Tampa Bay Companies Recruit Veterans To Fill Civilian Jobs

When people think about jobs in the military, they tend to think about waging wars, fighters and the dangers of the front line. But most veterans also work in fields that are directly transferrable to civilian corporate careers, such as systems analysis, computer programming -- even accounting and legal work. A national coalition of corporations aims to capitalize on this experience and other skills veterans bring to the workplace.

The 100,000 Jobs Mission assists companies that want to hire veterans by providing a knowledge exchange and sharing of best practices. Participants meet virtually on a monthly basis to discuss hiring practices and successes.

The website, created by JPMorgan Chase in 2011, also serves as a career resource for veterans, providing a job search engine and career path exploration through US Veterans Pipeline. Currently, the site lists more than 17,000 job openings in the Tampa Bay region, home to MacDill Air Base.

Almost 16,000 military personnel are assigned to MacDill.  About 1.6 million Floridians are military veterans.

DTCC Steps Up To Hire Vets

A veteran himself, Nashid Salahuddin, director of human resources at The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC)'s Tampa office, played a major role in his company’s decision to join the program.

As a plans and programs officer in the National Guard, Nashid works with federal and local governments to provide military resources in disaster situations. During his latest deployment in Iraq, he led a team that helped Iraqis improve security and operational efficiencies at their borders, traveling to border sites to observe, advise and provide them with the skills and equipment to do a better job. It’s clear, Nashid says, how these skills transfer to his position as director of human resources, making his experience a prime example of the skills and value veterans bring to the workplace.

DTCC joined the program in March 2012 after realizing that veterans provide an untapped resource pool.

"In every position, we'd love to have someone who can deal with tight deadlines and a high amount of work demands,'' says Nashid. "Veterans offer that.''
Another benefit veterans bring to the workplace, Nashid says, is reliability and dependability.

"In the military, showing up on time isn't optional.''

Veterans, he says, are committed to the workplace, have a high work ethic and tend to have advanced technical skills -- all qualities DTCC seeks in employees. They're also accustomed to adapting quickly to change, something most companies value. Veterans are typically willing to relocate because most of them have traveled and are familiar with different places.

Nielsen Joins 100,000 Jobs Mission

One challenge veterans experience when acclimating to the civilian workplace is one of structure and culture. The military has its own culture and language, which can differ from that of corporations.

Nielsen, a global information and measurement company in Oldsmar, launched an employee resource group called SERVE (support and employee resources for veterans) to help overcome these challenges. The group assists with recruitment, professional development, outreach, engagement and education of employees who are veterans. It was this group that convinced Nielsen to get involved in the 100,000 Jobs Mission.

The company can relate to the mission of the program and what it’s trying to accomplish.

"Veterans exhibit a lot of the same values Nielsen has -- integrity, analytics,'' says Betsy Williams, senior VP of human resources for Nielsen. "We always have to be on our toes, tracking things; the military also has to be on their toes.''

The military trains people in a lot of the same things the company leaders look for in their employees. "It seemed like a very natural fit,'' Williams says.

Williams says she enjoys the collaboration of the program. "We learn from people that are already doing it really well and figure out what value we can add to how we're doing it,'' she says.

Well on the way to the goal of hiring 100,000 veterans by the year 2020, the coalition collectively had hired 18,249 veterans as of June 30. 

Hiring veterans "is just the right thing to do,'' says Nashid. "It ties into the values that we as a company promote.''

Megan Hendricks is a native Floridian and longtime Tampa Bay resident who loves the culture and diversity of the region. In her free time she enjoys local restaurants, thrift store shopping and spending time with her family. She earned her masters of business administration from USF Tampa. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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Read more articles by Megan Hendricks.

A Florida native and longtime Tampa Bay resident, Megan Hendricks graduated from the University of South Florida with a master's degree in business administration. She worked at the USF College of Business and has extensive community experience including the Tampa Bay Partnership's Talent Dividend Advisory Board, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Emerge Tampa Bay, Ekhos, and Bar Camp Tampa. She is a former board member and newsletter editor for Creative Tampa Bay. Megan enjoys telling the stories that make Tampa Bay a unique, diverse cultural experience.