Throughout the course of 2009 I am spotlighting companies large and small who understand the value that veterans bring to their organization. These are companies that are successfully utilizing the many skills and talents of military members. These organizations demonstrate sincere desire to bring more veterans into their companies by doing some or all of the following:
- Establishing a specific military hiring initiative as part of its overall HR strategy;
- Recruiting at military job fairs, through military job boards and on military installations;
- Preparing their recruiters and/or hiring managers on how to screen a veteran resume and interview service members;
- Updating their marketing materials to attract the military.
Advanced Technology Services (ATS) is known for making factories run better. ATS improves the productivity and profitability for many of the world’s most respected manufacturers through the managed services of production equipment maintenance, information technology and spare parts repair. Founded in 1985, ATS employs over 2,300 people across the U.S., Mexico and United Kingdom. ATS is headquartered in Peoria, IL with offices and services centers located in Greenville, SC, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, Monterrey, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
ATS began an aggressive recruiting campaign targeting military veterans in 2005 and haven’t slowed down since. Today service members comprise almost 28% of their total workforce. In 2008 ATS hired approximately 300 veterans (about 33% of total hires for that year).
Holly Mosack, ATS Recruiting Manager and an Army veteran herself, knows how talented service members are. “They bring a level of dedication – a can-do attitude – that is hard to find in the civilian sector. They understand mission accomplishment, have leadership skills that you can’t find elsewhere and bring with them the ability to look ahead instead of just being reactive. They work well on teams, think outside of the box, make things happen and instead of complaining, they find the solutions. They don’t like to fail and they take pride in all they do.”
ATS appreciates and takes advantage of the mechanical training many military members have attained while working on tanks, generators, aircraft, electronic equipment, and vehicles. Says Mosack, “We find that veterans pick up the technical skills easily. At ATS, we specialize in factory maintenance. Most veterans leaving the service have never worked on factory equipment. However, they are able to take the skills that they’ve learned in the military and easily transfer those skills to our business.”
To better facilitate the veterans transition to working with factory equipment ATS sponsors a Multi-Skilled Technical Training program. It is an accredited, ten-month course designed to take someone from having a mechanical or electrical aptitude and turn them into a skilled Manufacturing Maintenance Technician. ATS has found veterans to be a great match for this program and military members enjoy the benefit of applying their GI Bill® to pay for the program.
In addition to reaping the cost benefit of a hiring a skilled workforce, ATS also takes advantage of the various tax credits for hiring veterans and the relocation cost savings that can be realized by connecting with active duty service members early in their transition process.
A military recruiting best practice I recommend in my web seminar “Translating the Military Resume and Interviewing Tips” is to use recruiters who have been trained to screen and interview veterans, including screening a veteran resume. ATS has four recruiters who are also former military members. These recruiters enjoy speaking with service members and can quickly help them understand how their skills translate into positions at ATS. Mosack continues, “Having military veterans as recruiters has been a huge advantage for us. These recruiters understand the skill sets that the veterans possess and can easily translate those skills to hiring managers who may not be familiar with the military.”
Another military recruiting best practice I recommend in my web seminar “Marketing to Attract the Military Applicant” is to make sure service members know from every possible recruiting vehicle (i.e., your career website, your recruiting materials, etc.) that your company is “military-friendly”. You can do this through:
Partnering with various Department of Defense employment initiatives
Establishing supportive HR policies and programs
“Four years ago, most veterans had probably never heard of ATS, where now we are considered one of the top military-friendly companies,” says Mosack. “Veterans receive support and recognition from our President and CEO as well. We proudly display service flags for all of our Reservists and National Guardsmen that are currently deployed and provide support to their families. We have a great relationship with the Army’s Partnership for Youth Success program and look forward to continuing to grow our veteran population at ATS.” ATS is also a proud supporter of the National Guard and Reserves and is the recipient of two awards given by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves for its military-friendly policies
For more information about ATS visit its website at www.AdvancedTech.com.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.