Although the military talent pool brings at-the-ready skills, training and experience from serving the country, you still have to teach them about your workforce culture and business objectives and possibly help them address any learning curve gaps to ensure their success and prevent high turnover. If you have the resources, putting an existing veteran or spouse in a training position can be a great way to create a bridge between the training your company already provides and training that veterans and spouses will respond well to.
Tailored on-the-job training programs have been successful at various companies that have been recognized for their military hiring efforts. Here are some unique training approaches and programs. A few that could serve as models for your business’s needs:
- GE has a Junior Officer Leadership Program, a two-year rotational system that involves three different segments. Each participant learns a business in depth before rolling off into a full-time position. The position is dictated by a combination of business needs and employee's desires.
- Consider joining GE’s collaborative “Get Skills to Work” (GetSkillsToWork.org). The program partners community colleges and technical schools with local manufacturers to target training and certifications toward the needs of these businesses. It also involves attracting veterans to the manufacturing industry, where there are many opportunities for a career.
- Xcel Energy invests in a curriculum called “Bring Your ‘A Game’ to Work” for veterans. This program teaches about the Xcel culture and gets co-workers and new supervisors on the same page as the veteran in regard to work ethic and expectations. The goal for the curriculum is for veteran hires to increase the work ethic and productivity of their civilian counterparts, while reminding current veteran employees to maintain their high level of values and standards for the workplace.
- Schneider National Inc. launched the Vet to Vet Training Program in 2013. It matches newly hired driving school graduates coming out of the military with Schneider driving training engineers who also have a military background. This effort is intended to more immediately immerse new drivers into the Schneider culture by pairing them with a like-minded associate, thereby improving the onboarding experience for new drivers and improving retention. Classroom training includes an introduction to Schneider’s mobile communications system, a trip planning refresher, and a review of safety tips designed to keep drivers and the motoring public safe.
APPRENTICESHIPS AND INTERNSHIPS
Apprenticeships and internships are cost-effective training methods, and that’s especially the case for wounded warriors who are reacclimating, as well as military spouses whose resumes may reflect a broad range of experiences but want to focus on their professional development in a specific industry.
If you’re not sure where to start, get assistance from Project Hired (ProjectHired.org), a nonprofit that partners with companies to help disabled individuals find jobs. Intel recently started an apprentice and internship program for severely disabled wounded warriors. The company partnered with Project Hired to design and implement it and kicked it off earlier in 2014.
The federal government has also made available a number of resources to help veterans transition into high-skilled, good-paying jobs through its Registered Apprenticeship system. A Registered Apprenticeship program is sponsored by an individual business or an employer association and may be partnered with a labor organization through a collective bargaining agreement. Upon finishing the training program, an apprentice earns a "Completion of Registered Apprenticeship" certificate, an industry-issued, nationally recognized credential that validates proficiency. To register, visit DOLETA.gov/oa/employer.cfm.
As for military spouses, 84 percent have some college credits, 25 percent have a bachelor’s degree and 10 percent have an advanced degree. That said, one in four is unemployed and looking for work. Those who are still in school could benefit from internship opportunities at your company. Consider partnering with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) to set up opportunities and gain access to their members who would be interested in those opportunities.