- With nearly 200,000 military personnel transitioning to civilian lives each year through either separations or retirements, and more than eight million veterans currently part of the civilian workforce, this is a significant talent pool for consideration for transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) roles.
- The majority of military roles are related to STEM, transportation, and logistics across both paraprofessional and professional categories. The added value of extensive experience in high pressure environments that require teamwork and attention to safety makes this population particularly relevant for TSMO roles.
- In order to capitalize on the veteran talent pipeline for TSMO, organizations must be intentional in organizational readiness, outreach, communication, and inclusive practice efforts.
As the transportation workforce continues to face challenges, in particular with respect to recruitment of TSMO professionals, it is important to examine a diverse range of sources with potential to strengthen the TSMO workforce pipeline. One such source that offers significant potential is workers with military backgrounds. Many military personnel have relevant education and training for TSMO, in particular because over half of military occupations are either transportation and logistics or STEM related (at both technical and professional levels). This white paper examines characteristics of military service members, occupational groups, and recruitment and retention practices that provide the greatest opportunity to strengthen the TSMO pipeline. Relevant skillsets that translate to TSMO are highlighted, including both technical and core (or “soft”) skills. An approach is presented to developing an outreach and recruitment plan to ensure veterans and military personnel close to separation are aware of TSMO career opportunities and are connected to job prospects so that state departments of transportation (DOTs) capitalize on this significant talent pool.
This paper was developed as part of NOCoE’s strategic goal to advance the TSMO workforce. This topic area is being explored as a follow-up to NOCoE’s 2021 TSMO Workforce Summit, a gathering of TSMO and HR professionals. The summit revealed the importance of focusing on strengthening pipelines, focusing on the paraprofessional workforce, and highlighting TSMO as a career of choice. NOCoE will continue to work with its partners around solutions for each of these areas while also developing and sharing resources to benefit practitioners.