Earlier this week our colleagues at Government Technology Insider shared an article about the value that veterans bring to the private sector. As they look to life after military service, many veterans wonder where they might fit in civilian life, particularly in the work world. The good news is that the skills they gained during their military service are much-needed in the IT industry, particularly in data centers. Read on to learn more from E2 Optics‘ Mark Williams.
As government agencies and organizations in the private sector continue to modernize their IT infrastructures and migrate to the cloud, a new job market has been created in the process to meet their technology requirements. Today, there is a significant need for employees with the skills and abilities necessary to construct, outfit, and integrate the technologies that are essential to running the data centers that provide these IT services to the public sector. And one population of the workforce that we are looking forward to welcome to our team are military veterans.
The rapidly expanding IT industry has created a job market that is catered to the skillset and teamwork atmosphere that veterans thrive in. Let’s look at some of the reasons why technology integrators should look at the veteran population when trying to identify team members who are mission-focused and flourish in a structured, career-pathed environment.
Recognizing the Value of the Military Difference
Veterans have specific, valuable traits that all employers want. Coming from a structured, military environment, veterans have immense respect for process and procedures, as well as a keen understanding of their roles in accomplishing objectives and how they fit into an organization’s mission.
Individuals with military backgrounds also retain an exceptional sense of camaraderie. They are able to discern the difference between individuality and teamwork and have a unique perception of how their individual roles contribute to their team’s overall success.
Today, employers understand the value of a veteran’s military training. Veterans are receptive and eager to learn and develop professionally. The more training an employer can provide to a veteran, the more likely they’re going to succeed and feel empowered as a critical part of an organization. In fact, here at E2 Optics, we constantly seek out this trait in all of our recruitment efforts.
Technology integrators, like E2 Optics, also recognize that the military does a superb job equipping individuals with the desirable leadership, communication, and crisis management skills that we don’t necessarily find when hiring civilians. When veterans are brought onto the E2 Optics team, they already have the background and real-life experience of utilizing those skillsets and training.
But for most veterans transitioning out of the service, the impacts of the unstructured civilian world are felt immediately, posing complicated challenges for them to overcome when seeking and gaining employment post-service. They may also find that they lack some of the specific skills and abilities necessary for work with technology integrators. And this is where specific training programs and management that has experience working with a veteran workforce can make a difference.
Creating a Productive Environment for Veterans
Upon entering the civilian workforce, veterans often struggle with the adjustment of working alongside colleagues who have been conditioned to view their roles through individualistic lenses. The clear and concrete chain-of-command environment that veterans thrive and excel in doesn’t exist in the civilian world, which results in them feeling a lack of direction, fulfillment, and purpose. For many in the veteran community, this is an all too familiar experience.
It is critical for employers to be cognizant of the stressors that are affecting veterans seeking employment. With the right professional development and training programs in place, an employer can ensure that their veteran personnel are positioned for success and are able to envision their career path within the organization.
Technology integrators also have to understand that – while there is a population of veterans who worked in the tech integration field while in the military – many did not. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be a good fit for the company’s culture, or an incredibly productive addition to the team. It just means that they require additional training and skills development.
For example, at E2 Optics, we have prioritized the training and education of our workforces in a very structured and team-oriented way, beginning on day one of employment. This ensures that our team members have a concrete vision of their professional growth and advancement within the organization.
In addition, our training and career development resources have been developed in partnership with Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI). BICSI is the professional association that supports the advancement of the information and communications technology profession.
It’s our belief that having a trained and educated workforce is a vital component for the success of our company, as well as our industry. Partnering with BICSI in three of their training centers across the country – in Columbus, Omaha, and Salt Lake City – has enabled us to equip our new hires with the technical, practical, and theory expertise necessary for them to excel in their roles at the organization.
But technical skills training isn’t always enough. It’s important that veterans entering the workforce also have professional mentors that can help them acclimate to the corporate environment and learn their responsibilities within the organization.
This is why, at E2 Optics, we have established a mentorship program where new hires are paired with a field expert, where they job shadow for the first 90 days on the job. During this mentoring period, trainees have full-time access to their field expert who will teach them everything they need to know, from the systems and processes to designs and terminology.
Through our BICSI training centers, our mentorship programs, as well as our evolving career development curriculum, we’ve established an environment where we can provide the training to give veterans a career, not just a job.
The telecommunications industry is on the precipice of being the next proverbial “oilfield.” Careers in telecommunications – including with technology integrators – are in high demand, and there is incredible hiring pressure. Veterans can bring incredible leadership, commitment, and management abilities to these positions, even if they lack the technical skills necessary. Smart technology integrators will recognize that it’s unreasonable to expect job applicants to have the required technical experience to hit the ground running on day one. These organizations will rework their recruitment and hiring efforts in order to enable new hires without those technical skills – especially military veterans – to have a career that they can learn, grow, and live with the rest of their life – guaranteed.
To learn more about the current career opportunities at E2 Optics, click HERE.
Mark Williams is a safety professional with more than 25 years of experience in the construction, general, and petrochemical industries. He is currently, Vice President of Safety & Risk Management at E2 Optics.