When first lady Michelle Obama first announced the Joining Forces Initiative in April 2011, the goal was to have companies in the private sector pledge 100,000 new military friendly jobs by the end of 2013. In the past year and a half, the initiative has completely shattered that goal, with current job pledges totaling over 125,000.
A recent addition to the Joining Forces initiative was Ameren, a utility company headquartered in St. Louis. At the beginning of September, Ameren pledged to hire 200 veterans and military spouses over the next five years, which builds on their record of being one of the most military friendly employers in the nation. Along with companies like T-Mobile, Joining Forces is creating a new age of corporate support for the military community.
Joining Up With Joining Forces
Betsy Miller, a Human Resources Supervisor at Ameren, thought the partnership was an easy decision.
“We’ve had a focus for many years on recruiting and hiring military. When we got the request from Joining Forces and the first lady we were eager to get involved.”
When discussing why Ameren feels the need to show support for the military community, Miller said that “(Ameren’s) perspective is that it is the least we can do to help those who have served in our military transition to civilian employment. Additionally, military candidates have valuable technical and leadership skills to help our company grow.”
Ameren is working hard to show how valuable military skills are to building the power grids of the future.
“One of our power plants is nuclear and we recruit heavily from the Navy’s nuclear program,” said Miller, “because there is a strong connection between what folks are doing in the military with nuclear technology and what we’re doing to power homes.”
Ameren isn’t alone in their search for talented military candidates. T-Mobile stands as one of the most military friendly companies in America, with 25 percent of 2011 hires coming from the military. The wireless giant plans to maintain and grow their internal military community through their Military Talent Network.
A T-Mobile spokesperson elaborated on their plan for new veteran hires. “Our goal is to provide Military Veterans from all branches of the service, the opportunity for career growth in an environment that values their intangible skills – skills like leadership, dedication, and values which are essential to our business.”
Creating a Military-Friendly Environment
Although statistics like number of veteran employees and veteran percentage of new hires factor heavily into GI Jobs yearly ranking of the most military friendly employers, there is a lot to be said for what companies like T-Mobile and Ameren are doing to foster a military friendly environment.
Everything from the military-specific career fair to an employee volunteer group that helps those deployed and their families, T-Mobile is dedicated to building on the strengths military members already have to create a supportive environment, adding “they can think on their feet and they enjoy the energy that comes with change. Here at T-Mobile, we also share a commitment to principles like teamwork, leadership, trust in your peers, and a relentless dedication to service.”
Ameren too has specific programs to help support their 600 military employees, nearly two dozen of whom are currently stationed overseas. A great example of the internal support veterans and active duty service members receive while working for Ameren is the Ameren-Military Veterans Employee Resource Group. The group holds monthly meetings where they create care packages for employees and their immediate family members currently deployed.
The new goal recently announced by Michelle Obama is 250,000 job pledges by the end of 2014, but the initiative has already incited a culture of corporate recognition for the skills and dedication available in the military.