Building You: Free resource for veterans transitioning careers

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 3:09 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Local company provides free resource for military veterans transitioning careers.

According to the Veteran Job Retention Survey, nearly half of the military veteran participants left their first job out of the military within the first year, and over 65 percent left within two years.

US Army Retired Col. John Buckley created a Veteran Transition Guide after this experience.

“I applied 155 times and I didn’t get so much as a phone call. Probably a vast majority of those, I didn’t meet the requirements," said Buckley, who served in the US Army since he was 17.

“It was very humiliating. Here I thought I have these two masters degrees, I should be able to figure this out, and I couldn’t."

Buckley is now the outreach strategies manager at Koch Industries.

“I enjoy the job. I really enjoy the culture of the company. I think that’s the most important thing. And, that is a challenge for a lot of military people when they get out," said Buckley.

He hopes employers that want to hire veterans understand it is a cultural shift for those transitioning from military to civilian careers.

“Take a look at those things that you can do within your business that would help them assimilate and acclimate back into the private sector," said Buckley.

He added that one example is to clearly communicate career advancement opportunities with veterans, as they are accustomed to progression within the military every few years.

The Veteran Transition Guide is a resource for the job-seeking, military veteran.

“It gives tips and best practices for, how do you prepare for transition, all the way to how do you negotiate. And, it’s become a very useful document,” said Buckley.

Other organizations in the community have initiatives to recruit and retain military veteran talent.

“For employers, you have to have more than ‘I want to hire a veteran.’ You really have to understand how to get the most out of this population, what their expectations are, and I think be deliberate about that," said Keith Lawing, president and CEO of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.

“It makes me feel good that we have companies like Koch Industries and Spirit AeroSystems and Textron Aviation that are very deliberate about recruiting military talent,” said Lawing.

To view the Veteran Transition Guide, click here.

Buckley also wrote an article on 'How to thank a veteran this year." To view it, click here.


On today's #BuildingYou at 4pm, we share a resource for veterans transitioning from military to civilian careers. Plus, how businesses can help veterans during this transition. #VeteransDay #WorkWithWu #WorkingWednesday #kwch12

Posted by Lily Wu - KWCH on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

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