Workforce Tool Helps Nonprofit Find Jobs for VetsBy Samuel Greengard Print
A nonprofit organization that helps military personnel and their spouses find work adopts a sophisticated system to automate tasks and expand capabilities.
Among the challenges military families face is finding ways to help wounded veterans and spouses—including retired military spouses—find meaningful and gainful work. Although many veterans and their partners possess valuable expertise and skills, these individuals often encounter difficulties transitioning from the armed forces to the private sector.
One organization attempting to address the issue is Military Spouse and Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), a 10-year-old not-for-profit organization that provides employment readiness and job placement solutions. The agency, along with a sister organization Corporate America Supports You (CASY), has already helped more than 20,000 military spouses and 8,000 transitioning active military and veterans find jobs.
"Our work is critical to the long-term well-being and meaningful employment of thousands of veterans, active military and their spouses," says Stacy Bayton, chief operating officer for CASY-MSCCN. As these men and women return from war, "The majority do not have a job, and the transition is not always an easy one," she explains. "Our goal is to help both veteran families and employers by filling positions with excellent candidates."
In the past, the organization used an Excel database and other piecemeal software to track individuals and their data. It also relied on manual techniques, including email and paper documents, to manage the process. "It was slow, cumbersome and time-consuming," Bayton recalls.
In 2006, CASY-MSCCN turned to a Kenexa application to automate the task. In 2013, the organization ratcheted up performance further by adopting IBM's Smarter Workforce Solution (IBM acquired Kenexa the same year). The system helps CASY-MSCCN manage caseloads, track metrics and outcomes, and report findings to ensure that service members and their families receive the services and support they require.
"Our counselors are able to track candidates individually and determine at any moment whether they are moving toward a desired outcome," Bayton explains. The system includes a talent-match feature that helps the agency align employer needs and requirements with its candidate base. It also ties together many tasks that were previously disjointed and disconnected.
The benefits have been substantial. "From an operations perspective, we are able to work more efficiently, and, as a result, we're able to use staff more efficiently," Bayton explains. More importantly, the technology is helping improve candidate-employer matches and boost the odds that veterans and spouses find good jobs.
The system supports more than 200 gateways to various government and private entities, ranging from states to other nonprofits. This feature allows states to customize content and develop surveys and other tools.
Moreover, CASY-MSCCN is now able to provide specialized features and performance metrics to connected organizations and understand which approaches and tools work best. "We are able to track community involvement and understand how different changes and adaptations affect programs," Bayton says.
In addition, the organization is working with the National Guard and others in deeper and broader ways. For example, it's piloting a program with the Army Cadet Command to assist cadets enrolled in ROTC programs prepare for employment.
"The technology has introduced an array of new and improved capabilities," Bayton reports. "It is making a real-world difference for a growing number of military families, including veterans and spouses."
Photo courtesy of the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN).
(Left to right) Admiral John Totushek, USN (ret), Association of the U.S. Navy; Rear Admiral Dan Kloeppel, USN (ret), founder and CEO, Corporate America Supports You (CASY); and Deb Kloeppel, founder and president, CASY-MSCCN.
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