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The RMMS Story

Former Army General Explains Why The US Is Failing To Employ Its Veterans

It’s well documented that unemployment for our military veterans is disproportionately high.

According to some estimates, nearly a third of our youngest veterans returning from combat and serving our nation can’t find work, which is considerably higher than their non-veteran peers.

The question that all of us ask is “why?”

While veteran populations are disproportionately under-employed, they’re also disproportionately qualified for our most in-demand roles. So it raises questions about what systematic differences are present in this community that put these more qualified workers in a less marketable position.

I believe these differences are both structural and cultural.

The US Department of Defense has the most effective large-scale training program in the world. It’s unmatched in its ability to develop men and women with the Values, discipline and skills necessary to protect our national interests at home and abroad. Our military academies, ROTC programs, basic training, and post-graduate programs cultivate world-class skills for our women and men in combat and personnel supporting the largest-scale operations on the planet.

While it prepares men and women for warfare, the Department of Defense doesn’t cultivate the networking and relationship skills necessary to empower careers within the military and in post-military civilian lives. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Department of Labor lend support to this cause, but generally in the form of tactical programs and job fairs. They don’t inculcate networking and professional development into the cultures of service men and women.

In the civilian world, tools like LinkedIn have transformed professional networking. But they haven’t translated to the unique culture of the military, which is specialized and proprietary. We’re generally not comfortable sharing our assignments, skills, accomplishments and relationships with the broader universe beyond our community. We’re trained to operate with discretion and live the value of selfless service.

So it’s no surprise that a fraction of our military is currently using LinkedIn.

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