NOVEMBER 2019 | IMPACTINGOURFUTURE.COM
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SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS
Respect for the military is in the quarterback’s blood
Five simple steps can make or break a vet’s civilian job hunt Trace Adkins and Brantley Gilbert talk giving back to service members
Each veteran has different expectations for re-entering the workforce, and for many, the trucking industry is an ideal option. Every veteran who enters the workforce has different experiences and expectations when re-entering civilian life. Veterans have different wants, needs, families, and career desires than a typical civilian. In the trucking industry, there’s a plethora of opportunities for those leaving the military: dispatcher, local driver, fleet owner, safety personnel, and more. According to the Census Bureau, about 11 percent of the 9 million working veterans in the United States work in trucking and affiliated industries. Regardless of educational background, experience in the military driving trucks counts as truck-driving experience, and the qualities vets learn on a day-to-day basis while serving make the business more successful. “In the military, you learn to pay attention to details, always be punctual, be open-minded and you become a great listener. You learn to strive to want more,” said Glenn Johnson, planning and procurement manager at Roadrunner Freight. “For drivers coming out of the military, it’s important to know all the responsibilities of being an owner operator. There’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s not easy, but someone who strives for more can make it possible.” Roadrunner Freight and other transportation companies recognize the value of veteran team members and are heavily focused on bringing them into the transportation and trucking network. While the veteran unemployment rate reaches a low of 3.2 percent, the doors of opportunity for veterans are open. n Adam Diercks, Vice President of Transportation and Network Planning, RoadRunner Freight
We Need to Look Out for Military Families Doing It All Supporting military service members is vitally important, but the families they leave behind need support as well. November is National Military Families Month. It’s also college application season. Natasha White, a mother of three, is balancing night classes with her family’s schedule, her husband’s military service, and his college classes. Their eldest son, a high school senior, is working on his college applications. Juggling it all as a military spouse can be tough. “Ultimately, my husband’s career trumps anything I do,” White said. When military members serve, their families serve, too. For many spouses, that often means sacrificing educational and professional aspirations to support their families through deployments and training missions. And the demands of military life don’t stop there. Most military families move every 2-3 years, and in the
last 20 years, White’s family has moved seven times. “You meet these great people, and people start leaving,” she explained. “You leave. Someone is always leaving.” So much change requires that spouses be resourceful and resilient, skilled at navigating last-minute changes of plans, expectations, and transitions in high-stress situations. At the same time, they need to be welcoming neighbors, solo parents, and serial career artists who can pursue school and work while facing staggering unemployment rates in an increasingly two-income world. It’s a lot to ask. But military spouses deliver — especially when they have the right support. For White, that support came in two forms: community groups where she became friends with other military spouses, and a scholarship from the National Military Family Association, the leading nonprofit dedicated to serving the families who
PHOTO: NATIONAL MILITARY FAMILY ASSOCIATION
Military Veterans Find New Purpose in Trucking Industry
stand behind the uniform. “I hadn’t gone to college before, partially due to the cost,” she said. Finding affordable, accessible, high-quality childcare far from family was also a concern. “Sometimes, this is when we wish we had our parents or siblings nearby. You know the saying, ‘It takes a village?’ It’s true.” Today’s military families need support to make education and careers more attainable for spouses who want them; to guarantee that every military family can afford to put nutritious food on the table; to ensure healthcare services provided are of the best quality; and to make sure that if the worst happens, the family left behind is properly cared for. More can and should be done to support families like Natasha’s, because the military is only as strong as its families. n Ashish Vazirani, Executive Director and CEO, National Military Family Association
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These 5 Factors Can Make or ‘Break a Veteran’s Civilian Job Hunt Re-entering the civilian job market after military life can be tough, but remembering these five steps can make all the difference.
ervice members, military spouses, and veterans face unique challenges when initiating their civilian job search. Translating military skills, determining a civilian career path or change, insufficient job search strategies, tailoring a résumé, and meeting salary expectations can all be seemingly insurmountable obstacles. These five factors can help: 1. Résumé tailoring Translating military skills for civilian hiring managers may be the most challenging part of
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the job search. But many online and in-person services exist to help in crafting a civilian résumé and successfully translating experience. 2. Job search strategies Taking a strategic approach to applications is important for any job-seeker. Successful applicants apply for positions fitting their skillset and qualifications, and tailor their résumés to the specific position. Using keywords and phrases from the job description in a résumé will make it more likely to pass Applicant Tracking Systems, which scan
the document for relevant keywords indicating the person is suited for the role. 3. Interview preparation Practicing common interview questions with a friend or professional mentor can help job-seekers ensure they can effectively convey their value to a potential employer. It is also important to come prepared with questions of your own, and many online resources and veteran service organizations are available to assist in gathering insightful questions. Since employers often determine hiring decisions off first impressions, it is vital to
look your best. You can never be overdressed for an interview. 4. Post-interview follow up An important final step is to follow up with employers after an interview, either via email or a handwritten note. 5. Use resources There are a multitude of resources and Veteran Service Organizations, like Hire Heroes USA, that provide personalized employment services to transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses at no cost. n Elena Comperatore, Georgia Area Manager, Hire Heroes USA
Military Training Develops Leadership Qualities Workplaces Need A military background fosters the kind of leadership skills workplaces need, and employers should take note. The military teaches you how to work as a team, remain dedicated to the mission, and provide optimal support for coworkers. So, it should come as no surprise veteran employees often elevate the performance of those around them and foster a more productive workforce. A good unit in the military will focus on mission accomplishment. They have the mentality of getting the job done right the
first time, no matter what. This mindset is a core value of all military branches. That attitude can be infectious. One company, for example, hired a technician supervisor through RecruitMilitary to manage a team of junior technicians. Some days were easier, and the team could leave early, but some days were non-stop until the job was complete. Under the military veteran’s leadership, the team moved away from, “Well, it’s about being here from 8-5,” to saying, “No, it’s about getting that piece of equipment fixed.” Mission accomplished.
In the military, you’re taught that your team is the most important team on the planet. There is a friendly but competitive spirit. It’s about winning with your team. In another example, a junior military officer stepped into a team leader role at a manufacturing company, where several different teams rotated through shifts. Six months after the veteran was placed, the teams had created competitions around all the productivity areas that were tracked. It was the veteran’s idea, and the plant manager said it was the
best impact on production he’d ever seen. Veterans have been found to perform at a level that is an average of 4 percent higher than non-veteran employees in a Corporate Executive Board study. Because of the practical, realworld experience in self-discipline, leadership, problem-solving, and critical thinking that veterans bring to a workforce, they are in high demand. Sixty-eight percent of employers report that veterans perform “better than” or “much better than” their civilian peers, according to Center for a New American Security. Every veteran, member of the National Guard, Reservist, and military spouse should be professionally curious and explore professional opportunities because each of them possesses highly sought-after skills learned during dedicated years of service. n Tim Best, CEO, Bradley-Morris, Inc. and RecruitMilitary
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For this CEO, Veteran Support Is Priority No. 1 Brian Bartley, CEO of United Candle, talks about the biggest issues facing veterans today and how companies and individuals can support the military at home.
NFL Quarterback Drew Brees Honors Veterans On and Off the Field
How do you make supporting veterans a priority in both your personal and your professional life? For me, supporting veterans has now meshed into both my personal and professional life. I started United Candle with the sole purpose of being a company that gives back to our veterans and to remind people to show appreciation for the freedom they have fought for. How can individuals play a role in supporting this cause?
PHOTO: THE BREES FAMILY
Individuals can play a role in supporting veterans by donating to a military foundation or purchasing from a company that gives back to the military. Volunteering your time to assist disabled veterans with their needs would also make a great impact. What are some of the biggest challenges you see the veteran community facing? Mental health treatment is definitely an issue I have seen the veteran community facing. Being that a mental health problem is a “wound” that cannot be physically seen, it often goes untreated or not treated properly. Another challenge I have seen the veteran community facing is unemployment. This is an area we look forward to making an impact in by employing veterans for upcoming positions at United Candle. 6 • IMPACTINGOURFUTURE.COM
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints Quarterback, says he’d “do anything” for veterans, explaining respect for the military is in his blood. “I love our veterans,” says Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. “I’d do anything for them.” The 40-year-old NFL star’s commitment to honoring the
military is in his blood. Both of his grandfathers served during World War II. One was a colonel in the army, the other was a corporal in the Marines. “I grew up with both of them talking about their military service, talking about what an honor it was to serve their country,” he says. While the 2009 Super Bowl MVP loves his work on
the football field, he’s proud of the work he’s doing for veterans. Over the years, Brees has participated in five United Service Organization (USO) tours visiting Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Turkey, Djibouti, Dubai, Okinawa, and Guantanamo Bay. “My USO trips were absolutely inspired by my respect for our military,” he says, noting how impressed he is by the sacrifices military members make on a daily basis, including long deployments of a year or more. “Every time I look at our flag during the national anthem, I think about all those who’ve sacrificed so much for us to have the freedoms that we have,” says Brees, who was a 2016 nominee for the NFL’s year-round “Salute to Service” campaign, which has donated over $34 million to military nonprofits since 2011. “I can only imagine what that adjustment is like coming back into civilian life and especially from those suffering from injuries, both stuff you can see on the surface and those that you can’t,” he says. “Whatever we can do to help serve these men and women and to help their adjustment back into civilian life, and to provide them with the opportunities that they need to succeed throughout their military careers, I think is extremely vital.” n Kristen Castillo MEDIAPLANET
3D Printing Is Revolutionizing Veterans’Healthcare Technological innovations like 3D printing are transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare — and changing veterans’ lives forever. A left elbow injury sustained from an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2007 caused Sam Taito extensive nerve damage that forces his hand to remain in a clenched position. Off-the-shelf hand braces were no match for his injury, often snapping under the strain of his
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fingers. However, a custom 3D printed hand brace designed by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hand therapist, Mary Matthews-Brownell, is strong enough to withstand Taito’s strength and “fits like a glove.” Now, Taito can reach out and hold his baby girl’s hand, conduct everyday tasks like brushing his teeth without pain, and work in his garden. VA has spurred 3D printing’s growth and expects more than 25 hospitals will be using it by
the end of the year. This work is part of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Innovation Ecosystem. A relatively new part of VA, it works with a network of government, academic, and private sector partners to identify the most promising innovations, fund them, and spread them to benefit veterans. This technology allows VHA healthcare providers to design patient-matched solutions, such as dental crowns, hand braces,
wheelchair accessories, and more. Additionally, 3D printing can even be used to create an exact replica of a patient’s anatomy — for example, a patient’s heart — from medical imaging studies, such as computed tomography scans. But 3D printing is just onexample of new technologies which positively impact the care of veterans, and more innovations are soon to come. n Beth Ripley, MD, PhD, Veterans Health Administration
Why So Many Veterans Choose Careers in Trucking Trucking is a natural fit for many veterans entering the workforce, thanks to their military experience and outreach from the industry. “The trucking industry continues to fight hard to welcome returning service members into fulfilling careers in trucking,” says Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations (ATA), the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. ATA works with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation program called “Hiring Our Heroes,” which helps trucking companies connect with, and hire, veterans. Smooth transition In many cases, veterans have advantages going into trucking. For example, vets who have two or more years’ experience operating heavy machinery may not have to take
a trucking road test. Under an exemption called “Military CDL Skills Waiver Test” — valid in every state — a veteran who has a commercial driver’s license and has operated the large or heavy equipment in the previous year may be able to skip the road test. So far, 26,000 veterans and service members have benefited from the waiver. Safety Members of the military are reliable and have been trained to value safety. Those skills translate well on the road. According to ATA, trucks have a crash rate that’s 29 percent lower than other vehicles. The trucking industry spends $9.5 billion annually on safety, including training and investing in safety technologies. So, companies like to hire vets who already have a commitment to safety practices.
Respect CRST Expedited Services, Inc., one of the largest transportation companies in the United States, has 4,500 trucks, and hires vets. “We give our veterans opportunities to make the transition from military to civilian a very easy switch,” says Jordan Schulte, military liaison/capacity development for the company. “We take pride in being one of the top companies nationwide to take care of our veterans past and present.” Marine veteran Burton Gingerich, CDS, a safety trainer in the flatbed division, feels appreciated. “CRST has treated me, as a veteran, with a lot more respect than I thought any civilian-based company would,” he says. n Kristen Castillo
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One veteran’s story shows how transitioning into civilian life can be complicated without help. After 24 years of service and three deployments to the Middle East, thenArmy Sgt., 1st Class, Vito DiChristina, knew it was time to transition back into the civilian world. “I have three children [and] they’re all starting high school; it was time to refocus myself back towards my family,” DiChristina says. Intent on retiring and settling with his family in the El Paso, Texas area, DiChristina asked to be stationed at Fort Bliss during his final months of service. The only problem was, when it came to actually transitioning out of the military and searching for a civilian job, his personal and professional connections in El Paso were limited. Fortunately, while participating in Soldier For Life, the army’s transition program, he stumbled upon USO El Paso’s then-temporary Pathfinder location. “They said, ‘Hey, do you need help with your résumé,’” DiChristina says. “They got me in touch with Mr. [Genaro] Lopez, who was my counselor during my transition process.” Over the course of several months, DiChristina worked with Lopez, now the Pathfinder site manager in El Paso, to develop a comprehensive transition plan to jump-start his civilian life. In particular, Lopez helped DiChristina navigate his retirement benefits, discover educational opportunities, and find potential job leads. “He was a retired military guy, so he instantly had credit with me,” DiChristina said. Now comfortably employed, DiChristina is glad to see his experience is valued. “I’m no longer part of the Army team anymore, but knowing that there’s an organization that’s willing to take me on [feels good].” Sandi Gohn, Senior Content Marketing Manager, USO 10 • IMPACTINGOURFUTURE.COM
Job Hunting Gets Complicated When You’re a Military Spouse PHOTO: MS. SARAH J. MAXWELL OF BORN TO BE WILD PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC.
Retiring From the Military Isn’t That Simple
Finding meaningful work as a military spouse can be complicated, but there are resources that can help. Active military are not the only people making sacrifices to serve our country. Because military families move often, spouses frequently give up solid employment to relocate to another state with their partners. This was the case for military spouse MaiLani Cruz, who was working in Southern California when her husband was transferred to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. With yet another move came uncertainty around finding a job. Over 35 percent of military spouses work in a field
that requires a state-regulated occupational license, which means occupational licensing regimes impose barriers for military spouses to join the labor market. Some states, like Illinois, are enacting laws that stipulate applications for licenses must be reviewed and granted within 60 days. Other states should follow suit. When Cruz moved across state lines, she found support through workforce nonprofit Workforce Opportunity Services, a job training program that trains and places veterans and military spouses in jobs at top corporations. After 16 weeks of accelerated training with the
organization, she took and passed two certifications vital to any role in project management. She now works full-time at Prudential Financial, and, should her husband be relocated in the future, she has the skills and necessary certifications to land and sustain a career in project management. According to Cruz, “My husband serves to take care of us and I will move and change careers as often as I have to in order to keep us together.” Another important element to supporting working military spouses takes into account their mental health. The stresses of managing a family solo, uncertainty of their spouse’s safety during deployment, and frequent need to relocate on short notice can take a toll on one’s well-being. With so much to juggle it’s not surprising that one study found 78 percent of spouses studied reported depression and 44 percent reported unaddressed mental health needs. Employers can help by sponsoring confidential support groups, which can be led by qualified mental health professionals or selfrun by employees. Support groups provide an opportunity for people to share personal experiences and coping strategies, as well as serve as a reminder that they are not alone. n Dr. Art Langer, Chairman and Founder, Workforce Opportunity Services
For Trace Adkins & Brantley Gilbert, Supporting the
PHOTO OFPHOTO: BRANTLEY GILBERT: JEFF NELSON NAME SURNAME
PHOTO OF TRACE ADKINS: KRISTIN BARLOWE
Military Is Personal Country stars Trace Adkins and Brantley Gilbert talk about why support for the military is so important to them, and what they’re doing to make a difference. The country music community is known for supporting the military. Singers Trace Adkins and Brantley Gilbert exemplify that commitment. Trace Adkins Adkins has been a country star for over two decades, but he is particularly honored to give back to members of the military and veterans. “I think of myself as a citizen that’s very appreciative of the sacrifices and the work these men and women do,” he says. “They’re great people and they’re doing noble work.” Adkins’ support for the military started early in his career when he went on his first United Service Organization (USO) tour in 2002 to Bahrain. “After that first trip, I was hooked. They were some of the most appreciative audiences that you’ll ever play for.” Since then, he’s been on a total of 12 USO tours, visiting over 65,000 service members across the globe, including performances at military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Spain. In 2016, Adkins received the National Defense Industrial Association’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for his exceptional leadership and advocacy for
service members. He also supports other veterans’ projects and organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project. But Adkins is humble. “I’m not going to pat myself on the back too hard,” he says. “I just do what I can and hopefully it’ll help.” Brantley Gilbert Gilbert is always looking for opportunities to help veterans. The singer, songwriter, and producer says a few of his friends went into the service and one of them struggled. “That was the first time that it really hit home,” he says. “Because it was someone I knew well before they left, well enough to know that they were a lot different when they got back.” In addition to volunteering, he suggests getting to know a vet on a personal level.“You never know, you might end up with a close friend like I did,” says Gilbert, who formed a strong friendship with Staff Sergeant Justin Patterson, a veteran Army sniper. Patterson, who was injured when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle, has PTSD. The two met through the Wounded Warrior Project and talk several times a week. Patterson gave Gilbert one of his three Purple Hearts and credits the singer with helping save his life. “It is safe to say that any work I do with active duty or veterans has always been life-changing and not just a little bit,” says Gilbert. n Kristen Castillo MEDIAPLANET • 11
From Your Uniform to Ours Thousands of men and women proudly wore our nation’s uniform before they wore ours. We believe that’s one reason why Estes is America’s largest, privately owned transportation company. We’re also one of BestJobUSA’s Top 100 veteran-friendly employers. And Forbes ranked us as the top trucking company in their list of America’s Best Large Employers. If you’re transitioning from the military and considering a career in transportation, we’re recruiting smart, motivated professionals like you. After all, our employees have been the key to our success since 1931.
To learn more about job opportunities at Estes, visit Work4Estes.com.