By David Miles, SPHR, CMF
Successfully integrating or reintegrating our military veterans and, in many cases, their families into civilian companies and organizations is of growing importance and concern. Yet with many great intentions, our overall track record is somewhat dismal. I would propose that there are a few success stories but many more non-successful outcomes.
Let me explain my thought process by using the analogy of a canyon and a bridge: On one side of the canyon, you have civilian employment opportunities in a variety of arenas. Each of these areas has a culture, a body of knowledge and skills that are an integral part of work, and also a language of phrases and paradigms that allow people to function together. On the other side of the canyon, you have similar but different military service categories, but all of the attributes to work have their own unique skills, knowledge, abilities and structure and language. When a young adult enters any of various branches of service, they are indoctrinated into this environment.
I was recently on a marine base, and the overhead arch entrance proudly stated: “We Make Marines.” Each branch of service creates their own common language and culture in order to achieve their missions. This must be done for everyone to “work” together under extreme and various conditions.
The missing “bridge” is most apparent when one leaves the military active service and seeks employment on the other side of the “canyon.” Unfortunately, there is NO bridge or adequate system to help these veterans translate their military training into traditional employment. In addition, this becomes significantly more complex if a veteran has physical and psychological impairment.
The need for designing and creating a “bridge or multiple bridges” is well recognized. The need is clearly there but, unfortunately, no one ...