Workforce development stakeholders and economists in the region have focused their efforts to addressing the challenge of talent recruitment and retention along with the widening skills gap spread across several in-demand industries with cybersecurity, IT, construction, manufacturing and healthcare industries topping the list.
Each year, more than 10,000 military personnel leave their respective branches of service and enter the private sector as highly skilled, experienced and disciplined workers. Forward-thinking businesses are looking to capitalize on this talent unique to the region to meet employer demands, and recent collaborative efforts are helping to make this process more efficient.
In January 2018 the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and Hampton Roads Chamber spearheaded the development of the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center (HRVEC), which leverages resources from more than 20 partners from local businesses, military and community organizations, education institutions and localities—helping military veterans and transitioning service members (TSMs) identify, navigate and access services and resources to attain their employment goal and support their successful transition to the civilian workforce in a centralized location. Since its opening, more than 1,300 veterans have been assisted.
Building from that momentum, the Workforce Council partnered with the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to develop and launch the Hampton Roads Veterans Career Compass—a new custom configured portal that streamlines the job seeker and employee recruitment experiences for the military community.
The “IT” Factor—The Veterans Career Compass
The Hampton Roads Veterans Career Compass, released earlier this year, functions as an extension of the Veterans Employment Center—providing a portal that better connects employers with military job seekers in the region. Developed by Virginia-based IT company Indtai, Inc., this new platform enables TSMs and veterans to explore and pursue employment opportunities in the area and provides employers with innovative functionality to profile career pathways and job opportunities. But, how does it work?
The Veterans Career Compass offers three primary functions: 1) My Story; 2) My Career Paths; 3) My Jobs Dashboard; and 4) My Talent Dashboard:
- Using the My Story feature, users can build and manage an electronic portfolio of career experiences, training, education, honors and professional accomplishments. Users will upload their military transcript, such as the Joint Services Transcript (JST), which the portal will then analyze in real time to identify, extract and create records of the job seeker’s military experience, training and prior education.
- The My Career Path feature provides users with the ability to search and find careers that match their military background or interests. Users can review details of each career—typical tasks, technologies utilized, earnings as documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics—and more importantly, search for available jobs in that occupation within a geographic area of interest in Coastal Virginia.
- The My Jobs Dashboard automates one of the most laborious tasks for job seekers, especially military personnel who may have little experience with resume development. This feature dynamically generates a downloadable resume as a Microsoft Word document that can be further customized. This feature allows users to search and apply for jobs in a repository populated with job postings by participating employers.
- Finally, the employer-focused module of the platform, My Talent Dashboard, creates a more efficient method for businesses to identify talent exiting the military. Employers can create a company profile, manage jobs, review and respond to applications and search talent.
To recruit and retain local talent, it is important that we establish more unified processes and implement new systems and technology to better connect job seekers with employers. The Hampton Roads Veterans Career Compass is one example of a scalable, regional solution—capable of tackling our shrinking labor force, while ensuring meaningful employment for the military community.
To date, more than 2,000 jobs have been posted on the Veterans Career Compass.
Shawn Avery is president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.