How the U.S. Army Reserve Meets Today’s Workforce Challenges
Submitted by: Col. Jonathan Dahms, Chief of Public Affairs, U.S. Army Reserve
With companies like Comcast headquartered in Philadelphia and the development of the Philadelphia Technology Park, Philadelphia is quickly becoming a hub of technology. Philadelphia ranks as a top 10 technology hub in the nation and over the next 10 years, companies in technological consulting and computer systems are expected to add 2.1 million jobs nationwide. This could provide an opportunity for local area employers to utilize trained, U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to fill a significant labor demand.
The Army Reserve offers its soldiers 148 Military Occupational Specialties–many of which align with industries that the U.S. Department of Labor projects will grow exponentially in the coming years, including technology, as well as healthcare, engineering and construction. In fact, 95 percent of the Army Reserve’s specialized military careers are directly compatible with civilian jobs, meaning that their skills and training are easily applied to the civilian workforce, especially in technology, engineering, healthcare and human resources.
While the labor demands of these industries are growing, the Department of Labor also projects that the country’s workforce will only increase by 8 percent in the next 10 years – the slowest growth in recent history. At the same time, the American Diploma Project Network indicates that 40-45 percent of recent high school graduates have significant gaps in skills such as such as teamwork, decision-making, leadership and communication – skills that are essential for an effective workforce.
Army Reserve soldiers are also members of the civilian workforce, and the Army Reserve has focused their workforce solutions to meet the current economic needs of our nation as well. The Army Reserve provides soldiers with ongoing skills training that aligns with civilian careers and works to build a network of partners in local communities that support hiring soldiers and veterans who are re-entering the workforce.
Annually, the Army Reserve invests more than $2 billion for their soldiers to continually build, maintain and broaden their skills and professional capabilities. About $1.3 billion is specifically dedicated to the development of integral leadership skills.
In addition to the extensive education and training efforts to prepare soldiers for transition, Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, Chief of the U.S. Army Reserve, implemented the Employer Partnership program, enabling employers and the Army Reserve to share talent and associated training and education costs to help meet the demands of job growth in these expanding industries; areas where the Army Reserve has a robust pool of talent. The program, open to all branches of the military for soldiers and veterans alike, includes an extensive job database and links employer partners with talented military personnel. Its partners include Wal-Mart, the Cleveland Clinic, General Electric and Johns Hopkins Univers