Wisconsin Veterans Forward

How This Innovative New Program Brings Veterans into the Workforces of Tomorrow (Part 2)

July 18, 2022 Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce Season 2 Episode 151
Wisconsin Veterans Forward
How This Innovative New Program Brings Veterans into the Workforces of Tomorrow (Part 2)
Show Notes Transcript

(Part 2) Project Patriot provides veterans with career advising, job search and interview coaching, resume building, salary resources, technical training, and ongoing transition assistance.

We are honored to welcome Shelby Whalen of Brooksource to discuss.

Connect with Shelby here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shelby-whalen-2b09b3b7/

Learn more about Project Patriot here: https://www.brooksource.com/elevate

Questions? Comments? Continue the discussion by requesting access to our exclusive WVF Facebook Group.

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Wisconsin Veterans Forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization that serves veterans and military families by supporting veteran owned and veteran-friendly businesses throughout the state. 

On behalf of our members, we serve as an advocate for Wisconsin’s veteran business community and promote economic opportunity for military veterans, military families, and veteran-friendly businesses.

Follow us on all platforms: https://linktr.ee/Wivetschamber

 

Intro & Outro Themes: 

Barry Dallas - I’m Gone (https://uppbeat.io/t/barry-dallas/im-gone)

Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)


Speaker 1:

Today on Wisconsin veterans forward. We continue our dialogue with Shelby Whelan over at Brook source . Uh , we're talking about their project Patriot, which is a , uh , multifaceted veteran and military spouse , uh , employment support program , uh , and, and, and their expertise in all of the different angles that go into actually really, and truly supporting , uh , veterans as they transition into the workforce or, or change careers after they've been out for a while , the whole range. All right , let's do it. You are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce@wiveteranschamber.org . So we , we did the, the , from the employment seeker and , and the, the employer and mm-hmm <affirmative>, but as far as synergies are concerned, have you noticed any common threads between the two? Like what are some things that might be a challenge as far as linking veteran talent up with a, a, with an employer who is seeking veteran talent? Like, what do you notice any common threads in disconnects , uh, things that don't things that get in the way of, of those matchups happening job's happening .

Speaker 2:

Definitely. And I can speak more to, again, the it and engineering space. So a lot of what we do specifically in our elevate workforce transformation program is upskilling. So it's not reskilling, we're not taking someone with a marketing background and teaching them to code. We're taking someone who, you know, maybe is a recent boot camp graduate four year degree, graduate someone with self-taught experience, but still is in that associate level. And then we help, you know, we provide them with supplemental, technical and professional development to help them get from associate to mid-level much more quickly than if they were to just be kind of thrown in learning on the job. So what we will often say is, you know, we would love to, you know, connect with veterans, right, as they're transitioning out of the, the military and then connect them with these positions. But sometimes what we'll find is that the technology that is being used while they're serving is not a close enough match to the responsibilities that they would be doing in a position where oftentimes they might still need to go to, you know, one of those technical boot camps for coding or need to go and , you know, to , um, you know, a four year degree or an associate's degree to get that experience that helps them because sometimes that jump is a little too large that can be due to, you know, security purposes. The military obviously has to use certain technology , um , that, you know, let's say Footlocker, you know, doesn't, they , maybe they can pivot a little bit more quickly, or I've seen that in the it and engineering space. There's a lot of government contracting versus, you know, internally using individuals, you know, from the mil or from the army and the Navy, et cetera , they're outsourcing and using military contracts. So the individuals that actually serve don't always have that level of expertise since that was, you know, contractors were used for those roles. Does that make sense?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And, you know, you mentioned , uh , associate level positions and that's, that's kind of a , a large portion of what you do, but you also mentioned that, that you do staffing support up and down the chain. Um , which I think is super important because , uh, one of the issues that folks from our demographic run into is sometimes somebody gets out of the military after four years, they're 22 years old. They don't have a degree and they just have their specific experience. And then there's somebody who just got out after 24 years, they have two undergraduate degrees, 24 years of progressive leadership experience. Mm-hmm <affirmative> , and they've retired. And sometimes people , uh , you know, that are recruiters technical or otherwise , uh , or , uh , staffing firms will just put those two in the same basket and, and say, well, you're both veterans. So here, and, you know, an associate level PO like an entry level associate position, isn't necessarily a good fit for a large portion of veterans who are transitioning. Uh, so, so what do you say to folks who have like 8, 12, 16 years in who's li who are hesitant to talk to a staffing firm or a recruiter ? Cause they're afraid they're just gonna get offered a , you know, 30 K a year salary job that they can't support their family on that . Isn't what they're valued at .

Speaker 2:

Absolutely . Well , I will say that is an excellent point, first of all. Um , and you know, I would say that I, if I'm speaking with someone who, like you said, maybe has all of this higher education has all these years of experience and I'm reaching out to them for a position. I am not gonna be reaching out to them for an associate level position. You know, the position I'm reaching out to them maybe is a senior project manager or an architect, you know, for a digital transformation project. So I think it's understanding, you know, looking at someone's experience and understanding what roles that they are a good fit for. And I also also think that a big piece of it is I probably don't need to show them our transition accelerator. You know, they have a pretty like strong grasp at this point. You know, what it is like, you know , to work in the civilian workforce. And of course, if it's something that they think they could utilize, that's awesome. Um , but I think it's understanding , um, you know, who is your audience and also feeling comfortable asking questions, because I think a lot of us that haven't served really worry about saying the wrong thing or asking the wrong thing. And I think it's being comfortable saying, Hey, you know, I see that you have this experience. I know that you've been out of the service now for 12 years or so, but, you know, is , is there anything that you think has really stuck with you and has helped you be so successful in your career so far and not being afraid to still ask about it, even if it was a while back or say, Hey, I'm not an expert in this space, I'm an expert in the hiring space, but I see that you have, you know, military experience in your past. Is that anything, you know, we do advocate like on behalf of veterans in the hiring process, we offer transition assistance. Is that anything that would make sense for you or that you'd be interested in? And I think just not being afraid to ask, and of course you wanna be sure you're always being respectful. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but also being like, yeah, you know, this is a person who's usually open to share, you know, sharing or they understand I'm not an expert, so it's okay to say, Hey, we offer this, would you be interested instead of saying, you need this transition assistance, <laugh> when they truly don't.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And you know, it , it is, it , it is a really tough , uh, it's a tough position. I think for some, especially those on the , uh , with the longer tenure in the military, mm-hmm , <affirmative> , you know, if you've served 24 years, obviously, you know, maybe you're getting out and you had 50, a hundred people reporting to you directly and wow. You know, you have, you're getting paid very decently and you have benefits and you have all these things established and you're known typically by that point as a subject matter expert , uh mm-hmm <affirmative> however, you may not have worked a single day in the civilian workforce in your entire life. Yeah. So like, you may not need help professionally or as a leader, but like, you may still need base level , like crayons on scratch paper sort of transition assistance, you know, and it can be , It can be a bit of an ego, like a little gut punch, you know, because in some ways when we transition, we have to start over, we have to pay our dues again, because we are entering a new world. And though we may be able to Excel quicker. We're gonna have to take a few steps back. Typically speaking, I think the mm-hmm <affirmative> the hardest part is , uh, that those service members in their families, if they've been serving for a long time and they're , you know, a non-commissioned officer are hire , or they're a field grade officer or hire , they're used to supporting themselves and their families at a certain level, and they cannot afford mm-hmm <affirmative> to go to an associate level thing. So they may be ready for a mid or, or a , a mid senior or senior, whatever. But , uh, but their transition skills are at such a low level that they get placed inaccurately and it ends up placing a strain on them, in their family, which is why it's really important for people in your position with programs like the programs that you're doing to know what you're doing, and you do know what you're doing. And, and so I really appreciate , um, really appreciate what it is that you do. So I'm gonna , well , let me throw this banner up here. Uh , if anyone wants to learn more about , uh , project Patriot , um, and Brook source's whole elevate program, you know, it is, yeah, they're staffing, they're matching talent with positions, but they're also doing technical training upskilling , uh, you know, the , they , they do career advising for veterans, resume building, job, search , and interview coaching. Like it benefits them to get you into the right position. You don't pay. You're not like here Brook source , here's $5,000. Let's roll the dice. It's like the , you , you don't even pay them. Like they, they, they, they keep their lights on by working with the, the , the employers who want to see who want to acquire good talent, quality, talent, who stay around for a long time. Um, and so, so they , they do all of these things cuz they want you to get not just a job, but the best possible fit for the best possible compensation. Cause they, and the people who they serve their clients all benefit from that. Is that kind of an accurate overarching , uh , rundown.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And I love that you mentioned , um, you know, individuals that are transitioning and it's that they have all this experience and it's that piece of like, okay , now let's adapt it to the civilian workforce. And I think that's where some of that resume work comes in so handy because it is , you know, explaining like, okay, maybe just again on paper, someone might not realize how incredibly, you know, talented and how incredibly experienced someone might be . So it's figuring out how do we take this resume and adapt it. Or again, if I'm sitting down with a hiring manager, how do I, you know, try to explain, yes, maybe you're not seeing that things are used to seeing, but this is why this person is absolutely qualified for this mid-level or this senior level position, even if it wasn't done, you know, at, at and T or something like that, maybe it was done, you know, within the Navy. So I think it is just really understanding how to advocate on behalf of, you know, our candidates to our clients. And then I haven't mentioned once someone's actually in a position, we do have a veteran resource group. So it's three weeks into a position because you get so much information up front , you're more likely to ignore it, you know, in that first week or so three weeks into a position you are invited. Um, if you've self-identified as a veteran to join our veteran resource group. So like you mentioned, we're nationwide. Um, so that way, you know, any , one of all different , um, you know, I guess position levels . So whether you're associate level or senior level, you're able to join this resource group and you're able to connect with other people who have been through or are going through your current situation. And then of course, that transition accelerator. And one of the things that is on the transition accelerator, I like a lot is identify a mentor. And what , um , falls under that is, you know, ask your recruiter for a mentor connection with military experience. So it's not just on someone's plate to say, okay, find a veteran mentor, good luck. You know, you've already been invited to join the veteran resource group. And then you can also reach out to me and say, Hey, you know, part of this transition accelerator is to connect with the mentor, Shelby, who do you know, or how can you help me connect with that person? So we are, you know, not just giving them a todo list, we're actually like supporting those connections. Um, and really, you know, helping those things. There's 36 , you know, different , um , professional or transition accelerator goals for them to complete , which is about nine quarter . And it's to go over the course of 12 months .

Speaker 1:

Nice . See, that's, that's what I'm talking about. Comprehensive facilitation of the transition process , uh , Shelby, this is , this has been really great, really informative. Uh , appreciate your time today . Any, any closing, parting wisdom?

Speaker 2:

I would just say that, yes, we are there to advocate for you, but please know , to advocate for yourself too, that your skills, your background, you know, what you've learned over the past four or more years is so, so valuable to a workplace. They're not doing you a favor by finding you or hiring you. You know, it's really because like you're worth all of the effort and you do so much to strengthen our workplaces

Speaker 1:

Right on well said. Yeah. It's, it's not a, it's not a warm, fuzzy thing they benefit from acquiring you as well. That's a good point. Uh , Shelby, I'll ask you to hang on the line here for just one second while I close things out. Uh, there you have it folks going across the bottom Brook source.com/elevate , learn more about project Patriot and, and all of what they do to , uh, to facilitate getting the right talent into the right places. And, you know, veterans are bombarded. Service members are bombarded with like, well, you need to translate your skills. And yes, correct. That's all well and good, but how do you do that? <laugh> , you know , uh , you can search online forever and find 10 different bits of information that tell you to do it 10 different ways . What you need to do if you don't know, is talk to someone who has a wide breadth of experience in, in, in whatever scenario you , you need to learn about. And in this case, if you don't know about translating skills, if you don't know about writing a resume, if you don't know about the civilian interview process, it, it , it , it behooves you to talk to somebody who does, and somebody who is in a staffing firm or a recruiter, someone who, who works for a Brook source like Shelby, who has done this a hundred thousand times and knows how to speak both languages and can translate. Cause you can't translate. If you can't speak both languages, that doesn't make sense. If, if, if you were, let's say you were in China and somebody came up to you and, and was like, Hey man , I need you to be an interpreter for me. Can you help me out? And you say, yeah, that's just fine. And you just speak English. You're not gonna be a lot of help to that person. You need , you gotta be able to speak both languages. And if you can't, you gotta talk to somebody who does your interpreter has to know both languages, at least at a cursory rudimentary level. It's an analogy I just came up with and I'm very proud of, I'm gonna ride that one off into the sunset. I'm gonna , I'm gonna quit now while I'm ahead. That was a good one. See all next week. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit us@iveteranschamber.org . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through .