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AEMP Veterans Workforce Project: What's in a Name?

Monday, August 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Georgia Krause - AEMP Staff Writer
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What's in a Name?

Could it be that superb workers and great employment opportunities are not connecting because they have not been properly introduced? Is a well-trained, capable, and extremely responsible workforce is being overlooked simply because one job can carry many titles?

 

North Dakota: 842nd Engineering Company, South Dakota National Guard, Missouri River flood levee.  Photo by Spc. Tiffany Hamilton

As part of the AEMP's continuing mission to expand and enhance the equipment management profession, the AEMP Workforce Committee met in June to discuss how to bridge the well-trained, capable, and extremely responsible workforce - our military veterans - to civilian employers who tell us they are actively searching for fleet technicians and managers.

 

AEMP is building a human resource hiring document outlining the equivalent military-to-civilian

 skills needed for human resource personnel to easily identify qualified military candidates.  The template lays out each job series in progression for heavy equipment maintenance, equipment operators and equipment management positions.  


By cascading the job series, human resource personnel adjust their dialog and talk with military candidates about where they fit into the organization based on their military training and experience in one of the three job categories.  This is a win-win for the employer as they fill critical skill shortages and the military candidate is hired at the appropriate skill level.   

 

NJ Hurricane Sandy:  New Jersey National Guard; Photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen

AEMP is steering away from one-to-one military crosswalk process commonly used by many employers because the current process requires HR personnel to be proficient in up to 40 or more Military Occupational Classifications (MOSs). Matching MOSs to civilian job descriptions is a painstaking and cumbersome process that could unnecessarily eliminate qualified military personnel from consideration for high demand, career jobs. 

  

The purpose of the AEMP HR Civilian Skills document is three fold: To help employers, job seekers, and HR departments and hiring managers better recognize the skills and experience of military personnel transitioning into civilian jobs.


The need

According to the 2017 AEMP Equipment Management Workforce Survey, the 5 most challenging jobs to fill with qualified candidates in our industry are (in order of difficulty):

• Heavy Equipment Technician

• Light Vehicle Technician

• Heavy Equipment PM/Oiler Technician

• Shop Managers

• CDL Truck Drivers

 

Note that a full 92.5 percent of survey respondents said Heavy Equipment Technician

is at the top of their toughest-to-find help wanted list.

 

The disconnects

Army Brigadier General (ret) Marianne Watson says employers looking for veterans to hire based on their extremely positive experience with current military veteran employees often tell her they can't find vets to hire. "They would hire as many as they could if they were able to locate them," says Watson.


Now, consider this: According to Watson, a significant portion of the 200,000 transitioning service members each year are seeking civilian career jobs. Many are finding meaningful (defined as a career position that will support a family) career jobs with large companies because they recognize their military training and experience.  Watson says this is because larger businesses have more HR resources available to organize and fund veteran hiring programs. 


Those not hired by larger companies are offered jobs with smaller companies where frequently the job does not make use of the veteran's skills or is not a career position. While many of these exemplary workers have the training, skills, experience, and work ethic required for careers in equipment and fleet management, they find themselves 'underemployed'. 


Veterans offering excellent training, skills and very verifiable experience find that their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) job titles are not recognized or understood by human resource hiring managers or resume search software. Some vets disqualify themselves from applying for a job because the civilian job title sounds nothing like their MOS responsibilities.


"The companies and the veterans are walking right past each other because they don't recognize each other. They are speaking the same language but with different dialects,” says Watson.


Workforce committee member Dan Ammon says when compared side by side there is very little gap between what many  military service members bring to AEMP employers and what civilian industry calls a Heavy Equipment Technician. "Identifying skill sets and discovering how similar military and civilian positions are is part of what we are all learning." 


The solution - Developing the AEMP HR Hiring Resource

With leadership from Brigadier General (Ret) Marianne Watson, AEMP committee chairman Barry Schlouch, and AECOM maintenance supervisor Dan Ammon, the AEMP Civilian Jobs Skills Template will provide civilian HR departments with a way to match their job names and required skills/training/experience with those of the highly trained and skilled military service member applicant.

At last, civilian sector human resource managers will be able to hire skilled veterans seeking meaningful employment. 


On the flip side of the AEMP solution, veterans will be able to translate their training and experience into 'civilian-speak' so that they recognize potential job opportunities and can present their qualifications in the language understood by a non-military company. 


Working with the Army National Guard Logistics Office, the AEMP Workforce Committee has chosen 10 top jobs HR professionals have told AEMP they need to fill and is comparing each civilian skill set requirements to ensure both the civilian and military organizations understand the process and each provide valuable insight to the issues of skills gap shortages and skills military members bring to their organizations.  When complete, the HR Hiring Resource will provide clear guidance on how to assess, interview and select qualified military candidates according to the service member's training, experience, and other additional skill sets applicable to civilian jobs.


The key 

Employers who understand the value military service members, in this case trained equipment maintenance personnel, bring to a company and want to hire veterans need to target their candidate search to include the veteran network already in place. "The key is networking with military transition centers, National Guard and Reserve organizations, non-profit, American Job Centers, and other organizations where employers can find veterans and National Guard members," says General Watson. 


The AEMP HR Hiring Resource will be designed to help employers navigate that veteran network and bring good civilian job opportunities to well qualified military candidates. It will be an excellent aid for hiring departments to recognize highly qualified military job seekers and discover the commonality in civilian occupations.


Using this new AEMP HR hiring process, military veteran job seekers and enthusiastic employers won't walk past each other. Instead, they will easily recognize each other's skills and value.


As an AEMP Strategic Issue, the AEMP Civilian Jobs Skills Template for equipment management professionals is just the beginning of AEMP's workforce commitment to help veterans find good careers in our industry, and match excellent equipment management professionals to employers.


Stay tuned for updates on the AEMP HR Hiring Resource. There are great things to come!


Carry on.


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