Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Growing Industries for Soldiers

Orion President Mike Starich was interviewed in July’s issue of GX Magazine, the official magazine of the National Guard, on the growing industries most suited for soldiers looking to supplement their Guard service, or those transitioning from the military to the civilian job market. Among the top industries for former military: healthcare, information technology, logistics and supply chain management, and the energy sector all ranked high as well matched jobs for military members.

For these growing industries, the best option for those interested would be to keep an open mind, especially if it seems that the MOS doesn’t seem to offer the correct qualifications, or coincide with the career. “Healthcare companies will hire field technicians to maintain equipment, for example. We work with GE Healthcare. They will have teams of people that do the installations and repair of all medical equipment,” states Starich.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the healthcare industry offered the highest employment numbers in May 2012, responsible in part because of an aging baby boomer generation. This shift offers a bright future for employment in the healthcare industry.

Logistics and supply chain management, Starich explains, is another industry that military members shouldn’t overlook. The industry leans strongly on those with logistics and supply chain skills, Starich states. “The military fits really well into that. Retail companies supply food and beverage and products to stores. This also involves distribution networks for gasoline to retail stations.” Dr. Chris Bollinger, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and economics professor at the University of Kentucky, foresees a projected growth estimate at a 20 percent increase over the next 10 years in this industry.

The energy sector, which comprises of oil & gas, power generation, and alternative energy, all offer career opportunities well matched for military. In the oil & gas sector, “we see good hiring activity primarily in the south-central US, and in the Dakotas, primarily North Dakota,” Starich states. 

Types of job opportunities for military include roustabouts, equipment operators, well site leaders, maintenance technicians, refinery operations, and offshore positions. “Any type of equipment operator, someone who works on trucks or Humvees, anything in light mechanical, fits well,” Starich explains. “But then this also stretches to highly technical, electronics, repair people, electricians…also, your general infantryman with light mechanical skills has done very well with oil field service companies.”

Additionally, alternative energy is expected to see the biggest breakthrough in the upcoming year, especially in the Southwest, Midwest, and some regions of the Northeast, chiefly upstate New York. This sector is a great fit for military with light technical, electronic, or electrical skills. “There are wind schools throughout the United States, specifically training the technicians,” Starich states. “If you’re a degreed person, you can get hired with no experience for project sites, site supervisors, engineering.” 

For solar energy, positions are most available in the Southwest and Western region of the US. According to Starich, the solar energy sector is a lot less technical, compared to wind – “that technology is straightforward, whereas with wind, much more mechanical items are involved,” he explains. “The wind towers go three hundred feet into the air, and the voltage is much higher, so you need heavier safety protocols, which is why the military fits in well. Plus, environments are harsh and in remote locations…anyone with wartime experience fits in well in wind industries.”

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