A research study conducted by the Center for College Affordability found that an increasing number of recent college graduates are ending up in relatively low-skilled jobs that, historically, have gone to those with lower levels of education.
Yet, despite the highly competitive market for living wage employment, veterans, even without a bachelor’s degree, are finding employment success in a highly competitive, mission-critical industry: data centers.
One particular data center, FORTRUST, based in Colorado, is targeting Veterans to be a part of their team not because they may have a degree but because of their military training.
For a data center, maintaining uptime is the crux of success. Without power and a network connection, data center clients can lose thousands of dollars in seconds, not to mention the irreversible damage done to the reputation of the data center. The biggest cause of data center downtime? Human error.
I had a recent conversation with Rob McClary, senior vice president and general manager of FORTRUST, the largest data center in the Denver region and one of the most progressive high-availability data center services providers in North America, on why they are taking specific actions to hire veterans. His simple answer? FORTRUST has found the most effective way to mitigate downtime risk is to hire veterans.
One could argue that Mr. McClary is a bit biased since he is also a veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy for 16 years. But the “data” clearly is telling. FORTRUST, with 29 percent of its workforce being veterans, found that veterans exhibit attention to detail, process discipline and typically have a clear understanding of a procedural-based structure that is critical to mitigating downtime. These three traits have clearly added to the success of FORTRUST.
What FORTRUST and other companies that choose to look beyond the degree are finding when hiring veterans are two invaluable traits that all companies can benefit from: character and aptitude.
For veterans, learning to highlight these traits is critical in getting the resume to surface to the top. Rob encouraged veterans to “speak civilian”: decipher the acronyms, spell out what and how learned operational experience and leadership experience will benefit the company, showcase how many individuals you managed, what budgets you oversaw and speak about your work ethic (on-time/integrity).
Bottom line: Regardless of the competitive job market, there are opportunities for both employers and veterans to be successful when they join forces.
— By Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.