During the peak of the pandemic, tech companies aggressively expanded their workforce in the midst of the explosion of remote work, competing fiercely for talent due to near-zero interest rates, a flourishing stock market and massive consumer demand. Fast-forward to today and many of these same companies are now faced with an interesting set of challenges.
Jobs in tech are still in high-demand, with roughly 1.1 million posted in just the first quarter of the year. But due to surging inflation and economic uncertainty, many companies are now putting a freeze on hiring or even cutting back the size of their workforce. On the other hand, some companies are still trying to grow their workforce, but finding a shortage of qualified candidates and an increasingly competitive recruiting market.
Fortunately for these companies, there is a reliable pipeline of qualified candidates with a proven track record of work ethic, adaptability, and extensive experience, which most employers haven’t even considered.
That pipeline is the veteran community.
Everyone knows that the primary function of our military is to kill the enemy and break their shit, but most don’t realize that is achieved by a very small subset of our service members, while the vast majority support them by performing many of the same kinds of jobs found in the civilian world. And even those in combat arms roles acquire valuable skills and experience that is directly applicable to the civilian workforce.
In addition to specific job skills, veterans also bring a number of other assets to the companies they work for. Leadership is one obvious asset, but they’re also comfortable handling adversity, adapting on the fly, taking initiative, managing chaos and operating independently, to name just a few other assets.
Some companies clearly understand the unique value that veterans bring to the table, and seek them out specifically for that reason.
Optomi Professional Services is one of these companies, and it has implemented a program that not only hires veterans, but also specifically seeks them out and creates opportunities for them, including extensive training and job placement support.
Founded in 2012, the name has its root in “optimum” which means ‘being the best; the ultimate.’ The concept behind OPS was “to create a different kind of technology talent firm, one full of innovative thinking with the goal of serving the industry better while making an impact”.
OPS finds and hires untapped talent, but also develops this new wave of domestic IT workers through tech training programs. Its organic success has also led to the creation of multiple brands and has generated sales with an excess of $100 million in just nine years.
After analyzing how a majority of the tech and IT world focuses on recruiting from coastal urban areas and top-tier universities, OPS took a look within. Over 10 million veterans are underemployed and with 65% of OPS’s leadership made up of veterans that joined the company after decades of military service, the company made a commitment to providing former military personnel with an opportunity for a second, highly skilled career path.
In order to identify and train intelligent skilled veterans for specialized IT roles, OPS establishes their delivery centers adjacent to military bases. This also allows veterans to stay in their communities, have better access to VA benefits and make the overall transition for both veterans and their families easier.
Provalus (OPS’s IT training and outsourcing company) delivers ITO (Information Technology Outsourcing), BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and support assistance for companies looking to keep their outsourced tech services within the U.S. The training curricula includes essential and professional skill building so that veterans recently transitioning into the civilian world can feel supported, confident and prepared in their new career path within the fast-growing I.T. industry. In fact, 96% of their internship graduates are hired full-time.
Through their “Hiring Heroes” campaign, the company is working to achieve a workforce that consists of 30% military veterans; it currently stands at 18%. Within that 18%, Provalus shows diversity amongst the different branches: 25% Army, 31% Navy, 31% Air Force, and 13% Marines.
In 2021, Provalus earned the designation of a Military Friendly® Employer; in 2022 the company earned multiple Military Friendly® designations including: Employer, Spouse Employer, Supplier Diversity Program, Company, and Brand.
“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that our U.S. veterans possess tremendous skills, work ethic and overall quality of character. They bring a sense of urgency, a mindset of until the job is done and overall attention to detail (getting it right the first time is critical in their prior roles). All very valuable assets to have within a team. For Provalus specifically, their mentorship and leadership continue to have a profound impact on our business, as we continue to hire talent from all walks of life,” Laura Chevalier, President of Provalus, said, after receiving the designation in 2021. Laura is a military spouse herself with a unique perspective on IT services. She led the team responsible for building the world-class organization that Provalus is today.
The company even has a series on its blog where employees are interviewed about their experience with the company and why they enjoy coming to work everyday.
When asked, “What do you enjoy about working at Provalus?”Jason (a veteran who came on as a contract Security Operations Center Manager and is now the Security Delivery Director) commented, “I’ve never worked at a place where I feel like my thoughts and feelings are heard. I have daily conversations with my direct supervisor. It really is all about the communication. I don’t want to downplay my time in the military because I greatly appreciate my opportunities there but I’ve never felt heard like I do here. Sometimes almost to a point where I’m like why is this still surprising. It’s a great feeling. The magic is definitely there”.
In the company’s own words, “By creating opportunities where there were none; with companies that believe in America’s future, Provalus is generating a dedicated superior workforce. We are fueling a new era of technology talent equipped to strengthen America’s future.” And they’re making sure to help military veterans along the way.
This is a much needed initiative—especially considering the fact that we have so many service members leaving the military and entering a struggling economy, so I applaud the work that Optomi Professional Services is doing to support the veteran community.