Building a Robust Talent Pipeline: Global Military Talent Partners, Right in the Cincinnati Region’s Backyard
Q&A WITH REDI CINCINNATI’S TALENT DIRECTOR + REGIONAL TALENT PARTNERS – ARMY PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH SUCCESS AND RECRUITMILITARY
REDI Cincinnati’s Talent Director, Adam Jones, had an opportunity to speak with Army Partnership for Youth Success’ lead, Captain Jaqueline Donnelly, and RecruitMilitary’s Senior Vice President of Department of Defense programs, Chris Newsome, on how their programs connect military talent to local businesses in the Cincinnati region. Read (or listen) as they speak on the program’s history and its success for companies in our region.
Take a listen, below.
“[The veteran workforce] is a good talent resource for employers to tap into to grow their companies and improve their organizations.”
– Cpt. Jaqueline Donnelly
1. We know how crucial veterans are to our workforce. Can you speak to the data around the veteran workforce and the large opportunity we have in the Cincinnati region to connect with this group?
Chris Newsome: Cincinnati as a specific market is home to roughly 12 to 13,000 military veterans, and it tends to be a hub where a lot of people are relocating to right now. It is a wealth of talent, and it’s very renewable because as long as the United States military is transitioning folks every year as they do, roughly 200,000 veterans are going back to their homes of record. Because of this, there will always be a fresh supply of this talent. Cincinnati for many reasons is a great place to reside. As a job-seeking veteran, there are a lot of great opportunities here.
Captain Jaqueline Donnelly: I think Chris hit the nail on the head. We know various service members are transitioning back to their home of record, trying something new. It is a good talent resource for employers to tap into to grow their companies and improve their organizations.
2. I had a conversation with a company yesterday and I mentioned both your organizations and they said, “Well, you know I'm also looking for some back-office roles too. Do you think they could help with that?” How do you debunk the idea that military talent is just skilled in combat?
Captain Jaqueline Donnelly: In the military, there are not only combat jobs. You go through basic training and advanced training. There is a lot of on-the-job training where they learn their craft in various fields like logistics, information technology, engineering, medical, finance etc. As well as their function in their branch of the military.
Chris Newsome: I agree, it is important for everybody to understand that the military is structured very much like a corporation. As Captain Donnelly mentioned there is a job that is equivalent in the military for just about any role that’s on the civilian side.
Companies want to go where the latest and greatest technology is being tested, where it is being applied in a real-world scenario. It is happening on the ground level in the military.
Most servicemen and women are not serving in a combat capacity, roughly 15% are combat arms. They are the ones on the front line, engaging in combat. The rest of the 85% are support-oriented and they are structured, very much like any other company. The military has a finance department, human resources, IT, cyber logistics as Captain Donnelly mentioned. It is a very well-oiled machine, and it does have the capability of being completely self-sustainable.
For any organization that is trying to figure out where they can fit military talent into their organization – I caution you to not think like that. You don’t have to fit a square peg into a round hole when you’re looking for specific candidates. You can find them in a very one-for-one approach directly from the military. And, in many cases, these men and women are getting out of the service and their reclassing. Meaning they are going and obtaining their education, their obtaining new civilian work experience in a way to make themselves far more marketable.
When a hiring manager looks at resumes and sees two candidates that are almost identical as far as the job descriptions go, but one has military experience, the other one doesn’t – that one with military experience, has those intangibles, virtues, and values that aren’t necessarily obtained in a college classroom. They are obtained exclusively through experience.
We are going far beyond patriotism and altruism. We appreciate companies that want to be a part of this because it is a good thing to do. But, we want to encourage people to understand it with a sense of business acumen that adds immense value to that bottom line. Our military talent is going to outperform their nonmilitary counterparts. They are going to stay a little bit longer – and we all know that retention is a huge cost saving for companies. Tapping into military talent accomplishes a lot of business needs.
3. So now we have got people’s attention. They are ready to hire those that have been in the armed forces. Would you mind sharing more about your organizations? Army Partnership for Youth Success (non-profit) and RecruitMilitary (for profit).
Chris Newsome: As fate would have it, we are a global organization, but we started in 1998 in Loveland, Ohio. RecruitMilitary is a military to civilian recruiting firm. We focus on the military community at large – those on active duty, veteran status, retiring, and military spouses. Military spouses happen to be immensely talented demographics within the military community. The spouse network is typically very well educated and very diverse in experience.
RecruitMilitary is a recruiting machine for anybody under the military umbrella. We provide services through career fairs and our job board – It’s the largest job board in the country for military personnel. And, we do placement services. We do a lot of symposiums, best practices, webinars, training – anything to help these men and women prepare for that next journey.
As for the employer side, we work with everyone. We work with most of the Fortune 500, Fortune 200, and mom-and-pop plumbing shops. It truly does not matter because as we mentioned before, there are so many different jobs within the military. At the end of the day, our primary goal is to facilitate that connection and make sure those two parties can link up in the middle and have a meaningful conversation to help these men and women get hired and, in an effort, to help, these organizations hire and retain really strong talent.
Captain Jaqueline Donnelly: The Partnership for Youth Success Program is a partnership between the US Army and a cross-section of corporations – companies and some government entities that allow America’s youth to serve the country while they prepare for their future. The program started in 2000 as an enlistment incentive for active-duty soldiers and then it later came to encompass both reserve and National Guard. The program now encompasses ROTC cadets too.
The only requirement for our partners is to guarantee a job interview. The interview can be when candidates are transitioning – whether that is their first term of service on active duty. And it can also be for the National Guard and reserves once they come back from their training because they are only part-time.
ROTC cadets are future officers for Active Duty Reserve National Guard. So, as they come out of their ROTC program, they’re going to have their bachelor’s degrees. Our program has talent with different experiences, different levels of education, and those that are transitioning.
4. The PaYs program is unique because it supports the opportunity to partner with the business community. Can you speak more about this business relationship and how it works?
Captain Jaqueline Donnelly: The companies we partner with post their jobs on the PaYS portal. The requirement for those positions is that they must be full-time permanent positions. Our cadets and newly enlisted soldiers have their own portal where they upload their resumes and update their profiles. Candidates get a choice of up to five companies that they want their future employment opportunity or interview. This program is also nationwide, so companies can post full-time positions at different locations.
The program helps businesses get a controlled flow of quality candidates to bring to their team and it helps our service members to more easily integrate back into the civilian sector. For those that businesses do not hire it can be used as an opportunity to mentor the Soldier/Veteran on their resume or interview skills. Sometimes it is one of the applicant’s first job interview in the private sector. Currently, we have partnered with over 1000 companies that range from Fortune 500 companies to various police and fire departments and everything in between. For more information, go to our PaYS program website or reach out to your local Army Recruiting Office and we can walk you through the application process.
5. Finding talent is always a topic of discussion for businesses – RecruitMilitary has supported 1.5M+ job seeker accounts. Can you speak more to your job seekers, how you build your pipeline, the typical education levels, and industry sectors that they are interested in?
Chris Newsome: That 1.5M is growing every single day. We add a couple 100 new job seekers each day to the ecosystem. Many are active job seekers; we have hundreds of thousands on a national and global level.
The recipe for aggregation for us is very diverse. It is multi-channeled. There’s not one all-encompassing smoking gun on how we get candidates. Each service member that is within our ecosystem has created that profile themselves. We are not buying data. We do a lot of career fairs. COVID threw the schedule off a little bit, but we do typically about 130 physical career fairs across the country. We also have a formal contract with the United States Army where we are a staple within the transition process.
We tell companies, tell us exactly what you are looking for and we’ll help you find that needle in the haystack from the military community. We collect a lot of different data points. We want to know what the candidate did while they served. We want to know what their future work interests are if they are willing to relocate or travel for work. We build this professional profile, married with their resume so that the employers know how to find not just a veteran, but the right veteran that they can hire and then retain.
Captain Donnelly represents the officer’s side of the house. Those are men and women that are coming into the service with a college degree as a prerequisite for that level of leadership. Some of these men and women are obtaining education while they serve their programs like tuition assistance and then education benefits on the back end of service. I say that because I used them myself, the post- 9/11 GI Bill I used vocational rehabilitation to help me obtain my degree right here from the University of Cincinnati.
Tons of education resources are at these men’s and women’s fingertips. When you look at the demographic, roughly 43% have at least some kind of degree. More than 1/4 of these men and women have bachelor’s degrees. Somewhere around 10% have more advanced degrees, Masters, Ph.D.’s, etc. This is a well-rounded demographic that blows those stigmas away.
The military has raised its standards considerably, and it’s important to remember that roughly 72% of America’s entire population age roughly 17- 26 don’t even qualify for military service. So, if you’re a talent acquisition expert in the space and you’re looking for a group of candidates that don’t need to be micromanaged, go to the military. You are already dealing with the top of the entire American population, just by them getting to basic training.
6. How do you partner with companies to connect these 1.5M candidates with the current active jobs? Is there a regional success story that comes to mind?
Chris Newsome: I’d encourage companies to go to the website, go to recruitmilitary.com. There’s a fork in the road on the website – I’m a job seeker, I’m an employer. You can always follow those prompts. There is a little chatbot there at the bottom right-hand corner you can engage with somebody and ask for somebody right then and there. We will get you connected in real-time, assuming it’s within normal business hours.
For anybody in Ohio in particular, I’d encourage you to reach out to Jeanne Allen. Jeanne Allen is our local representative. Her direct line is 513-677-7062 and she helps organizations in the tristate put these military hiring initiatives together so a lot of different options to get connected with us, we are not hard to find.
As far as success stories, we work with organizations like Cincinnati Bell, EW Scripps, the FBI, Ohio troops to teachers. A recent example for Ohio is Scotts Miracle-Gro. They came to us they were looking for general service managers and they recently hired three.
“There is a job that is equivalent in the military for just about any role that's on the civilian side” – Chris Newsome