(NewsUSA) - Manufacturing companies continue to struggle to find skilled employees, but they may be overlooking the perfect talent pool -- veterans.
Veterans generally possess the skill sets, both hard and soft, and the personality to make them desirable hires in any field.
In fact, veterans share many traits that make them an especially good fit for jobs in manufacturing, according to Julie Davis, director of workforce development at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), an organization dedicated to supporting North America's manufacturers of construction and agricultural equipment.
"Military veterans have been trained to live the values of their service whether in or out of uniform," says Davis.
"So, when you're talking to a veteran during a job interview, ask them what their values are. When you hear their answer, you'll likely conclude that they are a much better culture fit than you'd originally thought."
Traits that make veterans great employees include:
- Entrepreneurial spirit. Veterans tend to take ownership of their responsibilities and do their best work at whatever job they are assigned.
- Versatile. Many veterans were trained in one area and shifted to another during their military service. They are adept at transferring existing skills and knowledge to adapt to new roles.
- Flexible. Military veterans could be sitting at a desk one day, and deployed the next day; they are accustomed to adapting to changing business needs.
- Skillful. The military is on the cutting edge of technology, and many veterans are highly trained experts with advanced knowledge of their field, and tuned in to how innovation can advance goals.
- Loyal. Veterans have a strong sense of organizational commitment. They embrace many of the values important in the manufacturing industry, including duty, respect, selflessness, integrity, honor, courage, and commitment.
Hiring veterans has financial benefits as well, both for the veterans themselves and for companies.
Programs such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit provides tax credits for companies that hire veterans, and the VA Special Employer Incentive Program is designed to reimburse portions of veterans' salaries. In addition, the Department of Defense Skill Bridge Program pays employers to hire veterans to train and work on a temporary basis for up to six months. Another option is the Manufacturing Institute Heroes MAKE America program created specifically to help train veterans for manufacturing jobs.
Visit aem.org/workforce-solutions for more information on these programs and on workforce development for the manufacturing industry.