Veteran CareerStar Accelerator White Paper


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The more veterans can gain a meaningful career, the stronger our country will become. This White Paper details a specific solution.

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Veteran CareerStar Accelerator White Paper

  1. 1. Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFULCAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator While our country continues to struggle with a down economy, wars being fought overseas, healthcare and a myriad of other issues, perhaps the greatest opportunity we have is to solve the problem of Veteran unemployment. This White Paper provides a solution to the problem of Veteran unemployment. Background information will be shared about Veteran unemployment, followed by a web application solution that will revolutionize the way in which Veterans discover and sustain a MEANINGFUL CAREER. White Paper by: Dana E. Jarvis, MPA, MSW Professor * Consultant * Author December 2, 2011Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 1 | P a g e
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY  What if we could nationally have a close to 0% Veteran unemployment rate?  What if almost 100% of our Veterans gained a truly MEANINGFUL CAREER?  What would it take to have a 100% quality job placement rate after military service?These are the questions that drive our purpose. Our purpose is to revolutionize the way inwhich VETERANS achieve a MEANINGFUL CAREER. We can no longer think in terms of“it’s okay that Veterans have unemployment, many times higher than the national average.”Clearly the White House Administration recognizes the importance of placing Veterans into jobs.And, there is definitely bi-partisan support and leadership to leverage opportunities for Veteransto gain employment as well. Along with the myriad of organizations focused on lowering theVeteran unemployment rate, our research findings indicate that while a decent support systemexists, the reality is that we are missing the target or perhaps we have set the wrong target.The current target is to “create job opportunities for 100,000 military veterans and their families”,via “large-scale public-private partnerships”(,as retrieved on November 17, 2011). However, this initiative, along with programs via MilitaryTransition Centers,,, local and regional Veteran organizations andothers misses the absolute true target, which is to ensure that 100% of Veterans have aMEANINGFUL CAREER. In the words of management guru Jim Collins, the goal of having100% of Veterans in a meaningful career is a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). It is similar toPresident John F. Kennedy saying, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achievingthe goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to theEarth.” NASA engineers scratched their heads because in the early 1960s, no one knewexactly how to achieve President Kennedy’s BHAG. Currently, no one has created a solutionthat will revolutionize the way in which 100% of Veterans achieve a MEANINGFUL CAREER,where their interests, strengths, skills, passion and personality are consistently deployedtowards finding and then sustaining the MEANINGFUL CAREER, unique to the individualVeteran. If 100% of all Veterans achieved a MEANINGFUL CAREER, the benefits for ourcountry and the individual Veteran would be immense on a scale analogous to putting a man onthe moon and returning him to earth safely.This White Paper explores key issues, statistics, research and current solutions focused onVeteran unemployment. Based on a comprehensive analysis of this exploration, a revolutionarysolution to Veteran unemployment is detailed within the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator. Inbrief, the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator will provide Veterans with the knowledge, skills andabilities to significantly engage and sustain a MEANINGFUL CAREER. The goal of the VeteranCareerStar Accelerator is to ensure 100% of all Veterans achieve a MEANINGFUL CAREER by2017. Similar to President Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon and returning himsafely to earth by the end of the 1960s, the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator is an ambitiousgoal. And, it is the type of goal that can truly excite, engage and empower Veterans to helpeach other, igniting a fire storm of revolutionary change in our great country. We can no longerstand by and accept “same old, same old.” Veteran unemployment is our united generationalchallenge, which can and will be solved. The Veteran CareerStar Accelerator will play anintegral role in facing Veteran unemployment head on and will serve as a catalyst toward 100%of Veterans achieving a MEANINGFUL CAREER by 2017.Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 2 | P a g e
  3. 3. KEY STATISTICS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR VETERANS Key Statistic ImplicationIn 2010, Gulf War Veterans experienced The fact that our current systems still yield a11.5% unemployment, compared to the higher than national average unemployment ratenational unemployment average for the for Veterans is a major problem. We needsame time period of 9.4% for non-veterans innovative ideas and actions to fix this problem.( male veterans (those ages 18 to 24) Young male Veterans are an integral part of ourwho served during Gulf War era II had an country’s future. To have such an astonishingunemployment rate of 21.9 percent in 2010 high unemployment rate for this group is( shocking. Since traditional solutions have notm). worked, Veterans need to help other Veterans through connecting, mentoring and coaching.Gulf War-era II veterans who were current It does not appear to matter if the Veteran hasor past members of the Reserve or National been in active duty, reserve or National Guard,Guard had an unemployment rate of 14.0 consistently, Veterans have higherpercent in July 2010 unemployment rates. The reality is that any( solution for Veterans with employment shouldm). align with all Veterans.Roughly 56 percent of all homeless Homelessness is a complex issue. Employmentveterans are African American or Hispanic, is one major aspect that if a person wasdespite only accounting for 12.8 percent employed, it is likely they could avoidand 15.4 percent of the U.S. population homelessness. Any solution to Veteranrespectively unemployment must address issues related to( diversity.About 1.5 million other Veterans, If significantly more proactive steps were taken tomeanwhile, are considered at risk of engage Veterans prior to being at risk forhomelessness due to poverty, lack of homelessness, a major shift would networks, and dismal living Solutions which set the bar higher, earlier on,conditions in overcrowded or substandard upon Veteran discharge would create strongerhousing alignment.( Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 3 | P a g e
  4. 4. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPEIt is true that there are a number of important organizations across our country which arefocused on assisting Veterans with gaining employment. Organizations like those shown belowwork tirelessly on behalf of Veterans. Transition Centers Local & Veterans’ Regional Employment Veterans and Training Services Service (VETS) Employment Services for Vet Central VeteransThe above Employment Services for Veterans contain a number of key tools for Veterans toaccess jobs. These tools include:  Workshops on resume writing  Assistance with interviewing techniques  Insights on professional networking approaches  Job guides and other Veteran resources  Search tips focused on finding a job  Database of job postings with key word searches  Lists of military friendly employers  Access to Veteran jobs across the country and virtually  Success stories of Veterans who have found employment  National and Veteran career news and blogs  Information for service member families, including relocation  Lists of franchising opportunitiesPerhaps the best example of key areas that today’s Veteran Employment Services engage inoriginates from’s Guide to Veteran Employment (2010). The table below isadapted from this guide and highlights major areas.Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 4 | P a g e
  5. 5. Highlights and Adapted from’s Guide to Veteran Employment (2010) INTRODUCTION Make the Most of Your Military Experience SECTION 1. 3 Things to do to Prepare For The Job Market Get Ready  Professional Development  Gathering Field Intel  Resume and Cover Letters SECTION 2. The Top 5 Tips for Finding the Best Job Get Set... Go!  Networking  Online Job Boards  Career Fair Tips SECTION 3. Applying and Interviewing for the Best Job The Home Stretch  How to Apply  Dress for Success  Interviewing and Follow-Up SECTION 4. Taking the You’ve Got the Job! Gold!  More Homework  Tips for Negotiating Your Salary SECTION 5. Special Feature Federal Employment Guide SECTION 6. Resources Careers, Relocation, Education Resources  Government Resources  Sample Resumes  Timeline and ChecklistAn analysis of the competitive landscape above clearly shows that the employment servicesavailable to Veterans are mostly traditional. These services definitely have a purpose but thereality is that with such high unemployment rates for Veterans, we owe it to Veterans to domore. The bottom line is that there is a gap between the traditional employment services forVeterans and 100% Veteran employment. Highlights of these gaps are detailed below. 1. If all of the organizations that focused on Veterans employment were achieving their missions, there would be a closer to 0% Veteran unemployment rate. However, Veteran unemployment continues to exist and be higher than the national average. 2. The current system to assist Veterans is focused primarily on “employment” instead of “MEANINGFUL CAREER.” This lens provides a distorted view for the Veteran. The message is “get a job”, while it needs to be “discover and engage a MEANINGFUL CAREER.” 3. Most aspects tend to focus on helping Veterans instead of sustained empowerment grounded in the Veteran having significantly more influence and control over their careers. When a person is empowered, they direct the path towards their potential.Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 5 | P a g e
  6. 6. 4. The Veteran career journey should not only focus on the “nuts and bolts” of the job search (traditional employment services model) but also on the psychology around discovering a path toward a “MEANINGFUL CAREER.” This career journey begins by not accepting just a job but by setting high career standards and strategically charting a path towards success, defined by the individual Veteran. 5. Other gaps in the current Veteran unemployment assistance system include the lack of truly interactive web applications, lack of a focus on the Veteran achieving a “MEANINGFUL CAREER” which is aligned and unique to the individual, lack of a genuine Veteran professional network with direct access for Veterans and lack of a systematic approach for engaging social media.SITUATION ANALYSISWhen military personnel move from active duty to civilian, it can be challenging. The culture ofthe military is structured, while civilians have choice in how they want to conduct their day. Thereality is that the transition from being active duty military to being civilian is challenging, markedby uncertainty, confusion and misdirection. In addition, job growth has in many ways stalledand increasingly the competition for even entry level positions can be immense. Challenges forVeterans in being employed were also cited in the Society for Human Resource Management(SHRM) 2010 study, titled, Employing Military Personnel and Recruiting Veterans(, as retrieved on November 24, 2011). Thesechallenges are detailed in the Figure below.Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 6 | P a g e
  7. 7. Along with the challenges above, the SHRM study also noted specific benefits that employersnoted with regard to hiring Veterans. Based on the results below, it is clear that organizationsfeel positive toward Veterans in a mostly overwhelming way.The above benefits that employers receive from Veterans can also be seen as the skills that arerequired for today’s 21st Century organization. These skills include but are not limited toleadership, resilience, persistence, work ethic, problem solving, decision-making and mission-focused( While every Veteran has their own unique military experience, the reality isRevolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 7 | P a g e
  8. 8. that the indoctrination process with a focus on core values, teamwork, respect, discipline andleadership makes military training unparalleled in terms of practical skills application understressful conditions. Veterans comprise only 1% of our Nation’s population and protect theother 99% through service and sacrifice. This 1% has undergone an amazing journey, frombasic training to specialized positions, all of which could be significantly meaningful forAmerican organizations and our nation’s global competitive advantage.Despite the favorable perspective of employers towards Veterans, challenges still exist.Ultimately, the ability of Veterans to attain a position in a career of their choice comes down tointernal and external factors. Internally, the Veteran must be motivated to strive toward theirtruly desired career, which requires courage, commitment and conviction to bring to life.Externally, the structures must exist to harness the Veteran’s motivation beyond traditionalemployment services. The rationale behind this logic is that traditional services for Veteransfocus on “employment” and not “MEANINGFUL CAREER.” By applying a different mental map,the discussion moves from one of “transition” out of the military to “transformation” beyond themilitary into something dynamic, personal and aligned with the Veteran’s unique interests, skills,strengths, personality and passion. This leads us to the conclusion that if a Veteran increasestheir areas of control and influence towards their career development, then they will significantlyleverage opportunities for career success and discover their MEANINGFUL CAREER.100% OF VETERANS ACHIEVING A MEANINGFUL CAREER BY 2017The benefits of having 100% of our nation’s Veterans achieving a MEANINGFUL CAREER by2017 are immense. These benefits, both on a National/Organizational perspective and on anIndividual Veteran perspective, can be found in the figure below.Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 8 | P a g e
  9. 9. In addition to the above benefits, Veterans in a MEANINGFUL CAREER can also be seenthrough the lens of employee engagement. In essence, when Veterans experience employeeengagement, they utilize their discretionary effort for the good of the organization. TheseVeterans have their “game face on” and are willing to go above and beyond for theorganization’s goals. While engaged, these Veterans are clearly within their personalMEANINGFUL CAREER.For many years, management consulting firms including Towers Perrin, DevelopmentDimensions International (DDI) and The Gallup Organization have studied employeeengagement. Highlights are below.  Over the past decade, Gallup found that only 28% of our nation’s workforce is engaged ( engaged.aspx, as retrieved on November 17, 2001).  According to The Gallup Organization, “Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward” ( engaged.aspx, as retrieved on November 17, 2011).  “Engaged employees produce more, make more money for the company, and create emotional engagement and loyal customers. They contribute to good working environments where people are productive, ethical and accountable. They stay with the organization longer and are more committed to quality and growth...than non-engaged or disengaged workers. Employees who feel disconnected emotionally from their co- workers and supervisor do not feel committed to their work. They hang back and do the minimum because they don’t believe anyone cares. These employees lower the bar for themselves by doing the least amount of work necessary.”- from the book “Power of Engagement” by Him Loehr and Tony Schwartz (, retrieved on November 21, 2011).  “Actively disengaged employees erode an organizations bottom line while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process. Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this cost to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone (, as retrieved on November 25, 2011).In other words, if Veterans were in a MEANINGFUL CAREER, then they would also feel agreater sense of being “engaged.” The implications are ground breaking. If 100% of Veteransexperienced a MEANINGFUL CAREER, the U.S. would advance its overall employmentengagement score. This advancement would leverage opportunities for productivityenhancements, product/service innovations, cost savings, along with effectiveness/efficiencyimprovements. In a recession, the action of having 100% of Veterans in a MEANINGFULCAREER could be the catalyst to truly ignite our nation’s economy and spark a national modelfor economic recovery and long-term sustainability. This model is highlighted below.Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 9 | P a g e
  10. 10. LongTerm Sustainable Employee Meaningful Organizational Engagement Career and National SuccessTHE VETERAN CAREERSTAR ACCELERATOR  What if we could nationally have a close to 0% Veteran unemployment rate?  What if almost 100% of our Veterans gained a truly MEANINGFUL CAREER?  What would it take to have a 100% quality job placement rate after military service?The driving questions above align with the challenges and opportunities associated with today’scomplex public issue of high Veteran unemployment. As discussed in this White Paper utilizingdata from a variety of sources, it is clear that the current system for aligning Veterans toemployment opportunities requires improvement.The Veteran CareerStar Accelerator will revolutionize the way Veterans achieve aMEANINGFUL CAREER. No longer will the focus be simply on “employment” but through theCareerStar model the emphasis will be on the Veteran having a “MEANINGFUL CAREER.” Nolonger will Veterans view themselves in “transition” from military to civilian but will insteadrealize a time of “transformation.” The Veteran CareerStar Accelerator can be utilized by themilitary’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) as an added value to services for our nation’sheroes. Ultimately, the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator will enhance TAP in 5 ways: 1. The Veteran will spend significant time to determine the exact MEANINGFUL CAREER that makes the most sense for them as a person, based on their interests, skills, strengths, personality and passion. 2. The Veteran will effectively develop his/her personal brand to differentiate himself/herself in an increasingly hyper competitive marketplace. 3. The Veteran will have a professional network that can genuinely position the Veteran for employment that will accelerate them from having a job to having a MEANINGFUL CAREER. 4. The Veteran will gain sufficient knowledge, skills and abilities to maximize social media applications in a strategic way that results in opportunities for a MEANINGFUL CAREER. 5. The Veteran will have access to a significant and engaging community of Veterans, serving as peers, mentors, mentees and/or collaborators, designed with the singular mission of ensuring all Veterans have a MEANINGFUL CAREER.Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 10 |Page
  11. 11. The Veteran CareerStar Accelerator is an emerging web application, which provides asystematic approach that can fully engage Veterans within their specific interests, skills,strengths, personality and passion. These critical elements are integrated and synergized into apersonal brand that engages the Veteran’s Dream Job, Dream Company, Area of e-Xpertiseand Social Media Applications. The model is grounded in critical actions that originate from theindividual Veteran. These actions optimize the Veteran’s ability to Influence, Initiate, Improviseand Improve with a unified trajectory towards the MEANINGFUL CAREER. On a high level, theVeteran CareerStar Accelerator is represented below.As a web application, the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator virtualizes the experience ofdiscovering a MEANINGFUL CAREER through a focused series of tools, techniques,assessments, resources, interactions and simulations, deployed via the 5 Actions for CareerAcceleration. As the internal engine that drives the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator experience,the 5 Actions for Career Acceleration have been created based on the scientific literature,expert opinion, professional experiences and real world trial and error. In other words, from360-degrees, this model is integrated and maximized towards Veterans discovering, engaging,Revolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 11 |Page
  12. 12. achieving and sustaining their own personal MEANINGFUL CAREER. The 5 Actions for CareerAcceleration are displayed below. 5 Actions for Career Sample Tools (Full Model Contains Many More) Acceleratione-Xpertise Exploration  e-Xpertise Strategic Assessments  e-Xpertise Action Workouts  Integrated Career Tools with the Transition Assistance ProgramSocial Media  Personalized Veteran Network Growth Guide with LinkedInApplication  Structured Approach to Leveraging a Career Accelerator Blog  Strategic Utilization of Twitter and FacebookCareer Tool  “Get the Perfect Job” Game SimulationDeployment  Career Accelerator Scorecard  “The Career Challenge Game”; Solve Problems, Win the GameBest Practice Sharing  Interactive Veteran Career Journey Journal  Veteran Community Career Resource Library  Blog of Best Practices to Leverage the MEANINGFUL CAREERContinuous  Innovation Works Think Tank for New Career IdeasImprovement  Career Stretching Exercises Simulations of “What if?” Scenarios  Critical Insights by Recruitment ProfessionalsRevolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 12 |Page
  13. 13. INTEGRATING THE VETERAN CAREERSTAR ACCELERATOR WITHIN TAPHow will the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator benefit the military’s Transition AssistanceProgram (TAP) / Transition Centers?When the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator is attached to TAP, it will become integral to theexperience of today’s transitioning military personnel. At the time of transitioning out of themilitary to the civilian sector, military personnel will be introduced to the Veteran CareerStarAccelerator during exposure to TAP. Once the person is a Veteran, the web applicationassociated with the Veteran CareerStar Accelerator will create a seamless experience for anumber of reasons. 1. The Veteran will immediately have the Virtual Veterans Career Network on LinkedIn, designed to provide insight and opportunities within the Veteran’s career focus. 2. Veterans will experience simulations, tools and programs within a web application that will bring his/her MEANINGFUL CAREER into focus. 3. The Veteran will not only gain knowledge about engaging social media applications within their career journey but will experience an interactive environment for career acceleration. 4. All Veterans experiencing this dynamic model through an extension of TAP will continually gain keen insights from other Veterans regarding the career journey, along with expert recruiter perspective. 5. Ultimately, this Veteran engaging Veteran model adds value to TAP and becomes an ongoing catalyst for all Veterans to achieve a MEANINGFUL CAREER.We can achieve 100% of Veterans in a MEANINGFUL CAREER by 2017. By setting our goalon an aspirational level, we will stimulate excitement, enthusiasm and resource allocationtoward bringing this goal to life. The Veteran CareerStar Accelerator teamed with TAP willstimulate and revolutionize the way Veterans and our nation views employment. Truly, giventhe service and sacrifice of our nation’s Veterans, we cannot settle for them to simply have a“job” but should embark on a collaborative journey with Veterans to achieve a “MEANINGFULCAREER.”5ARevolutionizing Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 13 |Page
  14. 14. Dana E. Jarvis Brief Bioor University and College Career Services Page 6Dana E. Jarvis, MPA, MSW, is a United States Marine Corps Veteran and an OrganizationalEffectiveness Leader with significant experience analyzing and building employee engagementinitiatives.He has served as the Human Resource Director for multimillion dollar organizations, creatingcorporate universities, leadership programs and performance management systems. In thecapacity of Manager of Project Services, Dana led consulting projects for Fortune 500companies, as well as large public sector and nonprofit organizations. Projects included marketanalysis studies, supervisor training program, shared services study, strategic planninginitiatives and multiple employee performance and assessment initiatives. Building on hisprofessional experience, Dana currently serves as an Instructor at the Palumbo * DonahueSchool of Business at Duquesne University. He has also taught at the University of Pittsburgh,Ottawa University and Stephens College. Along his teaching journey, Dana has developedand/or taught courses in virtual teams, management, assessment, business, ethics, strategy,change, administration, diversity and leadership. Over 7 years of teaching as an AdjunctProfessor and more recently, in a full-time capacity, Dana has instructed leaders within Fortune500 companies along with senior military officers and enlisted personnel.Dana obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Allegheny College, as well as a Master ofPublic Administration and Master of Social Work, both achieved at the University of Pittsburgh.Dana is an international speaker and author of 7 Essentials for Managing Virtual Teams(University Readers, 2010). In 2010, he presented on his virtual team model to the largestHuman Resource association in Canada; Human Resource Professionals Association.Recognizing the importance of making a difference in the community, Dana has served on avariety of nonprofit Board of Directors, including Pittsburgh’s NEXT, Pittsburgh Urban MagnetProject (PUMP), Auberle, North Hills Youth Ministry Counseling Center, Winter’s Haven, Inc.,with current service for the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. Dana andhis family reside in Pittsburgh, PA, where they enjoy sports, museums and cultural happenings.Dana E. Jarvis, MPA, MSWVisiting InstructorDuquesne UniversityPalumbo * Donahue School of Business464 Rockwell Hall600 Forbes AvenuePittsburgh, PA 15282jarvisd@duq.edudjarv4@gmail.com412.396.1907 (w)412.855.5369 (c) Veterans’ MEANINGFUL CAREER: Veteran CareerStar Accelerator 14 |Page