The Canyon Without a Bridge

We all are aware and concerned about supporting our Veterans from all branches of services as well as a number of their families into integrating or reintegrating into civilian companies and organizations. Yet with many, many great intentions, our track record overall is somewhat dismal.

I would propose that there are a few success stories, but many more non-successful outcomes. Let me explain my thought process by using the analogy of a canyon and a bridge. On one side of the Canyon, you have civilian employment opportunities in a variety of different arenas. Each of these areas has a culture, a body of knowledge and skills that are an integral part of work, and also a language of phrases and paradigms that allow people to function together. On the other side of the Canyon, you have similar yet different categories, but all of the attributes to work in the various military services have their own unique skills, knowledge, abilities and structure and language.

When a young adult enters any of various branches of service, they are indoctrinated into this environment. Recently being on a Marine Base, the overhead arch entrance proudly states: "We Make Marines". Each branch of the service needs to create their own common language and culture in order to achieve their missions. This must be done for everyone to "work" together under extreme and various conditions.

The missing "Bridge" is most apparent when one leaves the military active service and seeks employment on the other side of the "Canyon". Unfortunately, there is NO bridge or adequate system to help these veterans or employers translate their military training into traditional employment. In addition, this becomes significantly more complex with the addition of physical and psychological impairment.

The need for designing and creating a "bridge" or multiple "bridges" is well recognized. The need is clearly there but, unfortunately, no one wants to own it or financially support it. This will require new thinking and new leadership on a large scale. We all need to convert good intentions into bridge building.



Dr. David Miles is Chairman of the Miles LeHane Companies, Inc. He is a member of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), a member and founding chapter President of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Association of Career Professionals (ACP) and a Charter Fellow of the Institute of Career Certification International (ICC International), as the largest global non-profit certification Institute.  Author of The Four Pillars of Employable Talent and Building Block Essentials.  Follow David on Twitter @David_C_Miles

Career Transition