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Tactical Veteran: STEM companies aggressively seeking veterans

Jun. 2, 2014 - 01:01PM   |  
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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hit the nail on the head when he said in a 2011 interview: “Innovations and creativity in science, technology, engineering and math will be the drivers of tomorrow’s economy.”

Pursuing a job in one of these fields — collectively known by the acronym STEM — can lead you to a rewarding career with a company that will be a driving force to leading us into the future.

In my last column, I offered an overview of the surprisingly broad swath of jobs that fit into one or more of the STEM disciplines. And there are many jobs in the military that translate directly into STEM jobs in the private sector.

Last year, Forbes magazine teamed up with Indeed.com to compile a list of the cities with the most STEM job openings at that time. They are:

1) New York City: 47,754

2) Washington D.C.: 39,368

3) San Jose, California: 30,731

4) San Francisco: 26,965

5) Boston: 25,268

6) Chicago: 21,857

7) Los Angeles: 21,796

8) Houston: 21,780

9) Atlanta: 18,824

10) Dallas: 18,745

Big cities tend to be focal points for large companies with a variety of STEM jobs. But they’re by no means the only places to find such jobs; many companies are looking to put down roots in smaller cities in comparatively out-of-the-way areas for the sake of better tax benefits and other business advantages.

Many such companies also have a presence overseas — and who better to fill a spot that demands flexibility and adaptability than veterans who may have lived and worked overseas multiple times during their service careers?

Here are just a few companies with many STEM jobs. Keep in mind that this is just a representative sampling; the universe of companies with STEM jobs is much, much bigger.

■Johnson & Johnson: http://careers.jnj.com/veterans

■3M: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3M-Careers-NA/

■L3-Communications: www.l-3com.com/careers/transitioning-military.html

■Microsoft: www.microsoft- careers.com/content/military/we-still-serve/

■GE: www.ge.com/careers/culture/us-veterans

■Fluor: www.fluor.com/careers/pages/default.aspx

■Union Pacific: https://up.jobs/military.html

■CACI International: www.caci.com/job/military.shtml

■Google: www.google.com/about/careers/

■Alion: www.alionscience.com/careers

■ManTech: www.mantech.com/careers/Pages/military.aspx

■DynCorp International: www.dyn-intl.com/about-di/commitment-to-veterans/

Some of these companies may look quite familiar to you, because many of them actually work side by side with our military, on and off the battlefield. And as you’ll see by browsing the above websites, STEM companies are aggressively looking to recruit veterans who already have the basic skills — and often far more than the basics — that these employers want.

In fact, on the ManTech website listed above, that company’s founder, chairman and CEO, George Pedersen, lays it out quite directly when he says:

“Fifty percent of our employees have a military background. The soldier of today is among the most sophisticated warriors the nation has ever had. The technology that they operate and utilize in their missions requires a level of knowledge and training beyond earlier times. Service members also have qualities that we need in the workplace — qualities like responsibility, dedication to mission, perseverance, integrity, teamwork, and of course, leadership. We can teach skills on the job or in a classroom, but character is harder to come by.”

I’m a firm believer that innovation and creativity in STEM fields will be the engine that drives America’s economic future. And I also believe our veterans will be a key resource for these companies.

Steven Maieli is the founder of TransitioningVeteran.com, which highlights links to federal, state, for-profit and nonprofit veterans benefits and other resources. He also writes a blog on transitioning veterans’ issues at www.transitioningveteran.com/wordpress. Send questions and comments to tacticalveteran@militarytimes.com.

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