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illustrating that working with veterans adds strength to the business

Invest New Effort in Your Business: Working with Veterans as Employees and Entrepreneurs

A Contemplation on Veteran’s Day

Almost any business can benefit by choosing veterans as employees or entrepreneurial partners. Forward-thinking business people who have hired veterans can tell you amazing success stories, and we’ll look at why. But first, let’s see why Veterans Day is an important concept.

The First Armistice Day

November 11, 2022, is this year’s day to honor all US Veterans. Once called Armistice Day, it underlines our nation’s reverence for military service people and began with an unknown American WWI soldier. We really don’t know if the first internment at Arlington National Cemetary was a man or a woman, but for sure the person was a service member. The burial took place on November 11, 1921, the third anniversary of the exact end of that war. Armistice refers to a total end to active hostility between factions.

A Congressional resolution named Armistice Day in 1926, but the day wouldn’t be proclaimed a holiday until 12 years later. Not long after that, hostilities escalated and WWII began. So much for the armistice.

In the end, a Birmingham Alabama veteran organized community celebrations that evolved into Veterans Day, and here we all are. Take a few minutes and read the whole story or opt for a 4-minute Veterans Day History video.

Why Veterans as Employees and Entrepreneurs?

Why? Because they spend years learning and practicing the exact soft skill you would look for in a trusted partner. Military personnel are cross-trained in multiple hard skills, and they have real-world experience in varied tasks and responsibilities. But understand that they also learn intangibles like how to put in a hard day’s work and appreciate knowing they did the job to the best of their capability. Sounds like a real asset in the workplace, doesn’t it?

Ingrained strengths the veteran brings to the workplace usually include

  • Teamwork for safety and efficiency – the cornerstone of military effectiveness and part of their daily lives
  • Stability – being patient and remaining calm under duress
  • Problem-solving – quickly and creatively
  • Adaptability – with a determined outlook
  • Follow rules and schedules
  • Respect for diversity
  • Self-confidence – a real-time evaluation of self and abilities
  • Disciplined organizational skills coupled with follow-through and follow-up
  • Work ethic – an amazing drive to get it done

Veterans Come Equipped with Impressive Hard Skills

Inasmuch as we’re now up on what’s inside a veteran’s spirit and spine, we have to look at the actual hard skills critical to moving a business forward. Service members possess a whole portfolio of cross-functional skills. They are expected to see every assignment’s value and take its impact on the mission seriously. You can expect them to have had extensive training and experience in any combination of these areas:

  • Tech skills – computers and systems, electronic devices, programming, engines, heavy equipment
  • Cyber security knowledge
  • Mechanical skills – machines, vehicles, production equipment
  • Military STEM areas – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • Medical – all levels, all jobs
  • Management – from small teams to large units
  • Troubleshooting problems in novel or known conditions
  • Building and construction
  • Planning and development
  • Training, counseling, and mentoring
  • Design and engineering
  • Creative skills like photography, writing, or music

Keep in mind that when you work with veterans as employees and entrepreneurs, they come to the table thoroughly trained with effective experience. You save money, time, and resources from day one. At you can learn how to tie your worker needs to the entire list of military job classifications.

Military Speak or How to Read a Veteran’s Resume and History

The first time you confront an ex-service member’s resume or CV it might look like it’s written in a foreign language. Have faith, you can translate.

Advanced individual training means advanced skills course(s) in their job specialty.

BLC, PLDC, BNOC refer to different basic and intermediate leadership and management courses. ANOC is the advanced course.

OAC is entry-level officer training.

Combined arms staff college means senior management leadership school.

Command and staff college advances the skills of those senior leaders, while War college is an executive leadership school.

TYD/TAD tells you they have had business travel experience.

PCS refers to their relocation experience and expertise.

OER/NCOER shows they’ve worked with performance appraisals.

Commanded indicates they directly managed and supervised a group of workers.

Battalion, unit, and platoon mean organization, agency, and department in business-speak.

Combat isn’t just another word for hostilities. Combat experience is evidence of successfully moving through hazardous conditions, conflict, problem-solving, and critical thinking challenges.

About Veterans’ Business Situations

If you’re going to work with veterans, it’s important that you understand why so many are out there looking for opportunities while others are all set.

In the American workforce, there are 8,918,000 workers. About 5.6% are veterans according to the Department of Labor blog. That represents fewer veterans at work now than 20 years ago. Yes, we acknowledge that large numbers of baby boomer veterans have retired. Don’t forget that retired veterans looking for business opportunities are a gold mine of talent and practical wisdom.

More veterans choose these occupations than do nonveterans:

  • Business management and financial operations – preferred by 20% of veterans and 17% of nonveterans
  • Logistics: coordinating and moving people, materials, inventory, and equipment from one location to another – a preferred choice of 13% of veterans and 7% of nonveterans
  • Installation, maintenance, repair – 7% of veterans and less than 3% of nonveterans
  • Production of goods – preferred by 7% of veterans and 5% of non

As for women veterans, they have a statistically higher preference than men veterans in professional and related occupations and in office or administrative support occupations. About 33% of women veterans choose those, compared to less than 20% of men.

And Unemployment?

The Department of Labor says veteran unemployment is between 3% and 5%, down from 12.5% during the pandemic. A close look at unemployment shows it’s racially and ethnically skewed, just as much as nonveteran figures are.

“In 2020, the overall unemployment rate for veterans (6.5%) was lower than their nonveteran counterparts (8.0%). This holds true for all major race and ethnicity groups of veterans: Unemployment rates for white, Black, Asian, and Hispanic or Latino veterans were lower than their nonveteran counterparts in 2020. Among both veterans and nonveterans, the unemployment rates for Blacks and Hispanics or Latinos were higher than for whites or Asians.” (– US Department of Labor blog)

However, the US Government is smart enough to fill more than 30% of its jobs with qualified veterans, and there are great reasons to use such a strategy.

Seems like it would be beneficial to evaluate what you’re reading here, and draw your own conclusions about the skills and characteristics of veterans in the workforce. Is your niche likely to attract skilled veterans?

Veterans Transition Successfully into Civilian Business

An Army veteran trained in maintenance and repairs. He worked on large equipment and became a skilled painter. First, he learned how to apply paint and how to select the proper tools and materials. He scheduled jobs efficiently, finished on time, and then inspected and evaluated his work. During his service to civilian transition, he worked with a painting contractor. Now, as an entrepreneur, he owns a lucrative painting business with a crew of 10.

A Navy service member was assigned to the SeaBee team – AKA the Construction Battalion (CB). Before deploying to Iraq, he worked on base and went to school, learning construction and project management. He got hands-on experience when his team volunteered to build community parks and a local church. In Iraq, he and the team built and deconstructed military bases as troops moved around combat regions. After service, this highly sought-after tradesman joined Invitation Homes (a national residential property rental company) as a home inspector. Ten years later, he’s their respected foreman overseeing the company’s Midwest region.

Dianna Flett is a well-known entrepreneurial veteran. A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, she lead soldiers in strategies and tactics all over the world, earning a plethora of decorations and commendations.

Dianna’s service landed her in many of the trainings and courses mentioned above. That shaped her skillset for civilian success. Later, she worked with the FBI as a team leader teaching leadership and management strategies to intelligence analysts. And that experience took her into her own civilian business, Girl Smarts, which supports and mentors pre-middle school girls. The company’s whole-girl approach prepares preteens for the challenges of adolescence.

Ok, So Where Do You Find These Talented Men and Women?

We have a few ideas to get you started working with veterans, and if you know someone who needs a leg-up, pass this article to them.

National Labor Exchange

Hire a Veteran 

Military Hire

Dept of Labor helpful hiring resources

ACP – national non-profit mentoring agency for thousands of veterans each year

Military One Source 

Take Advantage of this National Treasury of Skilled People

The lack of a college degree is one main reason veterans cite for missing out on jobs suited to their experience and training. That missing sheepskin should never prevent an employer or entrepreneur from hooking up with a skilled veteran candidate. Once an intuitive and forward-thinking business person can translate military experience into business world success, a new world opens. Right now, businesses face a serious challenge in finding qualified people. Start-ups need stellar partners or managers. Take a giant step into the future and start talking with veterans who are eager to succeed right along with you.

[Editor’s note: the writer comes from a long-time military family whose service stretches from World War I to Operation Iraqi Freedom and beyond.]

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[Editors’ Note: To learn more about this and related topics, you may want to attend the following on-demand webinars (which you can listen to at your leisure and each includes a comprehensive customer PowerPoint about the topic):

  1. Blockchain and Supply Chain
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  3. Cannabis Legal and Business Issues for Employers and Employees

©2022. DailyDACTM, LLC d/b/a/ Financial PoiseTM. This article is subject to the disclaimers found here.

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About Maryan Pelland

Maryan Pelland is a professional writer/editor/publisher with hundreds of bylined features in the Chicago Tribune, Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Biloxi Sun Herald, the Daily Herald, and the Northwest Herald. With a journalism degree, UICC, Maryan writes extensively on business management, not-for profit business, and family business topics. Her digital bylines include dozens of magazines…

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