How does military experience bridge the skills gap?

The skills gap is one of the most talked about trends in hiring. Talent acquisition professionals are scrambling to find the right candidate in a skills biased market. Are you losing to your business competitors because you can’t find the skills to grow your business? If you’ve considered veterans as a solution, you might ask yourself, “How does military experience bridge the skills gap?”

Most specialized skills are transferable. In 2002, I began working with William “Bill” Bartlett, then CEO, Callidus Technologies, when he had the vision to hire JMOs (Junior Military Officers) as Engineering Project Managers. These men and women successfully leveraged their military leadership and engineering experience as Project Managers in the specialized world of Industrial Burners and Flairs. Some Callidus leaders embraced the idea and built an abridged education on the specifics of their business. Other hiring managers were skeptical and fell behind as the specialized skills they sought were not available. The skeptics soon embraced these military-experienced project engineers as they became the top performers in the company. In 2008, Honeywell purchased Callidus in part because of their middle-management bench strength.

General Electric populated their Six Sigma movement with JMOs and the JMOs’ consistent success in Project Engineer roles is not a coincidence. JMOs are the construction managers who build facilities, the engineering leaders on nuclear submarines and the aircraft maintenance managers on aircraft carriers and flight lines. They work with contractors, oftentimes having to negotiate complicated communication barriers. They are the military’s middle-managers who execute the plan of the day through people.

What has your experience been with JMO Project Engineers?

Bobby Whitehouse

Image courtesy of U.S. Air Force by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons/Released