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Military skills transfer to career success in the data center industry

Creating a sustainable workforce is an essential part of community economic development. It is just about as important as sales because it directly affects current or future business in the industry. The first step in creating a sustainable workforce is creating a plan for activities and programs that are created to nurture the personal and professional development of all employees.

Creating a Workforce Development Strategy

At the beginning of major initiatives, the question “what does right look like” should be going through your mind as a data center owner/operator. The plan and key elements that go into success might already exist, but without good leadership, it will be difficult to bring them together to meet the desired outcome. Good leaders need to be able to articulate the expected outcome clearly. The result of a highly effective Workforce Development Strategy (WDS) will be a sustainable solution to the chronic problem of the data center talent shortage as well as a strategic competitive advantage over competitors who do not adapt similarly.

How will you know your WDS is working? The results will speak for themselves once you begin to see the following two positive attributes:

  1. A well-established cycle of candidates selected and trained at the beginning of their careers
  2. These candidates follow an ongoing  growth path of professional development that accommodates rapidly changing technology and market conditions as well as personal choices.

The bottom line – effective workforce development spans the entire lifecycle of an employee’s tenure with a company.

To begin, break your strategy into 4 sections:

  1. Education

A report by the National for Higher Education Management Systems highlighted that the stock of human capital is internally replenished faster through education. Therefore, having consistent educational resources and curriculums can be advantageous in the long term.

  1. Community supports

Creating a community support system that decreases the stress of employees and helps with resources to improve standards of living are very beneficial for their families as well.

  1. Job/ skills training

Job and skills training provides existing and potential workers with the skills to complete tasks needed by employers to let the organizations stay competitive in a global marketplace.

  1. Goals

Establish goals and set key performance indicators (KPI’s) for each individual’s performance as they go through training. This will help you understand their growth trajectory and forecast the potential impact of each employee while helping them focus on their improvements.

True Life: Real Workforce Development Success Stories

There are many stories at Salute of how the strength of the human spirit has prevailed in the face of adversity. A common theme is that, through service to the country, young men and women get the chance to grow and learn with their experience and through military transition. When they return to civilian life, they are the product of thousands of hours of training and success in adverse situations, which instills key characteristics that can lead to continued success, especially in the data center industry. But the key milestone is finding that first opportunity to transition and grow a career that is personally and financially rewarding. 

At Salute, veterans and military spouses join our ranks and find that bridge to begin a fulfilling career in the industry. Just like in the military, some will have a long fulfilling career with us and others will serve with Salute and take the next step in their career with others in the industry. Each path leads to success and everyone benefits from this cycle.

Let’s look at three short stories from the Portland team. Each veteran came from a different branch of the military and had a different journey leading to Salute. Each veteran started in entry-level positions and quickly grew through training, mastering their position and taking on more responsibility.

  1. Eugene Ellison, a cable and wire installer in the Army

When Salute and Eugene connected, it proved to be a perfect match: he possessed the strong work ethic and broad skill set that Salute seeks out, while Eugene appreciated the respect, support and on-the-job training that Salute offers each of their team members.

He jumped headfirst into Salute’s comprehensive training and certification program – studying new equipment and installation protocols. “I got CompTIA A+, but as soon as I opened the Schneider University Data Center Certified Associate (DCCA) course, it was over,” he says. “I wanted to know everything about data centers and DCIM.” As a result of his initiative, Eugene rose through the ranks at Salute starting first in Portland and then ultimately relocating to North Carolina at another Salute client site to serve as a team leader.

  1. Kim Scimone, a network communications technician in the Air Force

Kim started with the Portland team and grew from technician to team lead. She continued to grow and assume more responsibility at the regional level and ultimately national level. When asked, Kim explained, “My military experience was a perfect compliment to Salute’s training and opportunities. Couple that with the cultural match and I found a company that values me as an individual and allows me to develop and contribute to the best of my abilities”. With all of her achievements to date, Kim is currently serving as Salute’s National Workforce Development Manager and a key member of the team that transitions and trains new personnel and develops existing staff.

  1. Chance Frederick, a communications electronic technician in the Marines

After leaving the Marines, Chance used his military benefits to pay for college and earned himself a Bachelor’s degree. However, he quickly found that his lack of on-the-job experience was a barrier to getting his first job to establish a long-term career. Then, a friend he had served with in the Marines, suggested he look into Salute and shortly thereafter he was hired. He joined the Portland team as a Network Operations Center (NOC) technician and quickly mastered the skills of his position. After serving with Salute, he eventually took a job as a data center technician at Mentor Graphics, where he is currently thriving.

The Salute Difference

Salute is proud of each of their accomplishments and knows they will continue to grow on every level. The path an individual takes is based on the preference as well as their performance. The key to our success is the inclusive culture of Salute and how our workforce strategy has been implemented to achieve our business goals and simultaneously provide individual paths to growth and fulfillment. Any company that wants to solve the talent shortage permanently and build teams that are continuously achieving higher levels of performance should do the same.

What does right look like? It looks like teams who perform at a level that is greater than the individuals included. From the outside, it looks like world-class service that continuously learns and grows. From the inside, it looks like an environment that is inclusive and values the contributions of everyone.

Salute Mission Critical empowers veterans and military spouses to make the career moves of their dreams that also suit their families’ goals. Recently, we partnered with the Department of Defense to connect qualified individuals with partner employers. Additionally, Salute is also ranked as a Military Friendly Military Spouse Employer 2021, a prestigious award for employers that do the most to benefit military spouses.

If you’d like to upgrade your workforce development strategy or learn how our team of veterans can directly impact your growth, we can help.

We recently hired 81 veterans and military spouses Jul-Sep 2020 so, if you are looking to make your next big career move, apply here.

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