U.S. Veterans Magazine Announces Its 2023 Best of The Best Early Results Lists

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Top Veteran-Friendly Companies, Top Supplier Diversity Programs, Top Government & Law Enforcement Agencies and Top Veteran-Friendly Schools.

U.S. Veterans Magazine (USVM) recently released the early results of its highly anticipated evaluation of the nation’s Best of the Best. The annual review is an evaluation of the nation’s employers, initiatives, government agencies and educational institutions.

The goal of the annual evaluations is to not only bring the latest information and guidance to our readers, but also encourage active veteran outreach and diversity policies among corporations and government agencies.

This year’s winners include the following, in alphabetical order:

Top Veteran-Friendly Companies:

AAR Corp
Academy Securities Inc.
Accenture
ADP
ADS, Inc.
Advance Auto Parts
Advanced Disposal Services
AECOM
Aetna
Air Force Reserve Command
Aldevra LLC
Allstate
Amazon
Amentum
Ameren
American Airlines
American States Utility Services, Inc.
AMERICAN SYSTEMS
American Water
Amgen
Amica Insurance
Amtrak
Applied Materials Inc.
Archer Daniels Midland
Areva
Arizona Public Service
Associated Bank
AT&T Inc.
Aviall Services Inc.
Aviation Training Consulting LLC
BAE Systems
Bank of America
BASF
Baxter
Bayer
Baylor Scott & White Health
Becton Dickinson
BeneLynk
BGIS
Blue Shield of California
Bluehawk LLC
BNSF Railway
Boaters Exchange
Booz Allen Hamilton
BP America
Bristol Myers Squibb
Brown-Forman Corporation
C.R. England
CACI International, Inc.
California American Water
Capital One
CarMax
Caterpillar
CBRE
CDW
Centene
CenterPoint Energy
CGI
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Chevron
Cigna
CINTAS Corporation
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Citigroup, Inc.
ClarkDietrich
Colorado Springs Utilities
Combined Insurance, A Chubb Company
Comcast-NBCUniversal
CON EDISON
Concurrent Technologies Corporation
Consolidated Edison Company
Consumers Energy
Cruise Planners
CruiseOne/Dream Vacations
CSX
Cushman & Wakefield
CVS Health
DaVita, Inc.
Dell EMC
Deloitte
Devon Energy Corporation
Dollar General
Dominion Energy, Inc.
Dominion Resources, Inc.
Drexel Hamilton, LLC
DXC Technology
DynCorp International
E. & J. Gallo Winery
Eaton Corporation
Ecolab Inc.
Enterprise Holdings
Ernst & Young LLP (EY US)
Exelon Corporation
Exide
Express Scripts
FDM Group
FedEx
Fidelity Investments
First Command Financial Services Inc.
Fiserv, Inc.
Fluor Corporation
Ford Motor Company
Fortinet Inc
FOX Corporation
Fugro
G4S Secure Solutions (USA)
G6 Hospitality
General Dynamics Information Technology
General Electric
General Mills
General Motors Company
GeoStabilization International
Grunt Style
Gulfstream Aerospace
Harris
HCA Healthcare
Hertz Corporation
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hilton
Honeywell
Hormel Foods
HP
HPE
Humana
Huntington Ingalls Industries
Hyundai
Ingersoll Rand
Intel
IntelliGenesis LLC
Intuitive Research and Technology, Inc.
J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.
Jacobs
JLL
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson Controls, Inc.
JPMorgan Chase
Kellogg Company
KeyBank
KPMG LLP
KSA Integration
L’Oreal USA
L’Oreal USA
La Quinta Inns & Suites
Leidos
Level 3 Communications Inc.
LMI
Lockheed Martin
Logistics Health Incorporated
Lowe’s Companies Inc.
Lumen Technologies
Macy’s Inc.
ManTech International
Marsh & McLennan Companies
Matheson Tri Gas
Maverick Transportation LLC
MAXIMUS
McKesson Corp.
Merck
MGM Resorts International
Michelin
Microsoft
Morgan Stanley
Motel 6 / Studio 6
MSA Security
MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
National Grid USA
Nationwide
Navy Federal Credit Union
New York Community Bank
New York Power Authority
Newport News Shipbuilding, A Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries
NEXCOM
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Northern Trust
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Northwell Health
Nutanix
Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Omaha Public Power District
OMNI Technologies
OshKosh
Pacific Architects and Engineers
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Parker Hannifin
Parsons Corporation
PenFed Credit Union
Peoplescout, a TrueBlue Company
Peraton
Performance Contractors Inc.
Phillips 66
Pike Corporation
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Power Home Remodeling
Precise Systems Inc.
PRIDE Industries
Procter & Gamble Company
Progressive Insurance
Prudential Financial, Inc
Public Service Enterprise Group
PwC
Quicken Loans
Rackspace
Randstad
Raytheon Technologies
Robert Half
Roboteam Inc.
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans
Roehl Transport
Roush
Salesforce
Salt River Project
Samaritan Health Services
Sanford Health
Schneider National, Inc.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
Shell Oil Company
Siemens
Signature Performance, Inc.
Smithfield Foods
Sodexo, USA
Sonoco Products Company
Southern Company
Southwest Airlines Co.
Sprint
Starbucks
State Farm
Strategic Staffing Solutions
Stryker
Summit Materials
Sunrun
Synchrony
Teleperformance
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
The Boeing Company
The Coca-Cola Company
The GEO Group, Inc.
The Hartford
The Hershey Company
The Home Depot USA, Inc.
Timken
Trane Technologies
Travelers
TriWest Healthcare Alliance
Tsys
U.S. Bank
U.S. Cellular Corporation
U.S. Xpress
U-Haul International
Unilever
Union Pacific Railroad
United Rentals
United Services Automobile Association
United Site Services
United States Military Educators Association
United States Postal Service
USAA
Vanguard
Vectrus Systems Corporation
Veolia North America
Verizon Communications Inc.
Walgreens
Walmart Inc.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Wellmark BCBS
Wells Fargo
Werner Enterprises Inc.
Western & Southern Life
Windstream Holdings
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Xcel Energy
Xerox Corporation
Zeiders Enterprises Inc.
Zurich North America

Top Supplier Diversity Programs

22Vets LLC
7-Eleven
AAR Corp
Abbott
Accenture
Adecco Group
ADP
ADS, Inc.
AECOM
AIG
Albemarle Corporation
Aldevra LLC
Alight Solutions
Allstate Insurance Company
Amazon
Amentum
Ameren
American Airlines
American Family Insurance
American Red Cross
American States Utility Services, Inc.
American Water
Anthem
Apex Systems
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Armed Forces Insurance
AT&T Inc.
Ateios Systems
Athene
Avis Budget Group Inc.
Badlands Tank Lines
BAE Systems
Bank of America
Baxter Healthcare Corporation
Bayer
Bechtel
Bex Voice Data Services, Inc.
Bison ProFab, Inc.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Shield of California
BNSF Railway
Boeing
Booz Allen Hamilton
Bristol Myers Squibb
CACI International Inc.
California American Water
Capital One
CBRE Group, Inc.
CDA Technical Institute
CDW
Centene
Cigna
Cintas
Cisco
Citigroup, Inc.
Citizens Bank
ClarkDietrich
Cognosante
Combined Insurance, A Chubb Company
Comcast-NBCUniversal
ConAgra Brands
Corizon Health
Cummins
Cushman & Wakefield
CVS Health
Darden Restaurants Inc.
DaVita, Inc.
Dell
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
DEPCOM Power
Dominion Energy, Inc.
DTE Energy
Duke Energy
DuPont
DXC Technology
DynCorp International
Eastman
Eaton
ECC
Elevance Health
Eli Lilly and Company
Enterprise Holdings
Ericsson
eval.com
Exelon Corp.
EY
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
FirstEnergy
Ford Motor Company
Freddie Mac
Frontier
Fuse Integration Inc.
GE
General Dynamics Information Technology
General Dynamics Mission Systems
General Motors Company
Guidehouse
Haywood Vocational Opportunities
HCSC
Herc Rentals
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hilton
Honda North America
Honeywell
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
HP
Humana
Hyundai
IBM
Ingersoll Rand
iostudio, LLC
Jacobs
JCPenney
JetBlue
JLL
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson Controls Inc.
JPMorgan Chase
Kaiser Permanente
Kelly
Koch Industries, Inc.
KPMG
Kwest Group
La Quinta Inns & Suites
Labcorp
LAUNCH Technical Workforce Solutions, LLC
Leadec Corp
Leidos
Lexmark International, Inc.
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Lockheed Martin
Lowe’s
Mack Trucks
Magellan Federal
ManTech International
Marriott International Inc.
Marsh & McLennan Companies
MassMutual
Mayo Clinic
McKesson Corporation
Mears Group, Inc.
Merck
Messer Construction
Methodist Health System
MetLife, Inc.
Micron Technology
Microsoft
Milliman
Monsanto Company
Morgan Stanley
MSC Industrial Supply
Navient Solutions LLC
NC Department of Transportation
Nestle U.S.
Newport News Shipbuilding, A Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries
Nielsen
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Northwell Health
Northwestern Mutual
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (subsidiary of Novartis AG)
Olympus Corporation of the Americas
Omni Financial
onsemi
Oshkosh Corporation
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
PeopleTec, Inc.
PepsiCo
Peraton
Pitney Bowes Inc.
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Precise Systems Inc.
PRIDE Industries
Principal Financial Group
Procter & Gamble
Pro-Sphere Tek, Inc. (ProSphere)
Prudential Financial, Inc.
PSA Airlines
Public Consulting Group
Public Service Enterprise Group
PwC
Qualtrics
Ranco Response
Randstad
Raytheon Technologies
Regions Bank
Riverside Healthcare
Robert Half
Rockwell Collins
RTI International
San Diego Unified School District
San Jose Water
Sanofi
Schneider Electric
Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
SEI Investments
Sempra Energy
Shell Oil Company
Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.
Silver Eagle Distributors Houston, LLC
Sodexo, USA
Southern California Edison
Southwest Airlines Co.
SpartanNash
Sprint
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
Starbucks
State Farm
Strata-G, LLC
Strategic Staffing Solutions
Stryten Energy
TALENT Software Services, Inc.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
The Adecco Group
The Boeing Company
The Coca-Cola Company
The Friedkin Group
The GEO Group, Inc.
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
The Hartford
The Home Depot
The Kroger Company
The Procter & Gamble Company
Thermo Fisher Scientific
TMC Transportation – An Employee Owned Company
T-Mobile US, Inc.
TMX Finance Family of Companies
TotalTek
Toyota Motor North America Inc.
Trane Technologies
Travelers
Turner Construction
UCHealth
Union Pacific
United Concordia Companies Inc
United Rentals, Inc.
United States Postal Service
UnitedHealth Group
UPS
US Autologistics
USAA
Vectrus
Verizon Communications
VISIMO
Volkswagen Group of America
Vontier
VyStar Credit Union
Walgreens
Walmart Inc.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Waste Management
Wells Fargo & Company
Werner Enterprises
Whalls Group LLC
Windstream Holdings
Worthington Industries
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Xcel Energy
Zeiders Enterprises
Zimmer Biomet

Top Veteran-Friendly Schools

Academy of Arts University
American InterContinental University
American Military University
Angelo State University
Arizona State University
Arkansas State University
Ashford University
Auburn University
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Austin Peay State University
Baylor University
Berkeley College
Binghamton University–SUNY
Black Hills State University
Boston University
Brown University
California Southern University
California State University, Chico
California State University, San Bernardino
California State University, San Marcos
Capitol Technology University
Carnegie Mellon University
Central Baptist College
Central Community College
Chapman University
Clarion University
Clarkson University
Clemson University
College of William & Mary
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University
Colorado Technical University
Columbia College
Columbia Southern University
Columbia University
Cornell University
Creighton University
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
D’Youville College
Dakota State University
Dartmouth College
DePaul University
Drake University
Drexel University
Duke University
Duquesne University
East Carolina University
East Tennessee State University
Eastern Kentucky University-EKU
Eastern New Mexico University
ECPI University
Elizabeth City State University
Emory University
Excelsior College
Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville Technical Community College
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Florida State University
Fordham University
Fort Hays State University
George Mason University
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology–Scheller College of Business
Georgia State University
Gonzaga University
Governors State University
Grantham University
Hawaii Pacific University
Howard University
Illinois Institute of Technology
Indiana State University
Indiana Tech
Indiana University–Bloomington
Indiana University-Purdue University
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa State University
Jacksonville University
Kansas State University
Lewis University
Lipscomb University
Long Island University
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University Chicago
Marquette University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mercy College
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Miami University–Oxford
Michigan State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Mississippi State University
Morehead State University
New Jersey Institute of Technology
New York Film Academy
New York University
Niagara University
North Carolina State University–Raleigh
Northern Arizona University
Northern Kentucky University
Northwest Nazarene University
Ohio State University
Ohio State University–Columbus
Old Dominion University
Oregon Institute of Technology
Park University
Paul Smith’s College
Penn State World Campus
Penn State-University Park Campus
Pepperdine University
Pierce College
Princeton University
Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University West Lafayette
Quinnipiac University
Regis University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rice University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Rutgers University–Newark
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Saint Leo University
Saint Louis University
San Diego State University
San Diego State University Fowler College of Business
Santa Clara University
Savannah State University
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
South Dakota State University
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Southern Methodist University
St. Cloud State University
St. Petersburg College
Stanford University
Stockton University
Stony Brook University–SUNY
Stratford University
SUNY College of Plattsburgh
SUNY Oswego
Syracuse University
Temple University
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Texas Christian University
Texas State University
Texas Tech University
The Catholic University of America
The College of Saint Rose
The New School
The Ohio State University
The University of Kansas
The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Texas at El Paso
Trevecca Nazarene University
Troy University
Tulane University
University at Buffalo–SUNY
University of Alabama
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Arizona
University of California San Diego, Rady School of Management
University of California, Berkeley
University of California-Davis
University of California-Irvine
University of California-Los Angeles
University of California–Riverside
University of California–San Diego
University of California–Santa Barbara
University of California-Santa Cruz
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Colorado Denver–Anschutz Medical Campus
University of Colorado-Denver
University of Connecticut
University Of Dayton
University of Delaware
University of Denver
University of Dubuque
University of Evansville
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Illinois–Chicago
University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Maryland
University of Maryland University College
University of Maryland-College Park
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Michigan-Flint
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
University of Missouri-St. Louis
University of Nebraska Omaha
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of New Hampshire
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina-Pembroke
University of North Carolina-Wilmington
University of North Georgia
University of North Texas
University of Notre Dame
University of Oklahoma
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Redlands
University of Rochester
University of San Diego
University of San Francisco
University of South Carolina
University of South Dakota
University of South Florida
University of Southern California
University of St. Thomas (MN)
University of Tennessee Knoxville
University of Texas at Arlington
University of Texas-Austin
University of the Incarnate Word
University of the Pacific
University of Tulsa
University of Utah
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of West Florida
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wyoming
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Vanderbilt University
Villanova University
Virginia Tech
Washington University in St. Louis
Weber State University
Webster University
West Virginia University
Western Illinois University
Western Kentucky University
Western Michigan University
William & Mary
Wisconsin School of Business
Xavier University
Yale University

Top Government & Law Enforcement Agencies

Air Force Civilian Service (AFCS)
Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES)
Army National Guard
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Cincinnati Police Department
City of Dallas Police Department
Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
Denver Police Department
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Export-Import Bank of the United States
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
General Services Administration (GSA)
Harris County Sheriff’s Office
Henrico County Police Division
Intelligence Community
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Los Angeles Airport Police Department (LADX)
Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD)
Louisville Metro Police Department
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Security Agency (NSA)
NAVAIR–U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command
NAVSEA–Naval Sea Systems Command
New York City Police Department (NYPD)
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
San Antonio Police Department (SAPD)
Social Security Administration (SSA)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Florida
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
U.S. Agency for International Development
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Army
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Coast Guard Civilian Careers
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Treasury
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. National Guard
U.S. Navy
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
U.S. Secret Service
U.S. Small Business Administration
United States Marine Corps
United States Postal Service

The goal of the annual evaluations is to not only bring the latest information and guidance to our readers, but also encourage active outreach and diversity policies among corporations and government agencies.

The final results are published in the fall issue of U.S Veterans Magazine and available on print and digital newsstands mid-August.

For more information about the annual Best of the Best survey or U.S Veterans Magazine, please contact the research department, at surveys@diversitycomm.net.

Click here to read the complete Press Release.

$3.5 Million in Grants to Support Veteran Small Business Owners

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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced $3.5 million in grant awards to support outreach organizations focused on veteran small businesses. The grants provide critical funding to create new Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) in Alaska, California, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada and South Carolina, strengthening training and counseling services for aspiring and existing veteran and military spouse small business owners. In the U.S., there are nearly two million veteran-owned small businesses, employing over five million people and generating over $1.3 trillion in annual revenue.

“Our service members have protected our nation with selfless honor and sacrifice, and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting them with resources and opportunities as they pursue their American dreams of business ownership,” said U.S. Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “With this expansion of our veteran-focused network of small business centers, we can help more transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses start and grow their businesses and advance our economy.”

VBOCs are responsible for conducting Boots to Business classes for transitioning members and their spouses, aiding in putting together business plans, they provide mentorship and resources, and so on. These centers are available in nearly every state.

“VBOCs are a one-stop shop for business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business,” said Timothy Green, acting associate administrator for the Office of Veterans Business Development. “The new centers will provide additional resources to increase support and access for nearly two million veteran-owned small businesses. The expanded locations aim to enhance the veteran small business owner experience with more opportunities for training and less appointment wait times.”

Organizations receiving grants from the SBA have demonstrated a commitment to addressing challenges that veteran-owned small businesses face and helping them succeed through the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. The VBOC program has expanded from 22 to 28 locations, fully servicing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Grants will support a range of services, including:

  • Business planning: Provides veterans with training and counseling on accounting, financial planning and management.
  • Accessing capital: Helps veterans understand the multitude of sources of capital available to them, as well as helps them access financing, loans and grants.
  • Marketing and outreach: Provides marketing and outreach services to promote veteran-owned businesses in their communities and beyond.
  • Transitioning: Provides Boots to Business instruction to help active-duty service members transition out of the military.

Grant recipients and the areas impacted:

  • Seattle Economic Development Fund- Business Impact Northwest: Seattle, Washington. Covering area: Alaska.
  • University of Texas Arlington College of Business: Arlington, Texas. Covering area: Nevada.
  • Carmel Veterans Service Center: Colorado Springs, Colorado. Covering area: Colorado.
  • Nebraska Enterprise Fund: Oakland, Nebraska. Covering area: Nebraska and Iowa.
  • The Citadel: Charleston, South Carolina. Covering area: South Carolina.
  • Long Beach City College: Long Beach, California. Covering area: California’s LA County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County, Orange County, Santa Barbara County and Riverside County.

For more information on these and other local VBOCs, visit sba.gov/vboc.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

5 Growing Careers in Mental Health

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The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. Among adolescents and people of color, the prevalence of mental disorders can be even higher. Along with a growing awareness of the importance of mental health and the need for treatment, the demand for workers who can help is increasing.

If you’re interested in a career supporting mental health, you may want to consider these five occupations that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will grow much faster than average over the 2021–31 decade.

Together, they employed about 761,000 workers in 2021—and they are expected to have more than 91,000 openings on average each year through 2031. The education typically required to enter these occupations ranges from a high school diploma to a master’s degree, and they all pay around or more than the $46,310 median for all occupations in 2022.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors advise people on a range of issues, such as those relating to alcoholism, addictions or depression. They provide support, including for prevention, to help clients recover from addiction, modify problem behaviors or improve mental health. They may work with patients individually or in group sessions, helping those struggling with mental health, and may find ways to discuss their addiction or other problems with family and friends.

  • Projected growth: 22.1%
  • Average salary: $49,710
  • Education needed: Bachelor’s degree

Community Health Workers

Community health workers advocate for residents’ needs with health care providers and social service organizations. They implement wellness strategies by collecting data and discussing health concerns with members of specific populations. They typically work closely with health education specialists, but their expertise lies with direct interaction with those needing assistance in the forms of informal counseling, providing basic health services, advocating for individuals and conducting outreach programs.

  • Projected growth: 15.9% (Average growth is at about 7-8%)
  • Average salary: $46,190
  • Education needed: High school diploma

Marriage and Family Therapists

Marriage and family therapists help people manage problems with their family and other relationships. They bring a family-centered perspective to treatment and work with individuals, couples or even whole families to work out any issues they may be having. Marriage and family therapists are also responsible for evaluating family roles and development to understand how clients’ families affect their mental health and address issues, such as low self-esteem, stress, addiction and substance abuse.

  • Projected growth: 13.9%
  • Average salary: $56,570
  • Education needed: Master’s degree

Health Care Social Workers

Health care social workers help clients understand their diagnosis and adjust their lifestyle, housing or health care. They can help people transition from the hospital back into their communities, provide information about home health care services and support groups, and work with doctors to understand the effects that disease and illness have with mental and emotional health. Health care social workers may also receive a specialization in geriatric social work, hospice and palliative care, or medical social work.

  • Projected growth: 11.1%
  • Average salary: $60,280
  • Education needed: Master’s degree

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Mental health and substance abuse social workers help clients with mental illnesses or addictions. They provide information on services, such as support groups and 12-step programs, to help clients cope with their illness and are licensed clinical social workers who may perform some of the same tasks as health care social workers.

  • Projected growth: 11.1%
  • Average salary: $51,40
  • Education needed: Master’s degree

Sources: The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Hiring Guide for Small Business Owners

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hiring sign in business window

Hiring employees is more than just a job ad and some interview questions. You’ll want to make sure that your future employees are being properly cared for according to federal and state laws. Here’s what you need to know:

Hire and pay employees

Before finding the right person for the job, you’ll need to create a plan for paying employees. Follow these steps to set up payroll:

  • Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Find out whether you need state or local tax IDs
  • Decide if you want an independent contractor or an employee
  • Ensure new employees return a completed W-4 form
  • Schedule pay periods to coordinate tax withholding for IRS
  • Create a compensation plan for holiday, vacation and leave
  • Choose an in-house or external service for administering payroll
  • Decide who will manage your payroll system
  • Know which records must stay on file and for how long
  • Report payroll taxes as needed on a quarterly and annual basis

The IRS maintains the employer’s tax guide, which provides guidance on all federal tax filing requirements that could apply to your small business. Check with your state tax agency for employer filing stipulations. 

File taxes with employees or independent contractors

Distinguishing between employees and independent contractors can impact your bottom line, or your total revenue once expenses have been deducted. Your bottom line ultimately impacts how you withhold taxes and helps you stay legally compliant during tax season. Learn the differences before hiring your first employee.

An independent contractor operates under a separate business name from your company and invoices for the work they’ve completed. Independent contractors can sometimes qualify as employees in a legal sense. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guide breaks things down so you can make a more informed decision.

If your contractor is discovered to meet the legal definition of employee, you may need to pay back taxes and penalties, provide benefits and reimburse wages stipulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Plan to offer employee benefits

Health care and other benefits play a significant role in hiring and retaining employees. Some employee benefits are required by law, but others are optional. Required employee benefits include:

  • Social Security taxes: Employers must pay Social Security taxes at the same rate as their employees.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Required through a commercial carrier, self-insured basis or state workers’ compensation program.
  • Disability Insurance: Disability pay is required in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.
  • Leave benefits: Most leave benefits are optional outside those stipulated in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Unemployment insurance: Varies by state, and you may need to register with your state workforce agency.

Optional employee benefits

Your small businesses can offer a complete range of optional benefits to help attract and retain employees. Even if a benefit you offer is optional, it might still have to comply with certain laws if you choose to offer it.

Businesses that offer group health plans must comply with federal laws. You can read more about those laws in the Department of Labor’s advisory guide.

Employees can expand coverage through the Affordable Care Act and some may qualify for benefits via the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Businesses must extend the option of COBRA benefits to employees who are terminated or laid off. For more information and resources to help small businesses make decisions about health insurance coverage, visit HealthCare.gov.

Retirement plans are a very popular employee benefit. Consider offering an employer-sponsored plan like a 401k or a pension plan. The federal government offers a wide range of resources to aid small business owners in choosing their retirement plan and pension.

Employee incentive programs

Employee incentive programs can boost morale and create more draw for open positions. Common incentives include stock options, flex time, wellness programs, corporate memberships and company events.

If your budget allows, you may want to consider investing in benefits administration software to make your accounting process easier and more efficient. Detailing these benefits in the employee handbook helps your staff make decisions, and they can use it as a reference for workplace requirements. 

Follow federal and state labor laws

Protect workers’ rights and your business by adhering to labor laws, which means you must ensure that business practices align with industry regulations.

This includes learning applicable laws for hiring veterans, foreign workers, household employees, child labor and people with disabilities, among others groups. You must also comply when terminating an employee, laying off workers or downsizing the company.

Consult the Department of Labor’s federal and state law resources for more information.

Source: Small Business Administration

Next Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force: Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna

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U.S. Space Force logo and new Master Chief Sargent

After an in-depth evaluation, the U.S. Space Force has selected their next Chief Master Sergeant. In early May, Chief Master Sgt. John F. Bentivegna was selected to fill the position. He comes to the role with more than 25 years of space operator experience after beating out four other candidates for the role in an extensive selection process.

The four-day evaluation, including personal interviews with each candidate, helped Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman make his final decision by giving him data on how the chiefs performed in various exercises and assessments that vetted their skills and leadership capabilities. “I needed someone that would bring a perspective on our future that was articulated differently from mine,” Saltzman stated of the position. “Chief Bentivegna brings a wealth of operational experience, a dedication to caring for our Guardians, and the spirit needed to take our service to the next level.”

Bentivegna joined the U.S. Air Force in August 1994, where he served for 26 years before transferring to the U.S. Space Force. He started his career as a precision measurement equipment lab technician at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, before cross training to become a space operator in 1998.

Bentivegna has served in both maintenance and space operations career fields; and has held positions at the squadron, division, group, wing, Numbered Air Force, Field Command and Headquarters Air and Space Force levels. He served as the Senior Enlisted Leader of Space Operations Command, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, where he advised the commander on matters of health, welfare, morale and readiness of approximately 5,100 combat-ready intelligence, cyber, space and combat support forces responsible for providing space capabilities to the Department of Defense.

Soon after entering the Space Force in September of 2020, Bentivegna served as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief Operations Officer and is the Enlisted Space Systems Operations Career Field Manager at Headquarters Space Force, Washington, D.C. He was the primary advocate for the career field, addressing force development and training issues and coordinating functional concerns across various Space Force and joint staffs and shaped career field policy and guidance to ensure the career field is responsive to current and future Space Force needs.

During his service thus far, Bentivegna has received numerous awards and decorations for his work, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and many others.

“It’s overwhelming and incredibly humbling to be offered the opportunity to become the next Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force (CMSSF),” Bentivegna stated of his new role. “I am really excited to have that opportunity to work next to Gen. Saltzman to help fulfill his vision for where the service needs to go. We have run really fast to develop the service and shape what it’s going to be,” Bentivegna continued. “We have charted a vision for the future, and I want to deliver that vision to our Guardians and the joint force. I know this is going to take collaboration, communication, policy and processes to make that happen. I am humbled that I get to be the one to champion these efforts for them in the future.”

As the CMSSF, Bentivegna will be appointed as the Space Force’s highest noncommissioned officer position, making him the second person in history to hold the title. He will act as the personal advisor to the CSO and the Secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, proper utilization and development of the Space Force. He will also provide direction for the enlisted force and represent their interests, as appropriate, to the American public and those at all levels of government.

Source: U.S. Air Force

NVBDC Conference Elevates Businesses

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NVBDC Conference Elevates Businesses collage of attendees

Another year is in the books for the annual NVBDC Reserving Veteran Business Connections Conference, a collaborative effort held in partnership with the prestigious Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

The Reserving Veteran Business Connections event is designed to foster connections and opportunities for veteran business owners and showcase networking and collaboration’s power in driving economic growth and diversity for NVBDC-certified service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses.

Attendees had the opportunity to connect, learn and propel their veteran-owned business to new heights by engaging with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the state of Michigan’s Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Small Business Association (SBA), Toyota, Rocket Companies, Kohler, Flagstar Bank, Comerica Bank, Tenneco, Stellantis, DTE, Freddie Mac, Cornerstone Consulting Organization LLC (CCO), Consumers Energy and Dell.

The 1:1 matchmaking sessions were the event’s highlight. They enabled veteran business owners to interact with supplier diversity professionals and transition from relationship building to contracts with NVBDC corporate members.

Keith King
Keith King
From Left to right: Chris Sim, Keith King, Leonie Teichman
From Left to right: Chris Sim, Keith King, Leonie Teichman
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Genevieve Hayes, Keith King
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Genevieve Hayes, Keith King
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Dr. Fred McKinney, Keith King
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Dr. Fred McKinney, Keith King
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Sheila Harton Montgomery, Teresa LeFevre, Keith King, Cameron Boli
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Sheila Harton Montgomery, Teresa LeFevre, Keith King, Cameron Boli
From Left to right : Leonie Teichman, Keith King, Mark Hands, Dr. Fred McKinney, John Taylor, Annette Stevenson
From Left to right : Leonie Teichman, Keith King, Mark Hands, Dr. Fred McKinney, John Taylor, Annette Stevenson
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Dr. Fred McKinney, John Taylor
From Left to right: Mark Hands, Dr. Fred McKinney, John Taylor

Conference attendees heard from a renowned economist, academic leader and advocate, Dr. Fred McKinney, who presented on Revitalizing Supplier Diversity Opportunities and Challenges. Moreover, attendees also had the opportunity to hear from supplier diversity professionals who provided insights into procurement opportunities, financing strategies and best practices for business growth.

The seventh annual NVBDC-Federal Reserve Matchmaking Conference leaves a trail of educated, inspired and motivated veteran entrepreneurs armed with insights, connections and strategies to elevate their businesses to new heights.

We invite you to register for our upcoming National Veteran Business Matchmaking Conference to be held live in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 8-9, 2023, by visiting NVBDC.ORG/EVENTS.

Photo credit: NVBDC Staff

How the DoD is Teaming Up with Small Businesses

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Successful businessman clarifying provisions of contract with business partner, discussing terms of agreement, explaining strategy or financial plan

By C. Todd Lopez

The Defense Department’s Office of Small Business Programs has several efforts underway to make it easier for the U.S. small business community to become more involved in providing goods, services, technology and research to support our nation’s defense.

At the Professional Services Council in Arlington, Virginia, Farooq A. Mitha, the director of the Office of Small Business Programs, spoke to representatives of small businesses about his office’s most recent efforts, including the department’s newly released Small Business Strategy.

About 96% of the department’s Procurement Technical Assistance Centers have been rebranded as APEX Accelerators in the past few months. Those APEX Accelerators have an enhanced mission of helping existing and new businesses strengthen the defense industrial base by accelerating innovation, fostering ingenuity and establishing resilient and diverse supply chains.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of market research using these entities,” Mitha said. “We’re going to connect them closer to our other prime contractors that are looking for subcontractors to be part of their supply chains.”

The APEX Accelerators will also do more training with small businesses on issues related to cybersecurity and foreign ownership, control or influence that might affect their ability to work with the federal government. Efforts are also underway to reinvigorate the Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF), which hasn’t been funded since 2019. That program was designed to help small businesses get their technology from the prototype stage to the production stage—a period when many companies fail, commonly called “the valley of death.”

“We’ve gone four years without money into this program,” Mitha noted. “That is a big, big problem at a time when we’re spending more dollars doing prototyping. We need to support more companies to go into production and transition their technologies.”

The RIF will support streamlining entry points into the defense marketplace for small companies and enable better long-term planning for small business programs. Recently, Mitha advocated for the permanency of the Mentor Protégé Program (MPP)—a pilot for over 30 years. This led to Congress making MPP permanent in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

Additionally, two new programs have been implemented under Mitha’s leadership: The Small Business Integration Group and a new credential with the Defense Acquisition University (DAU).

The Small Business Integration Group, under Mitha’s leadership, will include services, the defense agency, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the industrial base and small business stakeholders. This group will work together to form a stronger industry and communicate the needs amongst departments in a more organized fashion.

The DAU will also offer a new credential that will help anyone in the acquisition workforce earn their small business credential. Mitha says of the program, “We’ve now established common courses, curriculum and training for all these professionals. But we’ve made it a credential, not a career field. So, what that means is that anybody in the acquisition workforce can get the small business credential.”

Mitha said he expects more instructors and capacity will be needed to help the thousands of acquisition professionals across the department who may want to get the small business credential.

For more information on how the Office of Small Business Programs and the Department of Defense can help your business ventures, visit va.gov/osdbu.

Source: Department of Defense

Mental Health Support on the Job: Reasonable Accommodations

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Wellbeing at work showing on a keyboard

When you think of work accommodations for someone with a disability, you may immediately think of people with physical disabilities, such as those with mobility issues, hearing impairments or blindness. But did you know there are many possible accommodations for employees who have a mental illness?

What is a reasonable accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Equal opportunity allows a person to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.

Examples can include:

A flexible schedule
An accommodation might include a request to work a specific time shift. For example, if you’re more mentally alert and sharp during the day, you can ask to be scheduled for a day shift instead of a night shift. Another area of flexibility can include the timing of your commute to work. If driving or using public transportation during heavy daytime traffic causes anxiety or even panic attacks, you can inquire about going in for a nighttime shift when the roads are less busy. You may also be able to request that breaks during your shift be adjusted. After working for a while, you may find that one long break works better for you than several short ones.

Communication preferences
If you have problems understanding when your supervisor gives you instructions, it’s a good idea to share what communication style works best for you. If you retain written instructions better than verbal ones, ask your boss to give instructions by email or on paper. This could make a big difference in your everyday tasks. Or, if you are in a meeting, but the presenter often speaks very quickly, have a conversation with your supervisor and ask if you can record meetings. This allows you to listen later at your own pace and take notes.

A private workspace
Working in a noisy, open area can make it hard to concentrate. If you’re unable to focus on your work, ask about a quiet workspace. There might be a conference room that’s not in use or a quiet corner to work in. Ask if there is an available office for you to work in that will create a calm environment. If you already have an office, but there’s an “open door” policy and noise in the hallway, ask if you can close your door. You could also ask for permission to wear noise-canceling headphones.

A job coach
A job coach can be with you at work to help you learn the job’s responsibilities, explore other helpful accommodations and reduce anxiety. This person can closely monitor your progress and assist along the way as you learn tasks and start doing projects with co-workers. A job coach can join you at meetings to ensure you understand the main points and complete any work you’re assigned. This one-on-one help at work can positively impact your job performance and confidence. As with any accommodation, your employer will review the approval for a job coach on a case-by-case basis.

Source: Ticket to Work

Employers Need Veterans in the Workforce

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Larry Broughton in black suit seated

Veterans may find it challenging to move from a military career to the civilian workforce, but don’t despair! Our country’s employers and civilian workforce need veterans now, more than ever. The unique skill set, discipline and knowledge of military veterans are highly valued by employers in a wide range of industries.

Ask any entrepreneur, business owner, hiring manager or talent acquisition professional about the top characteristics they seek in candidates when recruiting for key positions in their organization, and you’ll find some variation of the following:
 

1. LEADERSHIP AND TEAMWORK

Among military veterans’ most significant assets are their exceptional leadership and teamwork skills. If you’ve spent more than a year in any military branch, you’ve likely had direct experience (however small) leading, as well as following, and seen firsthand the power of high-performing teams. Candidates who possess the ability to effectively work on a team are highly valued by employers because they promote collaboration, productivity and a positive work environment. Veterans usually honed their leadership skills in high-stress situations where they were responsible for managing teams and rendering key decisions under challenging circumstances.

The leadership structure among both the conventional and the Special Operations communities teaches discipline, accountability and a strong feeling of duty. These characteristics enable members to take the initiative, inspire
and motivate others, and coordinate efforts to achieve key objectives. Additionally, veterans tend to be excellent communicators who can give directions clearly, distribute tasks effectively and interact with coworkers through active listening.

Veterans who can blend into a civilian workforce by shedding the hard-edged, command-and-control style of communication (i.e., “do so because I said so”) may help businesses looking for strong leaders who can inspire and guide their teams to success because these traits are highly valued in any professional setting.

2. RESILIENCY AND ADAPTABILITY

These skills are critical in the military environment and are highly transferable to the workforce in the civilian sector. Most employers are aware that veterans have handled a wide range of situations, frequently in challenging and constantly changing settings. Through this exposure, they develop the abilities needed to handle uncertainty, accept change and remain composed in stressful situations.

Most veterans are accustomed to integrating themselves into new environments, cultures and technology developments. Thanks to their strong work ethic and quick learning curve, they succeed in challenging job conditions. People who make an effort to fit into their company’s culture and take the initiative to learn new tasks and skills are rewarded by competent employers.

Because of their resilience, veterans may also persevere in the face of business adversity, bounce back from setbacks and maintain a positive view even under tough situations. These qualities make them valuable assets in any industry where resiliency and adaptability are prerequisites.

3. PROBLEM-SOLVING AND ANALYTICAL SKILLS

Employers place a high value on employees and team members who can think critically and solve problems. Because of their experience, education and training, veterans usually possess exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to quickly analyze hazards, establish effective strategies and make decisions based on limited information. Veterans excel at scenario analysis, risk assessment and solution formulation, making them stand out in the civilian workforce. Their knowledge of recognizing and lowering risks, executing well-thought-out plans and adapting strategies (when necessary) has given them a unique perspective.

Employers go to great lengths to recruit team members who can effectively identify issues, provide solutions, enhance processes and assist in the growth and success of the company. Businesses strongly value the special skill set that veterans who are transitioning from the military to the civilian economy possess. Because of their aptitude for leadership and teamwork, flexibility and resilience, as well as their capacity for problem-solving and analytical thinking, they are highly sought after in most industries.

Savvy employers recognize the benefits of integrating veterans’ experiences into their workforces and are conscious of the unique abilities that veterans possess. To maximize chances of securing a career in the civilian workforce, veterans should focus on exhibiting these qualities when looking for employment. I encourage veterans to find ways to explain situations and circumstances in which they have demonstrated flexibility, emphasized their problem-solving abilities and highlighted their leadership duties. During the initial military-to-civilian workforce transition (and throughout their civilian career), vets should search for networks of support and resources that are appropriate for their needs, including career counseling services, networking events and mentorship programs.

By recognizing and making use of their skills, military veterans can successfully transition into the civilian workforce. If you’re a civilian business owner or employer seeking resilient, highperforming, goal-oriented, problem-solving leaders and team members, I urge you to consider hiring a veteran.

If you’re a veteran, it’s time to lean into your spirit of service and help these employers grow their teams and organizations.

Now, go do something significant today!

Larry Broughton is a former U.S. Army Green Beret, bestselling author, award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker and leadership business mentor.

TheLarryBroughton.com

Back to School Discounts for Military Families

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back to school supplies shown in a collage

A new school year is about to begin, but for military service members, veterans and their families, it doesn’t mean it has to be overly expensive. Check out these savings that you can use whether you’re a veteran going back to school or prepping your child for the first day of the school year.

Operation Homefront

Through this nonprofit organization, Operation Homefront hosts in-person events where children of military families can receive free backpacks, clothing and school supplies. To qualify for these events, you must create an account with Operation Homefront. Giveaway locations are available on their website, and the events have taken place every year for over a decade.

Tutoring

If you need homework assistance or tutoring this year, there are some great inexpensive options you can explore:

  • com: Military service members and their dependent family members are eligible for free tutoring and homework help through tutor.com. They provide assistance for all grades from kindergarten through college, and the Department of Defense and the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance fund their services.
  • com: Interactive online test prep for SAT/ACT/LSAT exams. Military families are eligible to pay anywhere between $20-$100 as opposed to the regular prices of $350-$1,000.
  • Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone is known for its language learning programs, but they also have a homeschool program that can aid teaching for homeschool families. Military personnel receive 10% off of their services.
  • Scholastic: Free printable exercises in writing, reading, math and science for children of all ages.
  • CrashCourse: An online YouTube channel offering free educational videos in almost every subject. Videos are available for elementary to college-level students and are not exclusive to veterans.

School Supplies

Many stores offer discounted rates for all of your school supplies needs. Many of these offers may require a valid military and/or student ID in person or virtually through ID.me.

  • com: Discounts for military service members with a free “Club O” account. Discounts can apply to backpacks, basic school supplies and dorm room essentials. You can also receive free shipping and reward perks.
  • Apple: Military veterans and immediate family members can receive 10% off on iMac, iPad, MacBooks, iPhones, Apple TV, Apple Watches and Apple Music products. Apple also offers a general discount to students of about 5%, which can be applied to iMacs, iPads and MacBooks.
  • Microsoft: Military members and their families get a 30% off discount for Microsoft Office when they buy through their local exchange center. The package includes all of the basic Microsoft programs, including Excel and PowerPoint, OneDrive and Skype.
  • Michaels: 15% off the entire purchase, including discounted items.
  • Office Depot and Office Max: 20% off qualifying purchases.

Clothing

If you’re looking for great deals on back-to-school clothes and shoes, several stores offer military discounts all year round. ID verification may be required. Military personnel can receive discounts on items at:

  • Adidas: 30% off online purchases
  • Carhartt: 10% off
  • Champion: 10% off
  • Eyemart Express: 20% off
  • Foot Locker: 15% off
  • Levi’s: 15% off online purchases
  • Lululemon: 15% off
  • Nike: 10% off
  • Old Navy: 10% off
  • Quicksilver and Roxy: 15% off
  • Under Armour: 20% off
  • Zappos: 10% off

Other stores may also offer military discounts upon request. You can also save on back-to-school shopping through “tax-free weekends”—a weekend-long event where certain states exempt tax rates near the beginning of the school year.

Other Ways to Save

The deals listed above are just a handful of the discounts available for military families. Remember, you can always ask retailers if they offer a military discount, utilize the price matching program at your local Exchange, and visit your local VA or on-base resources for any additional needs you may have.

Sources: College Recon, MyMilitaryBenefits, MilitaryDiscounts.shop, Dept. of VA

Your Next Mission (Critical)

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man holding laptop in data center setting

By Carrie Goetz

Many veterans may not be exposed to the mission critical industry—aka—the data center industry. Veterans serving on the IT side will undoubtedly understand the concept of a data center. For those that didn’t serve in the technology sectors, don’t think this industry is not for you. As a brief explanation, the mission critical industry is responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining data centers. By way of explanation, every known digitally documented thing “lives” in at least one data center. Every bit, every byte, every conversation and even transitory data will have some stint in a data center.

According to Arizton, the global data center market is set to reach 288.3 billion by 2027, up from 215.8 billion in 2021. Plainly put, the industry is not going away. The depth and breadth of jobs within the industry are vast. While some veterans will have directly transferable skills, other skills map well to skills needed to fill the over 300,000 open jobs requiring people over the next couple of years. The industry is a bit of an enigma for those without an IT background. At a recent Heroes in Transition event in San Diego, the overall theme was to show transitioning Soldiers some of the industry’s opportunities and the purpose surrounding the industry.

As we discuss the industry, let’s tie this back to the “every known digitally documented thing” statement above. That one sentence discusses the need for diversity within the industry. If everyone’s data is in them, shouldn’t everyone be represented in the industry that supports that data? The need for TRUE diversity is vital. We haven’t reached gender parity (not even close). We aren’t in every country on the planet. We don’t represent everyone yet. But we do have jobs for every background, skill level and education level. In fact, the majority of the positions within the industry are learned on the job. Veterans are in great demand.

Site Selection

Building a data center starts with site selection. Telecommunications, power and latency are the prime considerations for the site. Not that these necessarily need to be in place, but the ability to get them to the site is critical. Envision a piece of land somewhere. Everything you can imagine that needs to be at a home site is required here, at a much grander scale. Site selection involves real estate, logistics and liaising with telecommunications carriers, power companies, municipalities and the state or country. These jobs exist with all data centers, and many cities with large data center allies have their own liaisons, too.

Construction and Build

Careers in construction and building design are private commercial versions relatable to anyone in construction from the military. Jobs range from engineering and drafting to hands-on trades. In fact, we owe the trades everything! If it weren’t for the trades, nothing would be built. There are many construction firms out there that specialize in mission critical buildings. Some are design-build, and some are just construction. Some larger colocation (colo) data center builders that lease space have in-house construction arms. While others rely solely on contractors. Regardless, the building, power, cooling, telecommunications, generation, electricians, plumbers, masons, carpenters and heavy machine operators are just a few of the skills in demand for construction.

It’s Built, Now What?

Once constructed, the building becomes an ecosystem supporting information technology and systems within the space. Every single thing that gets installed must be maintained within the ecosystem. The information technology systems also must be installed, maintained and at some point, replaced. Many jobs in operations lend well to skills obtained in the service. Operations personnel must think fast on their feet and react calmly to find a solution. And while you may be thinking, “I don’t understand the ecosystem,” there are books to help and certifications that will fill in your skills gap. In fact, many college-trained individuals get the exact same certifications to learn to support the data center.

Operations jobs can be chaotic, so if you thrive on chaos, operations could be right up your alley. If you don’t thrive on chaos or have had enough, thousands of jobs in and around the industry support operations without the frenzied pace.  Vendor companies need sales, systems engineers, designers and customer service personnel. Human resources, marketing, accounting and logistics are also in demand.

Where’s the Purpose?

The purpose is yours for the taking. Whether you find purpose in helping others or being a guardian within the industry, there are plenty of ways to gain fulfillment. For those in the military that crave working as a team, this entire industry is a team. People here are helpful. This industry is one of the most extensive ongoing apprenticeships ever. People learn from each other. We need diversity to keep groupthink in check and ensure that our platforms are kind, serve all and, most importantly, are safe.

The stark reality is that the internet isn’t completely safe. Our children are not inherently safe on the internet. We simply can’t assume it’s always someone else’s job to foster safety. But then, veterans don’t. Veterans have stepped up and shown character through their service. We need these guardians in our industry, from construction to the cloud and everything in between.  If travel is a passion, many of these jobs lead you around the globe. Want to be a homebody? These jobs are everywhere. You probably look at data centers every day and don’t even realize it. Most every company either has one or uses one someone else runs. The cloud is technically a data center that provides services to users.

If you are transitioning or a prior service member, rest assured you are in demand. Training is available. Organizations such as Salute Mission Critical, Overwatch, iMasons and others will help you find your path. I, too, am happy to help and make introductions. Lastly, thank you for your service. We are all in your debt. It’s time to pay it forward, and our industry is working to do just that!

Carrie Goetz is an Amazon best selling author of Jumpstart Your Career in Data Centers and associated educator’s reference with an extensive career in the data center industry. She is published in 69 countries. She is the inaugural AFCOM/ Data Center World Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, 2023 Top 25 Women in Mission Critical and 2023 ICT Woman of the Year recipient.

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