Health Editor’s Note: Moving a veteran into the American work force insures that he or she will be successful in leaving the military environment and moving into a job which should lead to a positive outcome for the future. Often the veteran has gained skills while in his or her job in the military that can be used on the “outside.”
With a shortage of skilled labor in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field, veterans who have been trained in STEM fields will be a valuable source. A veteran will have expertise in areas that those not trained in the military will not realize. A successful job is key to a complete move from military life and back into the nonmilitary world. College education is not always a plus in an effective worker. Experience is an ultimate plus in a potential employee.
Use our American veterans to fill jobs that may be outsourced to other countries. Hire veterans for America’s work force!…..Carol
Veterans Help Ease A Critical STEM Workforce Shortage
By Derek Horton, Director of Information Technology at Sallyport
Workers specializing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics can help businesses retool, compete and thrive in the 21st century economy. But far too many companies in America’s leading industries are struggling to fill crucial STEM (which stands for science, technology, engineering, mathematics) positions. Employers should turn to highly-skilled military veterans who increasingly leave the military with advanced technical expertise but are too often overlooked for STEM jobs.
STEM jobs comprise a diverse range of positions across a wide range of industries, including civil engineers, financial analysts, software developers and even accountants. However, what ties this assorted group of jobs together—and makes them difficult to fill— is the need for a very particular set of skills, including mathematical proficiency, analytical reasoning and research capabilities. Last year alone, nearly 3 million STEM jobs went unfilled, despite being some of the best-paying and most rewarding positions on the job market.
Yet each year thousands of military members leave the service with exactly these kinds of skills. The military has expertly adapted to an increasingly digital world. Openings for “Electronic Warfare Specialist,” “Cryptologic Cyberspace Intelligence Collector” and “Geospatial Intelligence Imagery Analyst” are now commonplace on local Army recruiting sites. That’s because the crux of the armed services no longer consists of infantrymen operating in remote corners of the planet. Instead, much of our security operations today are managed by bright scientists and mathematicians, sitting in bunkered bases throughout the country.
Members of the Army, Navy, and Air Force regularly engage with some of the most advanced technologies available; and the need for a deep understanding of these sophisticated processes has become a basic requirement for most service members as warfare shifts to the cyber sphere and military devices increasingly replace boots on the ground. Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, illustrated the shifting nature of the times when he testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence earlier this year and named cyber threats as the top worldwide threat to our national security. Moreover, in a race for technological superiority, the military’s adoption and integration of advanced technologies will only accelerate in coming years.
Meanwhile, the STEM field in the United States is facing a major skills gap. According to a Ranstad North America report released in 2017, the U.S. has a 3-million-STEM-job surplus. As a result, some of the most lucrative and impactful jobs available on the market today are unfilled, and the gap is only growing—in North Dakota, for example, there are currently 87 STEM job openings for every qualified worker.
The consequences of this skills gap are even more troubling. With so many vacant openings, tech giants have begun outsourcing STEM jobs overseas to competitors like India and China. In the process, the U.S. risks losing its standing as the world leader in innovation and as a hub for technological breakthroughs. Meanwhile, every year, over 200,000 veterans retire from active duty to transition back into civilian life. Of these, a significant portion have worked in highly-technical fields and are uniquely qualified to excel in STEM jobs in the private sector. The problem is that they are rarely presented with a chance to demonstrate these skills because of their lack of traditional college degrees or conventional job experience.
As a former Marine who was hired by Sallyport, a global logistics and security contractor, the skills I bring to my job everyday as a Director of Information Technology are directly based on my military training. Sallyport values the experience and expertise that veterans like myself bring to the table, particularly when looking for talented people to fill STEM-related positions. The niche technical skills I learned while in the military prepared me for a successful career at Sallyport even though I have no college degree and had never held a civilian job in the tech industry. This understanding of military members’ skills should be considered by companies who are outsourcing their hiring overseas.
The STEM workforce shortage in the United States is the rare problem with an easy answer. Our veterans can fill these jobs—and fill them well—if only given the chance.