IVMF and USAA Launch Workforce Readiness Research Series for Transitioning Service Members

WorkforceReadiness_CoverSYRACUSE, N.Y. (February 2, 2016) – The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), in collaboration with USAA, today launched an employment-focused research series on the topic of workforce readiness as it relates to transitioning service members and veterans in the civilian labor force.

The opening paper, aptly titled “Work After Service: Developing Workforce Readiness and Veteran Talent for the Future,” marks the first in a series of short papers that will cover several veteran workforce readiness topics to include career preferences, financial readiness, job matching and employer perspectives on retention and workplace performance.

“With veteran unemployment at a seven-year low, employers are now shifting their attention from addressing transitioning veterans’ acute hiring needs to more long-term issues such as creating talent pipelines, improving job matching, and workforce performance and development,” said Dr. Nick Armstrong, senior director of research and policy at IVMF. “For companies, especially, it’s about learning how to take a veteran’s unique skills and experiences and put them to their first, best use for the organization,” said Armstrong.

In the first paper of the series, located at IVMF , the authors cite a recent IVMF survey of 8,500 veterans and service members that indicated 55 percent said they have or are likely to pursue a different career than their military specialization. The paper highlights how veteran employment goes beyond simply placing veterans in jobs. While veterans need certain baseline skills to enter the civilian workforce, just as any working adult, employers must also set the conditions that enable veterans to succeed in the workplace to make the most out of the hire.

IVMF senior research associate, Dr. Deborah Bradbard, remarked that “engaging corporate partners and developing initiatives that foster long-term workforce readiness earlier in a military career facilitates a seamless transition to civilian employment. A steady pipeline of work-ready talent provides added benefit and confidence to the transitioning service member and the hiring company.”

The paper highlights how employers, veterans themselves, as well as public-private partnerships all play a part in how prepared a transitioning service member is once they enter the workforce. Workforce readiness is heightened when both the veteran and employer minimize assumptions and maximize their respective assets, ensuring a positive employment outcome for the veteran and a good return on investment for the employer.

“With more than one million service members entering the civilian community over the next four years, it’s important we help employers provide veterans meaningful careers that empower them to make a successful financial transition to civilian life,” said Mike Kelly, assistant vice president of Military Advocacy at USAA. “It’s not enough just to hire these valuable individuals, we have to position them and their employers for success, and that is why we have made it a priority to work with organizations like IVMF and share our best practices with other employers.”

“We know that in an all-volunteer force, individuals are more likely to serve if they are able to seamlessly obtain employment after service or, while serving, they are able to obtain civilian recognized credentials, licenses, or educational benefits that may be financially inaccessible otherwise.”

Contact Wayne Westervelt, IVMF Director of Communications, at 315.443.5690; mobile 315.558.9483 or wwesterv@syr.edu for more information or to schedule an interview with the paper’s authors.

View/download the paper in its entirety
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About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Learn more about IVMF at IVMF.


About USAA
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 11.2 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.

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