As governments around the world prune defence budgets – the UK’s armed forces alone are being reduced by 29,000 posts by 2015 – initiatives to help service people start second careers are proliferating. In the US, employers ranging from retailer Walmart to investment banks and technology companies have launched recruitment drives to pick up veterans with transferable skills, benefit from tax credits for businesses that hire former military personnel, and win some favourable publicity. In the UK, Barclays, telecoms group BT and multinationals such as General Electric and US banks are among a smaller but growing band that is targeting veterans with employment skills workshops, career days and internships.
The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is awarding a total of $750,000 in grants to two organizations to support initiatives in education and character development in New Orleans. Funding will go toward the museum’s exhibits and interactive experiences, as well as to bring the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s national Character Development Curriculum to Louisiana educators and students. The Character Development Curriculum uses the stories of living Medal of Honor recipients to inspire students and teach critical skills. Medal of Honor recipient Major General James Everett Livingston, right, shared his story with students and active military in attendance Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at the World War II Museum Freedom Pavilion.
Jobs, too, are a concern for Sinise. “A vast majority of our military are transitioning into the civilian sector—veterans who have been in a long time, who are stressed out.” He says it’s time for them to get out, but they have no other career. He’s partnered with GE in a program called Get Skills to Work, which he says is “training thousands of service members in manufacturing jobs. There are more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs available in the country, but we don’t have the skilled workers to fill those jobs.” The program “retools” veterans toward manufacturing jobs.
“Jenna Dolan was in the Marines for 12 years, including two deployments to Iraq as a fighter pilot,” said First Lady Michelle Obama at the Business Roundtable Quarterly Meeting. “And today, she’s a program manager at GE where she’s working with outside clients and people from all across the company to help build and sell helicopter engines. And when she’s not doing that, she’s still serving our country in the Reserves.”
For veterans like Melissa Fay, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, adjusting to civilian life and finding a job can be tough – but after a few edits to her resume, Melissa landed a position with General Electric as a financial analyst. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.
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