One of my most popular educational topics on recruiting military veterans is a seminar entitled “Military Applicant Sourcing Options”. In that session I cover over a dozen approaches to sourcing veteran talent and the pros and cons of each approach. The source that most recruiters find to have a lot of potential but also a lot of frustrating aspects is Military Transition Centers. In this blog I will cover some of the pros and cons of utilizing transition centers as a source to find military members.
Pro: There are over 200 military transition centers on military installations around the globe.
Con: There is not a simple way for a recruiter to contact all installations to market open positions
Many recruiters resort to creating their own list. Detailed information on each service’s transition center can be obtained through http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil. In the box labeled “Looking for a specific program or service?” select “Transition Assistance Program” from the drop down menu. Then select an installation from the directory or search by zip code to see all transition centers within a specified radius of a given zip code. Even better – when you follow the directions I’ve just given you and select any location to search, under your returned result will be a link that says “download the Transition Assistance Program contacts for all installations”. It gives you a spreadsheet with all contact info, including installations overseas. You’ll have to do some editing to parse out the general installation info and just retain the TAP info.
(NOTE: If you want to save yourself time and effort, please email me and I will send you my transition center quick reference list sorted by state with basic contact info for Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard installations.)
Notice I have not mentioned anything about email addresses for these transition centers. That is probably the toughest thing to find. The Army, through its Army Career Alumni Program (ACAP), has made it slightly easier for employers to contact their 60+ installations. You can go to their website to see a list of ACAP centers and click on the one you want to view and a detailed contact sheet, with email address, will return. You’ll have to do that for each transition center in the Army inventory.
ACAP also has a special page where you can register your company and have your career page show up when service members use the site to find employers who want to hire military.
Pro: The roughly 165,000 active military members who separate/retire annually can use the Transition Center, potentially making it a good source of talent
Con: The operative phrases are “active military” and “can use”.
There are over 80,000 National Guard and Reserve members coming off of active duty tours (mobilizations) or, for other reasons, leaving the service annually. Current reports state that roughly 1/3 of Guard and Reserve members returning from a mobilization are looking for work. This is a large pool of military talent that you are unlikely to reach if you limit your focus to the transition center.
While Guard and Reserve members in transition are allowed to use the centers, typically they do not, either because they don’t live near an active military installation, or they don’t have sufficient opportunity to use the center when they do have access to the installation.
There is no requirement for any service member to use a transition center in preparation for leaving active military service. Their only mandate is to attend a pre-separation briefing, which outlines the services available to the member through the center and information on benefits after transition. Once the pre-separation briefing has been received, it is up to the service member to decide whether and how often to use the transition center’s services. Some use it extensively; others never set foot in one again.
Pro: Certain transition centers can be a gold mine of hard-to-find skills, such as healthcare practitioners
Con: The transition centers do not provide any hints as to the demographics of the military population they serve.
Some installations are known for having a significant population of members in certain occupations, based on the types of units stationed at that installation. Other installations are just so large that they have a good cross-section of all types of skills. If you typically need to hire for defined occupations, it helps to know which installations will yield better results, so you can focus your marketing efforts. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to derive that insight without some help.
There is a lot more to know about all approaches to finding military talent. If you have questions regarding the transition centers, I encourage you to write them in the comments block below and I’ll answer as many as I can.
The Value Of a Veteran