Air Force Vet’s Business Franchises Take Flight

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Headshot of Don Stone

By Rhonda Sanderson

Don Stone’s entrepreneurial spirit first began when he learned to fly while serving in the Air Force. After leaving the service, Stone took his flight knowledge and chose to open his first business as a fixed-based operation, which is basically a gas station for planes, at a small airport in Colorado.

While it was a fun business overall, he faced challenges with the city and county governments that owned the airport. This experience helped him immensely for his next endeavor—owning and operating a franchise.

Stone’s first franchise was part of a 216-location hair salon company near Texas. After selling that business in 2000, he was immediately interested in purchasing another.

“My experience with franchising was what made me pursue future opportunities,” Stone shared. “I spoke to someone in Dallas about a mobile pet grooming business that wanted to expand and start franchising. Because of my experience with the hair salon franchise, I thought of using that same model to expand it, but instead ended up buying the business outright.”

After much due diligence, Stone realized it would be complicated to turn the mobile grooming business into a franchise. He was surprised to learn that mobile pet grooming salons are more complicated than the average person would expect, so instead of franchising, he kept the business as it was and it has since grown significantly. Stone now operates over 50 mobile grooming salons in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

As time went on, Stone continued to watch for a complementary business to purchase.

“I knew one of the founders of Pet Butler,” he said. “I watched the business as it grew and franchised.”

Once the Dallas/Fort Worth market opened, he jumped at the chance to diversify by adding a Pet Butler franchise to his current business model.

“It was easy for me to add on because we had the back-office services in place already,” Stone explained. “It was a great way to acquire a much-needed service, popular in the pet specialty services group.”

Stone was able to keep his focus on the same great services for pets in people’s homes or offices. He has a full-time manager and six scoopers—four having been a part of his organization for more than 10 years. And when Pet Butler was acquired by Spring-Green Enterprises in 2017, franchisees of Pet Butler received not only digital marketing help, but also back-office support—a huge advantage Stone says because he’s not tied to a desk.

The company’s National Call Center answers all calls from would be and existing customers, and provides immediate information to the franchise owner.

“Within minutes, we are on the phone with the customer solving any issues or schedule changes.” Stone said.

The back-office support team also handles customer billing and processes payments. Stone has also gotten his son involved with the Pet Butler end of the business, which, frankly, involves the back end of a dog! Stone has a dedicated, full-time Pet Butler manager, but he, too, scoops poop, and his son is learning to become a manager for the business by scooping poop as well.

“He will learn the business by doing, not by taking over,” Stone says.

In fact, all of Stone’s children are involved in both his Pet Butler and mobile grooming businesses. They came to them on their own, which was very important to Stone.

“It is interesting to get a different perspective from my kids,” said Stone, who is proud to build his businesses alongside his kids.

His advice to those veterans thinking about purchasing a Pet Butler franchise?

“You must have an entrepreneurial spirit, but you also need to follow the program,” Stone said, “The franchisor spends a lot of time and money on what works and what does not. A good franchisee will learn from that so they don’t repeat costly mistakes.”

Stone added, “If you’re in the pet business already or are looking for a business in a booming industry, take a serious look at this. Ninety percent of the things you need to know and do are already figured out for you. It’s a great business.”

Pet Butler was acquired in 2017 by Spring-Green Enterprises, the parent company of 43-year-old Spring-Green Lawn Care and SGE Marketing Services. They currently have 30 franchisees located in 26 states with plans to open 60 more within the next 5 years.

To learn more about how Pet Butler serves pets and their people, visit their website here.

To inquire about a franchise, call (844) 777-8608 or visit their website here.

From Section Leader to Software Engineer

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Cody Baerman pictured with his wife in him fatigues

How I utilized my G.I. Bill benefits to launch a career in coding.

By Cody Baermann

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years as a section leader in the infantry. I supervised training for a team of 20, identified and worked on potential deficiencies in our unit, and was a direct adviser to senior management. I was stationed in Afghanistan, behind a machine gun. It was a very different world.

Before I got into coding, right after getting out of the Marine Corps, I was a full-time college student. I was going job to job and was having a hard time deciding exactly what I wanted to do. I changed my major three times – from chemistry to electrical engineering to biology. The only common denominator in all those majors was that they all required a basic coding class.

My wife and I sat down to discuss the aspects of school that I enjoyed the most. All things pointed toward coding. One of the biggest appeals to me is having the ability to create whatever I want – having that freedom to make visualizations come to life. Our daughter was very young, so there was the aspect of my family leaning on me.

From a financial perspective, many coding bootcamps are covered under GI Bill benefits, including Coding Dojo. It was an all-or-nothing situation – just believing in my abilities, and knowing as a family we would work out.

Coding Dojo had an introductory platform they strongly suggested learning: basic algorithms, getting used to the syntax of code. After that, we built programs, which was a whole different level of coding. I did the “follow-alongs” to get the programs to work.

The biggest obstacle I hit was understanding the syntax in the C# track. In those times, if the material doesn’t immediately make sense, you have to put in the work hours. Coding bootcamp is very condensed – you have to put in the time if you want to succeed. It involved a lot of repetition, reworking the same assignments, until the material cemented in my brain.

Coding Dojo had a “20/20 rule”: Stay with a problem for 20 minutes, then ask a partner to help you figure it out. If the two of you can’t do that after 20 minutes, then ask an instructor. The rule promotes teamwork. Once you get into software engineering and development, that’s an important skill to have. There was never a time we felt the coursework was too much, because there was always someone to lean on and solicit help from.

I was anxious as graduation approached. Obviously, with a family, I wanted to get employment right away, so I put the pressure on myself. I sent the same resume to every company – which isn’t the soundest strategy. The key is looking closely at the job description, noting the language they use, incorporating those words, and then tailoring some of your personal projects to that job. Having multiple projects that you can interchange on a resume is important. If you’re applying for a Python developer position, instead of just having one Python project on there, you should list two or three. It proves how well-versed you are in that language.

After a while in the job hunt, Amazon Web Services came out of the blue and they moved very quickly. The second they got in contact, everything just took off. I did a Chime interview, and then after three or four days, I got a phone call with the job offer. It was a big stress reliever to get that call.

When you’re in a military bootcamp, you don’t have a choice to be there. You wake up whenever they want to wake you up, doing whatever they want you to do. In coding bootcamp, you are in charge of your own success. You have to get up and make yourself do it. You have to be self-accountable to succeed; if you don’t, it’s going to be difficult.

The best approach is to be focused and put in the long hours. The more you learn, the easier getting a job will be. You’re going to coding bootcamp to better your life and your family’s future. There will always be self-doubt and challenges. It’s not easy jamming years of learning into just a few months. But once I got going, there was never a point when I thought I couldn’t do it. You just have to fight your way through and be mentally strong. That’s the nature of coding.

Hives for Heroes Helps Veterans Transition Through Beekeeping

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Beehive workers with protective clothing gathered around tree

Hives for Heroes is a national veteran non-profit organization focusing on honey bee conservation, suicide prevention, and a healthy transition from service.

Through the national network of beekeepers and veterans, we provide purpose, education, and healthy relationships fostering a lifelong hobby in beekeeping.

“Hives for Heroes started in Houston, Texas with a small team of dedicated individuals who have become family,” said Steve Jimenez, a founding mentor in Texas. “We have quickly grown into a nationwide organization seeking to serve the next veteran in their local community. The outreach and support from the beekeepers, veterans, and others interested in supporting has been humbling and greatly appreciated.”

Beekeeping is unique, allowing a beekeeper to suit up, overcome fear, accomplish a goal through process-oriented techniques, and walk away with a sense of accomplishment. This practice can easily translate to their personal and professional lives when dealing with PTS and other traumas from service. While there is often a fear associated with bees, when you are careful and respect them, they will continue with their work.

NewBEE veterans and mentors enjoy the therapeutic process of beekeeping and build healthy relationships in communities across America. After military service, many veterans often fall into depression, unhealthy relationships and addictive behaviors which leads to feeling alone, isolated, or become suicidal. Hives for Heroes strives to connect with them to provide a family-friendly community.

“I was medicating myself with lots of alcohol for quite some time,” said Jason Meeks, a mentor in New Mexico. “I was on a path that was going to end bad. I quit the bottle and took up smoking bees. I just wanted a few hives to play with and now I have around 40.”

Healther Aronson, a NewBEE in Texas, says, “Sometimes it gets difficult to unjumble my thoughts and quiet my mind. Working with the bees helps me recenter myself by focusing on their care and needs instead of the stress of the world around us. Plus, it has become an excellent family activity that we can all take part in together.”

Through the nationwide network of beekeepers, Hives for Heroes is able to connect and empower veterans in their pursuit of purpose and joy. By bettering the lives of individuals, there is a positive impact on their community and ultimately the world. Through honey bee conservation, there is a common goal for NewBEEs, mentors, and volunteers to work towards.

“Both of my grandfathers served in the Army,” said Morgan Hill, a volunteer in Texas. “During college, I was a civilian employee of the Army. I love connecting with and hearing each person’s story of resilience and how they are finding peace through beekeeping. “

Please check out our website, hivesforheroes.com, for ways to get involved and support Hives for Heroes through donations, merchandise sales from our shop, or volunteering!

Veterans interested in beekeeping as a NewBEE, and mentors willing to connect and teach veterans, can apply online at hivesforheroes.com/the-hive. Hives for Heroes is expanding rapidly nationwide and is constantly searching for accomplished beekeeping mentors who have at least 3 years of experience.

Check us out @hivesforheroes on social media and use our hashtags #saveBEESsaveVETS #BEEaHero.

Veteran transforming lives through local apprentice program

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Roger Hermeling Headshot

U.S. Veterans Magazine recently had the chance to interview Air Force veteran Roger Hermeling about the apprentice program.

USVM: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your background?
RH: After graduating high school, I went to Bowling Green State University and graduated as a Second Lieutenant commission from the USAF ROTC program. In my 20+ years in the Air Force, I served as Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) on B-52 crews at Loring AFB and Plattsburg AFB.

In Vietnam, I volunteered to be an F-105 EWO in the Wild Weasel program, which was a very select group of elite fliers who put their lives on the line to take down radars guiding Soviet missiles. The program had a 45% loss rate and I still vividly recall one mission where I hit two enemy airplanes. My pilot and I barely escaped.

I completed my active duty in 1982 and then got my master’s degree from Golden State University during my assignment at Langley AFB. My first job after USAF retirement was with Hughes Aircraft Company at Fullerton, CA as Survivability Project Management for the F-117 aircraft.

In addition, I worked for Northrup B-2 program, to provide mission analysis on how to employ the aircraft against high priority targets. Later, I worked for Raytheon Munitions Division and SAIC to find ways to employ their munitions and market their products.

Later in my career I wanted an opportunity to put my military training and experience into practice, so I started working at local community centers in my home state of Texas to help students earn their GEDs. That experience ultimately led me to my current role with SSC Services for Education, where I oversee an Apprenticeship Program as the Director of Training and Procedure.

USVM: Can you tell us about the SSC apprenticeship program that you run?
RH: I spearheaded the Apprenticeship Program in May of 2016. The program is designed to help students, some of whom are Veterans, develop vocational skills for jobs that are in great demand, such as an air conditioning technician or an electrician, so they can find success once the program is complete.

The SSC Apprenticeship Program is a tough one. The four-year apprentice program requires apprentices to take 576 hours of maintenance system operations and log 8,000 hours of on the job training.

The program first started at Texas A&M where I’m located, but we have doubled the program size with 15 apprentices at College Station, TX and a total of 14 more in Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Commerce, Prairie View and Tarleton State, TX.

USVM: How did your military background prepare you for your current role at SSC?
RH: The leadership experience I gained in the Air Force has shaped how I approach every situation both personally and professionally. During my tour at the Fighter Weapons School I was tasked to develop a program syllabus, provide aircrew qualifications, provide classes and flight evaluations for 36 F-4 Wild Weasel aircrews. The situations you’re thrown into in the military give you a crash course in responsibility, accountability, flexibility and teach you how to make critical decisions on the fly.

USVM: What have been your top three accomplishments in your time running the program?
RH: For me, my proudest moments are when I see my students complete the training program. I have graduated nine apprentices from the four-year program and knowing that I helped them find their career calling means the world to me.

Another moment that stands out is when I was able to help three former students, who were also Veterans, get pay bonuses through the VA. I heard about the opportunity, suggested it to them and guided them through the process of applying. I was excited to hear they were all able to get their well-deserved bonus!

Additionally, I’m proud to have helped SSC apply for grants that assist with funding the Apprentice Program. So far, I have secured over $1M in grants. It is a great feeling knowing I can help keep these great programs moving strong for years to come.

USVM: Why would you encourage someone to join the apprenticeship program?
RH: These are the jobs of the future. I often tell students that these jobs are in high demand and pay better than certain careers you can earn with a bachelor’s degree. I would tell any prospective student to consider the numerous benefits of a skilled trade job – it might be the perfect fit for their career.

USVM: What is one piece of advice you have for other Veterans returning to civilian life looking for employment?
RH: Many core values you learn in military service are useful no matter the career path. Responsibility, teamwork, hard work and determination; these are all areas valuable in civilian life. Look at what you learned and see where it can help you in your next endeavor. Trade-licensed professionals are in high demand, well-paid, have job security and projections for tradesman are increasingly positive.

Veteran Career Center Portal Launching in December

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An illustration of a man in a suit standing in front of a large key hole shaped entrance

Estimated to launch in December, the Veteran Career Center job portal’s mission is to connect veterans to a successful civilian career where they can continue putting their talents into practice. Veterans will be able to search through tens of thousands of jobs. This platform is designed to assist veterans who have recently been discharged who may have difficulties finding a job. American companies that hire veterans will benefit from several qualifications they have acquired during their years of service.

Some of the most valued and demanded skills are:

  • Quick learning
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Adapting
  • Resilience
  • Critical thinking

In addition to these great qualifications, your company can receive up to $9,600 in tax credit. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal program from the U.S. government to incentivize more job opportunities for groups that could have difficulties being employed. One of the target groups for this program is veterans. When hiring a qualified WOTC veteran, your company is eligible to receive a tax credit for up to $9,600 per new hire. This can greatly benefit the companies’ tax liability.

Below you can see the criteria to consider a veteran as WOTC qualified:

  • Unemployed for a total period of at least 4 weeks (whether or not consecutive), but less than 6 months in the one-year period ending on the hiring date. Tax credit amount: $2,400.
  • Unemployed for a total period of at least 6 months (whether or not consecutive) in the one-year period ending on the hiring date. Tax credit amount: $5,600.
  • A disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability hired not more than one year after being discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. Tax credit amount: $4,800.
  • A disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability who is unemployed for a total period of at least six months (whether or not consecutive) in the one-year period ending on the hiring date. Tax credit amount: $9,600.
  • A member of a family receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (food stamps) for at least 3 months during the first 15 months of employment. Tax credit amount: $2,400.

Source: globenewswire.com

The 10 Best States for Military Retirees

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Older couple together smiling

Military retirees may find themselves dropped into another war—the one the US is waging against the coronavirus. COVID-19 has killed more Americans than the Vietnam War did and has led to government measures similar to that of wartime, such as restrictions on going out and the conversion of factories to make essential supplies.

Many of our military retirees will need emotional support as they transition back to civilian life amid the pandemic, but may find that support sharply cut back by social distancing. The skyrocketing unemployment rate caused by COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns will also stand as an obstacle to any former military personnel looking to get civilian jobs.

Even without a pandemic, retirement from the military is always difficult, with many retirees facing major struggles, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), disability and homelessness. These veterans must also consider how state tax policies on military benefits vary, along with the relative friendliness of different job markets and other socioeconomic factors when choosing a state in which to settle down.

To help ease the burden on our nation’s military community, WalletHub compared 50 states and the District of Columbia based on their ability to provide a comfortable military retirement. Our analysis uses a data set of 29 key metrics, ranging from veterans per capita to number of VA health facilities to job opportunities for veterans.

10 Best States for Military Retirees

1          Virginia

2          Florida

3          South Carolina

4          Maryland

5          New Hampshire

6          Alabama

7          Maine

8          Minnesota

9          Alaska

10        Idaho

Source: wallethub.com

6 Ways to Support Veteran-Owned Businesses Right Now

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Young African-American man seted with armed folded smiling in a small goods store

By Victoria Kelly

In normal economic times, only half of small businesses survive their first five years. In fragile economic times, that number is much higher.

There has been a lot of attention on small businesses lately, but those of us in the military community need to take extra steps to support veteran-owned businesses specifically. We can’t let out veteran entrepreneurs fail during these months. It is not only about supporting one or two businesses, but the entire cycle of veteran employment—veteran-owned businesses are 30 percent more likely to employ other veterans.

Here are six ways to support veteran entrepreneurs right now:

Shop veteran. Call your local USO and ask if they know any veteran-owned businesses in the area. Veteranownedbusiness.com has a database of businesses by category and state. The American Veteran Owned Business Association also has a list. Consider these businesses not just for your personal needs, but for your business’s needs as well. A lot of these businesses are B2B (business to business) instead of B2C (business to consumer).

Don’t forget about military spouses. A lot of active-duty servicemembers have spouses who are business owners, and they count on that money to make ends meet. Use your military network (Facebook groups, email list, etc.) to ask around about spouse businesses that might be struggling. This includes artists and creators who have lost their source of income. You can find them through the Military Spouse Fine Artists Network.

Spread the word. Use your social media to spread the word about supporting small veteran-owned businesses. I have had great success getting the word out about businesses I like using Nextdoor, a local neighborhood app where neighbors can recommend services and businesses. If you find a business you like, mention them by name specifically.

Buy gift cards. A lot of restaurants and gyms are owned by veterans or military spouses, and they’re among the businesses struggling the most right now. Do an online search or ask around to see if any of them are selling gift cards for future use. What they need most of all is a cash influx to sustain them right now.

Identify nonprofits that are investing in veteran entrepreneurs. The PenFed Foundation, for example, has a Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program that invests in veteran-owned businesses. VetFran support veterans in franchising. Warrior Rising was founded by combat vets and provides grants and mentorship to veteran entrepreneurs. All of these nonprofits count on the support of donors to help the veteran community.

Offer your mentorship. If you are a business owner or have experience in business consulting, volunteer your time. You can become a mentor to a veteran-owned business through Warrior Rising, ementorprogram.org, or SCORE.

While active-duty military are fortunate to have a steady paycheck and healthcare right now, many reservists, veterans and spouses don’t. The military and veteran communities have to support each other. Do what you can to find someone you can help during this time. Even if you can only give $20 or 20 minutes of your time, it’s worth it.

Reprinted with permission from Sandboxx.us. Please check out SandboxxNews.com for similar content.

Veterans: Interested in a Federal Job?

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A woman smiling with a laptop and two small American flags in front of her

Working for the federal government can be a great option for veterans. Depending on the circumstances, government jobs can offer greater stability than jobs with private companies.

In addition, veterans’ skills often transfer readily to federal agency work, making veterans particularly valued candidates.

How are federal civil service jobs structured?

There are three distinct areas in federal civil service:

  • Competitive Service: offers the greatest number of federal jobs, based in the executive branch of federal government, and veterans’ preference applies. Search for these on USAJOBS.gov
  • Excepted Service: jobs that are excepted from rules of competitive service—agencies may hire in this category when it’s not feasible or practical to hire under competitive service rules. Job notices may either be on USAJOBS.gov or on individual agency websites. Veterans’ preference applies.
  • Senior Executive Service: primarily executive or managerial jobs, emphasizing leading change, leading people, driving results, business acumen, and building coalitions. Some job notices are published on USAJOBS.gov; many are internal postings. Veterans’ preference does not apply.

What is veterans’ preference?

Veterans’ preference gives eligible veterans preference in hiring over many other applicants. It does not guarantee veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions and transfers. Eligibility for veteran’s preference is based on dates of active duty service and other specifics of service; not all active duty service qualifies. Learn more about veterans’ preference. 

How can you find federal job openings?

Your federal job search process starts with identifying the type of job you want. Then search for titles related to that job on the USAJOBS website. There are many federal agencies and on any given day USAJOBS lists thousands of jobs available with most of these agencies. You don’t need an account to search for a job, but you must register to apply.

You can apply to most federal jobs with a resume. Use the resume builder on USAJOBS to help ensure your resume is appropriate for federal job applications. Federal resumes must be targeted and tailored to the position, and are usually several pages long, compared to 1-2-page resumes for private sector jobs.

How do you ensure you qualify?

Vacancy announcement” is the federal government’s term for a job description, and it’s critical that you read each carefully to ensure you qualify before applying. There is a difference between being eligible and qualified for federal positions; to be selected, a candidate must meet both criteria.

Eligible

Being eligible for a position means meeting basic criteria. Make sure to review the criteria listed in the “who may apply” section of the announcement. While veterans have access to many of the positions posted on USAJOBS.gov, some jobs may limit the candidate pool, for example, to current employees only.

Qualified

To be qualified for a position, you must meet the specialized skills, specific experience, and any other criteria outlined in the vacancy announcement. Vacancy announcements have a special section for qualifications and evaluations. This is the most important section in determining whether you qualify for the position, so analyze this section to find the key words and specific skills to include in your resume.

Source: careeronestop.org

Army’s New Initiative Promotes Diversity & Inclusion

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Three active duty personnel having a discussion in front of a model airlplane

By Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) / Deputy Chief of Staff G-1

Project Inclusion is the U.S. Army’s new initiative to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams.  As directed by the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army, this holistic effort will listen to the Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members, and identify practices that inadvertently discriminate.

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

The Army has enacted a range of initiatives to include training to elevate unconscious bias awareness and mitigate its impacts. The Army is taking substantive actions to ensure promotion and selection boards to be fair and impartial. Project Inclusion will include the following initial measures:

  • Updating its Diversity and Inclusion training across the Professional Military Education from the ranks of Private to the General Officers and Senior Executive Service Members
  • Suspending use of the DA photo from all promotion boards beginning August 2020
  • Redacting race, ethnicity, and gender data from both the Officer and Enlisted Record Briefs
  • The Army Equity and Inclusion Agency and the Office of the Inspector General will conduct listening sessions in the upcoming weeks visiting Soldiers and Army Civilians based worldwide to converse on race, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • The Army will conduct an assessment of any possible racial disparity within the Military Justice cases and specifically focus on AWOL, urinalysis, sexual assault, and sexual harassment to determine whether or not there is a trend for bias.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

The Army has ongoing efforts nested within the Army People Strategy to improve diversity across the force and build cohesive teams. The Army will:

  • Finalize its Army People Strategy: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion annex – contains five Goals (Leader Commitment, Talent Management, Organizational Structure, Training and Education, and Equitable and Inclusive Environment)
  • Develop diversity initiatives that improve, identify, and eliminate institutional practices that inadvertently disadvantage any of its people on immutable characteristics that do not relate to the core mission
  • Be a national leader in providing equitable and inclusive opportunities and find ways to eliminate any subculture that threaten the Army Values.

Why is this important to the Army?

The strength of the Army comes from its diversity. Developing and maintaining qualified and demographically diverse leadership is critical for mission effectiveness and is essential to national security. The Army must foster a culture of trust and accept the experiences, culture, characteristics, and background each Soldier and Civilian brings to the institution. The Army must foster an equitable and inclusive environment that facilitates building diverse, adaptive, and cohesive teams that enable the Army to build and sustain readiness.

Source: army.mil

Six Things Veterans Can Do to Successfully Transition from A Military Career

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transition-to-civilian

Veterans making military career changes can be challenging and stressful. While transitioning from the military, choosing a career at VA can make the experience a lot easier and less stressful.

At VA, we understand the unique circumstances transitioning service members face and have created plenty of resources and tools to support you in your move to a new career. You will work alongside other veterans as you continue your mission to serve.

Here are six things you can do to successfully transition from a military career to one at VA:

  1. Prepare for your transition well in advance.

Planning and preparing for your next move can help relieve stress and boost your confidence. Take advantage of what’s available to you while you’re still a service member, such as the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program.

Take stock of your skills and think about how you could parlay them into a job at VA. For instance, VA created the Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) Program to hire former medics and military corpsmen into positions at VA medical centers. Ask supervisors for letters of referral or to serve as job references. Brush off your resume and make it shine.

Talk with former service members who have already transitioned to civilian careers for tips and moral support. If you think you want to switch careers or need more education or training to make you competitive in your current career, explore educational opportunities and see how VA benefits may support you.

  1. Make LinkedIn your best friend

LinkedIn is an invaluable career tool that can help you network, search for jobs and take advantage of career-building resources. VA offers transitioning service members a free year of LinkedIn Prime, which includes more than 14,000 LinkedIn learning courses.

LinkedIn Prime also has two learning paths for Veterans: Transition from Military to Civilian Employment and Transition from Military to Student Life. Need some help navigating LinkedIn? Check out these four VA Careers videos for tips on using LinkedIn for your job search.

  1. Activate your support network

Job hunting can take a toll on even the most persistent job seeker. That’s why having a support network is a good idea. In addition to current and former military colleagues, family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances may all potentially be great contacts.

You might be surprised to learn where they worked, who they know and who they might be able to connect you with. Keep an open mind and network, network, network!

  1. Spend time on the VA Careers website

The VA Careers website has all kinds of resources to help you explore and apply for positions at VA. A page dedicated to veterans has useful information about benefits and veterans’ hiring preference — and lets you view available opportunities or search for specific VA careers.

On our Navigating the Hiring Process page, you’ll find an instructional guide that can help you search and apply for positions through USAJOBS.gov, as well as tips for preparing and submitting a job application.

The VA Careers blog is chock full of information about topics like how to ace a cover letter, how VA helps transitioning service members and spouses pursue civilian careers and what you can expect in a post-military career at VA. Consider participating in virtual career fairs, allowing you to speak with VA recruiters and learn about available positions.

5. Contact a VA recruiter

Be proactive and email a VA recruiter. Connecting with a VA recruiter will speed the job application process and help you secure an interview. A recruiter can answer questions and guide you on finding the opportunity that best matches your skillset, preparing your resume and planning for interviews.

6. Finally, don’t give up!

Finding a job takes time and patience, especially in a tight job market. Create a transition plan, rely on your network, use LinkedIn often, take advantage of all the resources VA Careers has to offer, connect with a recruiter and stick with it!

Source: VA.gov

3 Career Fields That Require Experience That Veterans Already Have

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IT Professional working on a laptop

By Jay Hicks

Preparing for the transition from active duty to civilian life can be challenging, especially when it comes to career choices.

If you are in mid-transition to civilian life, you probably have been told to hone your resume for the job you want. If you’re concerned about relating your military skills to the rest of world, don’t worry. Here are three great career fields for your career after the military.

LOGISTICS
It’s not just for the loggies anymore! The outlook through 2025 indicates 21% growth for the logistics industry, far better than the national outlook average of 11%.

How many inventories have you been involved with? Have you worked in the NBC or arms room? You know how to order supplies, stock and issue repair parts, clothing and gear utilizing the supply system. You have been responsible for proper transaction follow up and receipt procedures, how to enhance warehouse layout and storage, and the proper operation of the Government Purchase Card Program.

You have driven countless miles, performed duties associated with hazardous material control and management, and maintained inventory databases for material stocked in warehouses and storerooms.

You have received expert training from the military for the career field of logistics. Your leadership, planning skills, and adaptability enable you to successfully transition into this great career field as a logistics manager. So how do you get started?

First, your skill set needs to be translated and repackaged so that hiring managers can quickly understand who you are. Second, you may need to get a certification, but not necessarily a four-year degree. However, a minimum of a High School (HS) Diploma or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM), Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM), Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), and Mail Systems Management Association all provide logistics certifications for veterans interested in getting ahead in the commercial supply career field.

If you decide to take a deeper dive into commercial logistics, read “The Transitioning Military Logistician” which is part of the “Transitioning Military Series”, available on Amazon and at AAFES.
You may be unaware, but you already are a Project Manager! If you enjoy planning, scheduling, and executing operations, your future career path could be project management.

Your leadership and planning skills and your adaptability, ingrained during military service, will enable you to successfully transition into project management. Action officer, training officer, operations planner, commander, platoon sergeant, are all military terms that equate to project manager in the commercial world. Best of all, project management spans all industries.

Project Management pays well, provides for a definitive career ladder, and has a very positive future. Nearly 12 million project management related jobs will be added globally by 2022. Further, the average salary in the US for Project Managers with 5 years’ experience is nearly $100,000. You can expect a 16% bump with the coveted Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification.
The Project Management Institute (PMI)® is the certifying body for the PMP. It is a great organization to belong to during your transition and certification process.

You can enhance your network with project managers in commercial industry while attending meetings and learning about the career field. Further, many local chapters have a PMI Military Liaison that can assist you with your certification process and link you to mentors.

You do not need a degree to be a project manager, but you may need experience and certification. If you lack experience, get certified as a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®. The PMP®, recognizes demonstrated experience, skill and performance in leading and directing projects.

An excellent resource for learning more about this exciting career field is “The Transitioning Military Project Manager”, part of the “The Transitioning Military Series”.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT)
The outlook for the IT career field is incredibly positive. The IT industry continues to enjoy unfettered growth, as the IT career field will grow 13% over the next 4 years. Glassdoor states the national average for IT salaries is currently over $69,080 per year.

Computers and information systems managers should expect a 15% growth through 2022, with a median salary over $120,000 per year.
Your IT skills from the military are transportable and desirable!

There is an increasing demand for skilled IT professionals, enabling you to launch into the lucrative career. You may start out as a technician, but as you develop, you could end up as the CIO, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), or Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Another lucrative path is cybersecurity, which is needed for all functions and jobs within IT. Either direction, you will be heavily rewarded for years to come. An additional way to gain a more in-depth understanding of the IT career field, is by reading “The Transitioning Military Information Technology Professional” or “The Transitioning Military Cybersecurity Professional”, which are both components of the “Transitioning Military Series,” both available at AAFES and on Amazon.

Source: news.clearancejobs.com

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