(ARA) - The ability to earn a living after leaving military service may be among the most important debts America owes its veterans. From legislation designed to provide educational and employment opportunities, to grassroots efforts by companies across the country, it seems the nation is committed to ensuring veterans find profitable, meaningful employment.
A broadly revamped GI Bill now provides veterans with the most comprehensive educational benefits since the original legislation passed 64 years ago. And in August, the House of Representatives passed legislation designed to expand employment opportunities for them. Meanwhile, in the private sector, some companies are also implementing employment programs for veterans.
The financial services industry especially seems to be a good fit for former service people. The personal financial advisor field is projected to grow by 41 percent until 2016, much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Financial advisors will be in demand to assist the millions of baby boomers and other workers expected to retire in the next decade, the bureau notes.
"Veterans generally transition well into financial services careers," says Jackie Hintz, vice president of field talent acquisition for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. "Both the military and financial services are careers that draw men and women with high integrity, a strong drive to serve the community and a willingness to be held accountable for their actions."
The time management and interpersonal skills veterans acquire in the military serve them well in the financial services field, says Brent Findlay, a Madison, Wis.,-based Thrivent Financial representative who served four years in the U.S. Army. "In the military, you have the opportunity to become a leader no matter how humble your beginnings," he says. "I see that same opportunity to succeed in the financial services industry."
Several factors make veterans highly desirable employees, Hintz says. The military instills strong leadership and teamwork skills, trains service people to be fast learners, fosters integrity and efficiency, and teaches respect for organization and procedure.
On the practical side, companies that recruit veterans directly out of the military can avoid relocation expenses, as veterans mustering out can choose their geographic point of discharge. Most military retirees are also young in relation to their superior level of skill and experience. This means companies that hire and retain veterans are investing in employees that will likely remain with the company for many years.
"Military veterans are looking for employers who believe in the values that are important to them," Hintz says. "Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a faith-based organization that provides its workforce and members opportunities to give back to their local communities through volunteer programs or service activities. We find that military veterans especially are attracted to this element of our organization."
"There are a lot of good financial firms out there," agrees Findlay, who now works with 500 Thrivent Financial members. "But it was important to me to find an organization whose values matched my personal ones."
The financial services industry also offers veterans high earning potential, dependable benefits, ample training and the opportunity to advance without a degree. "A bachelor's degree is not a requirement for our financial representatives," Hintz says. "In fact, people from many different types of backgrounds and experiences have found success in this career."
Currently, the company's field force is 3 percent veterans, she adds. And 3 percent of Thrivent Financial's new hires in 2008 are veterans.
"Veterans have the self-motivation, high integrity and desire to help others needed for a successful career in financial services," Hintz says. "This career is a natural fit for someone leaving the military. We can teach product knowledge. We can't teach the personality traits that help drive success in this career. The self-motivation required of military members translates well to careers as financial representatives."
To learn more about a financial career with Thrivent Financial, visit www.thrivent.com/careers.
Courtesy of ARAcontent