Every year, hundreds of thousands of men and women leave the U.S. military service and re-enter civilian life. Unfortunately, many of these skilled individuals struggle to find employment in roles that are commensurate with the level of expertise and competence that they have acquired, and addressing this gap is something that I have become extremely passionate about.
The transition to civilian life can be a stressful and challenging process for service members and their families, but I strongly believe it doesn't have to be. I stand for giving Veterans opportunities. I also believe Merit is in a position where we can make a difference, and think other companies should be doing the same.
Service members and Veterans embody many of the most critical skills to be successful in the workforce. Anyone can look up how to write a customer service email, how to understand a gantt chart, or how to read a balance sheet. Leading a team, real-time problem solving, and sheer work ethic aren’t easily or quickly learned skills, yet those are the skills that businesses are most desperately looking for. These individuals are often overlooked because they may not have some of the traditional hard skills – that in reality, can be learned in days, if not hours. I would argue that service members in fact have more valuable experience.
Anything we can do to help service members translate those skills into civilian work is a worthy cause. As Americans, we are doing a disservice to those that protect us by not supporting Veterans in this endeavor, and as companies, we are doing a disservice to investors if we are not capitalizing on this unbelievably talented pool of candidates.
At Merit, we want to help give Veterans access to the best opportunities available. We want to find ways to shorten the learning curve of how to apply for jobs, showcase skills, discuss abilities in context of a civilian career, and we’ve found that these are skills that most Veterans aren’t getting.
With all of this in mind, Merit is proud to work alongside such organizations as the Soldier For Life – Transition Assistance Program (TAP), and the U.S. Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program to help military professionals find better employment opportunities as they transition to civilian life. Beginning this Fall, we are launching the Merit Career Skills Program.
This eight-part tactical skills-focused program will cover key elements of transitioning into a civilian career, including:
- Resume building
- Business communication
- Presentation skills
- Interview skills
- Salary negotiation
- And more
Upon completion of the classes, internship or fellowship opportunities at Merit and other partner companies will be available for service members and their families to apply for, which have the potential to turn into full-time employment. Beyond that, every service member that goes through the program will walk away with a toolkit of tactical skills that they can leverage throughout their lives to help them get more out of their civilian careers.
The Merit Career Skills Program is an important and valuable step to better serve our Veterans and their families. As a corporation, what better way is there to use our capital, than to enable these skilled individuals to find a career after their military service? We’re excited to kick this off, and we hope that more companies will join us in making a difference.
If you’re an individual who would like to volunteer your time – let us know here.
If you’d like to talk to us about how your business can get involved – let us know here.