DTMB Recognized as Veteran-Friendly Employer
August 26, 2020
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) is committed to recruiting, hiring, and retaining military veterans to bring the talent and experience former service members possess into the organization. As proof of that commitment, DTMB recently received a bronze level, veteran friendly employer recognition from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency in March. The recognition designates public and private sector employers that have taken actions to promote the hiring and retention of veterans.
During the last three years, DTMB has hired 44 veteran employees. The department currently employs 219 veterans and continues to seek hiring opportunities for veterans in the future.
“We are always looking for new opportunities for recruitment and networking within the veteran communities, including virtual recruitment” said Michigan Civil Service Commission recruiter Sarah Locke.
To achieve the veteran-friendly certification, DTMB needed to commit to hiring veterans in proportion to the overall number of employees in the department.
“It’s really my goal to exceed that number and make sure that we are putting more of a priority on hiring veterans and attending career fairs,” Locke said. “Getting this bronze level certification is just going to push us to make more of an effort and achieve higher certifications in the future.”
As part of the certification, DTMB posts job openings to MiTalent.org, a website that allows veterans to view job openings 24 hours in advance of the public. The department also signed a letter supporting the National Guard and Army Reserve and declaring to actively recruit veterans and educate managers on the value of hiring veterans, as well as how to support veterans after hiring.
“Last summer, the State of Michigan attended and sponsored a career fair at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing called Hero Fest, which was for all members of service,” Locke said. “It was rewarding to speak with these individuals and provide them with resources for employment opportunities in DTMB. We do look forward to participating in more of those military specific career fairs in the future.”
Approximately 200,000 servicemembers transition from military service to civilian life each year, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. There are roughly 550,000 veterans in the state of Michigan, so veterans and their families represent a valuable talent pool for recruitment.
“Veterans face many challenges when transitioning out of the military – finding meaningful employment and organizational support should not be one of them,” said DTMB equity and inclusion officer Kelly Manning. “The skills and abilities that our service members possess flat out make our department better. We appreciate our partnership with the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and are focused on continuing to connect and work with veterans, both potential and current employees.”
DTMB is aiming to become a silver-level veteran friendly employer by next year. In addition to bronze-level standards, this would mean providing additional support for new hires. Anyone starting a new job faces a learning curve when it comes to communication styles, work expectations, and “industry speak”, but veterans often face a unique set of challenges when transitioning to the civilian job market.
“For example, in the military, we use a lot of acronyms, and they become so commonplace that we forget that everybody doesn't know what our acronyms are,” explains Director of Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Zaneta Adams.
For veterans returning with physical injuries, or those that have experienced trauma, the challenges can be more difficult. Adams was honorably discharged after suffering a back injury that required her to undergo two back surgeries and restricted movement to a wheelchair.
“I wasn't sure if I was going to be mentally able to sustain the amount of physical or mental pressures that come with a job or with law school while dealing with healing too,” said Adams. “I think that as a military person, a veteran and just the person that I am, I feel like I need to be 100% or I'm not effective.”
Adams adapted to her circumstances and pursued her law degree, as well as beginning a job with U-Haul, both of which she could do from home. For Adams, feeling that she was able to continue to contribute was important for her mental health.
To bridge the gap for transitioning service members, the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs works with veterans, as well as other state agencies and organizations, to find the best ways of translating military experience into a context that recruiters can understand.
“Organizations wanting to be veteran friendly employers understand that whether somebody has those specific skills for that job, each and every person who's taken basic infantry and gone through their specialty school has over $100,000 worth of training, discipline and understanding under their belt,” said Adams. “Veterans understand the value of a chain of command, and they understand how to be respectful because that was what was ingrained.”
DTMB is actively seeking to become a silver-level veteran friendly employer within the next year. We appreciate our partnership with the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and are focused on continuing to connect and work with veterans, both potential and current employees.
More information on veteran benefits and resources can be found on the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency website.