In a piece titled, “Veterans bring special skills to the tech field,” Diversity Careers notes that veteran unemployment has surpassed national average unemployment figures for some time. But now an increasing number of employers are making significant efforts to aid, recruit and train veterans. Aetna employee Ken McClellan was featured as one example of a veteran making a successful transition from military service to private employment.
McClellan joined Aetna seven years ago after retiring from the military. In 1973, he enlisted in the U.S. Army directly after high school and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger) at Fort Stewart, GA. In 1977, he enrolled in Temple University (Philadelphia, PA), where he received a 1981 BA in liberal arts. At the same time, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. After graduation, he received a regular Army commission and served in Germany as company executive officer of a mechanized infantry division. He was later promoted to captain and assigned to Fort Lewis, WA. In 2003, McClellan earned an MS in computer information technology from Central Connecticut State University (New Britain). McClellan served as an advisor to the Iraqi Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired from the Army Reserve in 2005.
Now an IT project manager at Aetna, McClellan works with developers, testers, architects and business analysts to create automated solutions for business information and reporting needs.
Excerpts from the Diversity/Careers article:
The veterans’ advantage
McClellan believes his extensive military training was invaluable for the corporate world. “Military training in soft skills, such as leadership, organization and planning, gives veterans an advantage in business. These skills are very difficult to teach, and outside of the military, it seems that few try to do so, concentrating more on technical and job-related skills. These soft skills translate very easily into management positions in civilian work. I have a message for civilian companies: Hire a veteran. He or she will be your best employee.”
Aetna seeks and supports veterans
“We do many things to engage and recruit veterans. We have a dedicated microsite specifically for veterans: aetna-veterans.jobs. Our microsite helps us reach directly into the veteran community,” says Loren Jenkins of talent acquisition.
“Aetna also has some of the best employment-related policies and programs that support veterans and their families, like leave and pay policies for Reserve and National Guard deployments that go well beyond the legal requirements,” she notes.