Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=134129
Story Retrieval Date: 5/19/2013 2:21:22 AM CST
GI Jobs magazine ranks companes that are vet-friendly and lists attributes that veterans bring to the private workplace, like “leadership, a hard work ethic, teamwork” and a can-do attitude, said Manager Editor Dan Fazio. There are “a lot of desirable traits that make them very good employees and there are a lot of companies that recognize that,” Fazio added.
Some of the most prominent businesses to favor vets are two Fortune 500 companies, General Electric Corp. and ExxonMobil Corp. At General Electric, the Junior Officer Leadership Program, which gives vets exposures to different parts of the company, highlights its efforts at recruitment of ex-military personnel.
GI Jobs has ranked GE as one of the top 50 companies for veterans. Last year, the company was rated 16th, moving up two places from the previous year. Among other things, the magazine ranks are based on a company’s long-term commitment to veterans and recruiting and hiring efforts. The magazine also considers the numbers of veterans that a company hires.
There are 11,000 veterans on GE’s payroll – which represents 1 in 14 of its U.S. employees, according to spokeswoman Megan Parker.
For Susan Oliver, that was a big draw. “One of the criteria that I was looking for would be to work someplace where people would understand where my frame of reference was coming from,” Oliver said.
Oliver began her military career as enlisted in the Navy and after 11 years was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force, where she became a major. Nevertheless, after 22 years of service she thought it was time for a change.
According to Oliver, trading in mess halls for the halls of one of America’s most well-known companies has been easy. “It was a smooth transition,” Oliver said. Oliver said seeing fellow vets at GE make the transition and working with those who have already transitioned helps.
At GE, she has been exposed to different parts of the company through the Junior Officer Leadership Program. She is currently on a “tour of duty” doing marketing in Schenectady, N.Y. Oliver said her previous postings were in accounting, commercial business proposals and consulting.
David Ferguson, GE’s program manager for military staffing and recruiting and himself a 10-year veteran, said military personnel typically tend to have high integrity and responsibility.
Oliver said she has approached her assignments as she approached her military duties.
“One of the best skills that you can take is flexibility,” Oliver said. “Understand what the long range plan is, have a short range tactical plan but be ready to change.”