constantly monitor their progress and make quick course corrections.

You also know where you want to go. But you’ll never get there if you don’t regularly monitor and revise your plan based on your progress.

And if you don’t start out on the right path, remember, the 1 in 60 rule states that starting out, one degree off means winding up one mile off 60 miles later.

So don’t just correct your course along the way. Create and follow a process that is proved to work. Pick someone who has achieved something you want to achieve. Deconstruct his or her process.

Then follow it, and along the way, make small corrections as you learn what works best for you.

That way, when you travel your own version of 60 miles, you’ll arrive precisely where you hoped to be.

Jeff Haden is a keynote speaker, ghostwriter, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc., and the author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.

How to Write a Civilian Resume

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Your civilian resume summarizes your background and experience, and it’s likely to be the first information about you that an employer will see.

With your military service, you already have impressive skills and knowledge. These tips will help you make a resume that will stand out.

Collect Your Assets

  • Get a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) through the Department of Defense. Your VMET will give an overview of the skills you’ve gained in the military.
  • Make a list of your technical skills.
    • Computer technicians, mechanics and engineers have skills that can be easily converted to civilian jobs.
    • Convert your military job training into civilian terms. For example, budgeting is a critical skill in civilian companies.
  • Make a list of your intangible skills. This list should include leadership, discipline and a strong work ethic.

Select Your Resume Style

Your resume should highlight your unique qualifications. There are different ways to organize your resume. Pick a style that highlights your strengths.

  • Chronological resume
    • Your employment history is highlighted in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position.
    • Include your responsibilities and accomplishments under each particular job.
  • Functional resume
    • Your skills are highlighted. Your work history and gaps are de-emphasized.
    • Skills and accomplishments should be divided into specific areas of expertise.
  • Combination resume
    • Your skills earned in various jobs are highlighted using a job history format.
    • Your specific skills will form the main body of the resume, followed by a concise employment history.

Include These Essential Components:

  • Contact information: In the heading, include your name, address, phone number and email address.
  • Objective or job target: In one or two lines, say what kind of job you’re looking or applying for and what makes you uniquely qualified.
  • Summary of qualifications: This is a bulleted section just below the objective in the visual center of the resume.
    • Include five or six lines highlighting the skills that qualify you for the job.
    • This will include your experience, certifications and related training.
    • Title this section Highlights of Qualifications, Summary of Skills or Summary of Experience.
  • Employment history: This will vary depending on the type of resume.
  • Education and training: List colleges, schools or military training schools you attended. You can list the school’s name and location, but not necessarily the dates.
  • Special skills: Include foreign languages, computer skills or any other relevant skills that will set you apart.

Make Your Resume Unique to You

You’ve got the basics down. Now use your resume to showcase your unique abilities and accomplishments.

  • Target your resume. Change and tailor your resume for the job you’re targeting. Learn what this employer looks for and highlight those qualities.
  • Translate everything into civilian terms.
    • For example, replace “officer in charge” with “managed.”
    • Take out the acronyms and use terms civilians understand. For example, replace “SNOIC for 2d MarDiv G-3, planning and executing all logistics for operations conducted in our AOR” with “Supervised staff of 15 people. Planned and coordinated operations conducted by various subordinate units within our division.”
  • Include your accomplishments. Use numbers to highlight achievements, if possible. For example, “Managed budget of $100K” or “Reduced training time from 26 weeks to 24 weeks.”
  • Be concise. Limit your resume to one or two pages.
  • Include volunteer experience if it’s relevant to the job. Volunteer experience can add to credibility and character.
  • Leave off unnecessary details. Don’t include marital status, height and weight or religious affiliation. Leave off salary information unless it was explicitly requested.
  • Check spelling and accuracy. Proofread your resume, ask someone else to proofread it and read your resume backward to catch typos.

Write a Cover Letter

Always send a cover letter with your resume. Your cover letter will explain why you’re interested in the position and how your skills make you the best choice for the job.

  • Get the name of the person in charge of hiring. Send your email or cover letter to them. Usually, you can just call the company and ask for their name.
  • Mention the job that you’re applying for in the first paragraph. Focus on describing how your skills and abilities can help the company.
  • Keep it to one page. Use a business-letter format.
  • Always follow up. Mention that you will call to follow up, and don’t forget to do it.

Tap Into Resume-Building Tools

These websites have tools to help you build your resume and translate your military credentials and experience into civilian skills. They reference veterans, but they’re also for active duty.

  • Veterans.gov from the U.S. Department of Labor has an online job exchange with access to employers, skills translators, resume builders, interest profilers, etc.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs at va.gov offers an interest profiler, educational and career counseling and links to other job resources, such as support for veteran-owned small businesses.

Prepare for Your Job Search Early

The earlier you can start your preparation for civilian employment, the better. The Transition Assistance Program office on your installation can help you get started. Military OneSource also offers the Transitioning Veterans specialty consultation to further assist you in transitioning from the military to civilian life.

Taking the next step in your career can be intimidating, but it’s far from impossible. You are qualified and equipped with the right tools. Go get them!

Source: MilitaryOneSource

Put Me in the Game Coach

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By Patrick E. Alcorn

The secret is out. The most successful people in the world don’t just rely on raw talent alone. Those that achieve the honorable, work with someone who can take them further and help them get there faster.Those who become champions in life recognize that real growth requires the humility to seek help. And they understand that success is a journey that requires a trustworthy guide — a coach.

If you are seeking to be more, do more or have more in your life, you cannot go at it alone.

Ask the masters of success. They will tell you that you can get to your destination faster and with less friction, if you leverage your relationship with someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way to tap into your potential. Obstacles and roadblocks become opportunities for growth and achievement in the presence of an advocate who believes in your greatness.

I had the opportunity to meet and connect with multiple champions of change. In the 5th grade, I received private music lessons from Arthur C. Bartner, the long-time noted band director for the USC Trojan Marching Band, who influenced 50 years of musicians. As a 6th grader, I had the opportunity to meet the famed American-Bahamian actor and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Sidney Poitier, who was instrumental in diversifying Hollywood and paving the way for Black actors. By the time I was in junior high school, I had spent my afternoons in the attentive presence of six-term African American Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, who influenced two generations of policymakers and leaders. I attended Hollywood High School surrounded by the children of entertainment giants, and my undergraduate alma mater is the home of the “Long Gray Line,” from which many past, present and future world and business leaders ascend.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I heard Zig Ziglar say, “You can have anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want,” that I began to understand the importance of relationships. I read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, Give and Take by Adam Grant and many, many more books on building effective relationships. I began learning the principles and honing the practices that enabled me to connect with and add value to people who are making a difference.

John Maxwell’s Law of the Inner Circle states, “a leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him.” In this day of strategic alliances and power networks, it’s literally impossible to have long-lasting success without world-class relationship skills, including in social media. According to Jessica Leber, a staff editor and writer for Fast Company’s Co.Exist, the old six degrees of separation theory has shrunk (because of Facebook and other social media). You are now merely four people away from every other human being on Earth. Just think about it! You know Bill, who knows Judy, who knows Lynn, who knows Javier, who knows anyone else you would ever want to know. In essence, you are networked with the entire world. As such, you have a direct connection to people who can empower you to achieve new opportunities and live at a higher level.

So, don’t go at it alone. Life does not have to be an obscure and isolated game of thrones. Life can be an amazing experience where the battle does end when you die. Like the card game where you challenge your opponent to produce a card with a higher face value than your card, the player with the high card wins. You can stack the deck and ensure that you hold the high card more often by connecting your life to someone who lifts you up, encourages you and shares your vision for the future. A coach can increase the likelihood that you will come out on top by empowering you to do all you can with all you are for those who most need what you have to offer.

You cannot play the game of life with just your unique talents. Success is a team sport, and you must leverage empowering relationships. Apply the Law of the Inner Circle and surround yourself with people you admire and respect: people you want to become like as you grow. Find someone who can get you in the game.

Patrick E. Alcorn is the Founder of Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference and Director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center University of Texas at Arlington. He is a Certified Executive Leadership Coach who empowers entrepreneurs to get up, get out and keep moving.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. Multiple Hire GI Hiring Events During June-December!
    June 21, 2022 - December 8, 2022
  4. REBOOT WORKSHOP – VIRTUAL
    September 12, 2022 @ 8:00 am - January 20, 2023 @ 5:00 pm
  5. Americas Warrior Partnership 9th Annual Symposium
    October 4, 2022 - October 6, 2022