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Standing Out in STEM
See how to stand out in STEM, which offers a diverse array of well-compensated, in-demand careers.
In January 2018 The Pew Research Center, a Washington DC think tank, published its salary comparison between STEM workers and non-STEM workers, and found that the median annual earnings of STEM workers was $75,948 as compared with $55,695 for non-STEM workers, with both groups having bachelor’s degrees. In addition, STEM workers with master’s degrees earned $23,290 more than their equally degreed non-STEM colleagues. With doctoral degrees, STEM workers earned $28,758 more annually.
The five companies below featured here are among those that appreciate the skills veterans have acquired while on active military duty and know that those skills transfer well into the civilian workplace. They seek to hire veterans into their organizations, including into STEM positions.
See what they seek in veteran candidates and discover the career track of a few veterans who have come aboard these companies.
Dix’s Navy Leadership Skills Transfer to His Executive Role at Wells Fargo
After a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, including the Navy Reserve, Alan William Dix is currently completing his bachelor’s degree in information systems and technology, a blend of information management and technology management, through a combination of his post-9/11 GI Bill and Wells Fargo & Company’s tuition reimbursement. He expects to receive his degree this fall.
“I came to Wells Fargo as a contractor,” he explains, adding that he was aided in his search by his local veterans’ services organization and given help with his disability paperwork from the American Legion.
“Since I was actively drilling in the Navy Reserve, it was easy to work contract development jobs.”
But, as he got close to retirement from the Navy, he began looking for contract-to-hire opportunities. One such opportunity became available at Wells Fargo, a multinational financial services company whose headquarters is in San Francisco, CA, when the team lead he was working for retired. Dix applied for his job and was hired full-time as assistant vice president, wholesale technology, his current position. “The most important skill I brought with me from my 24 years in the Navy is leadership and people skills.”
In this role, which he’s held for seven years, Dix serves as an applications system engineer responsible for transitioning payments and billing from legacy technology to the current cloud-based Java application environment.
He feels he’s gotten every chance to grow his career, and taken many leadership and management courses, including the veteran leadership program. His manager has always been his primary mentor, too.
“She’s introduced me to people that have the skills and positions that I’d like to reach. I let my manager know early on what my goals were, and I haven’t yet had a single roadblock placed in front of me,” he shares.
Wells Fargo offers many opportunities to grow and learn, with online training, and in-person courses and training. “I’m on an informal management track within my department,” Dix notes.
“I’ve been given some management tasks and been exposed to many aspects of management within my own group.”
He continues: “I’ve been able to ask for more responsibility after proving to myself and to my managers that I have both the bandwidth and required skills to succeed.”
He adds that, when his current assignment has been completed, he hopes to be promoted into a management role.
Dix has recently requested a minimal accommodation related to his physical workspace, reaching out to Wells Fargo’s HR liaison on the veterans’ team member network board, who informed him about the workplace accommodations group. He contacted the board, completed a form describing his disability and limitations, and specified the accommodation he was requesting. The board sent him a medical release form giving them permission to communicate with his doctor or care team, and a packet of information the board would need from that source.
“I’m waiting to hear back from the accommodations specialist about what the next step is,” he indicates, adding that, for future employees who need an accommodation, there are links for contacting and initiating a request on Wells Fargo’s website.
Dix is also the chairperson of his local chapter of Wells Fargo’s veterans’ team member network, which is open to anyone and designed to assist with veteran transition and hiring, advocating for veteran benefits, services, and other veteran needs.
Go to wellsfargo.com/about/careers for Wells Fargo careers and information. Connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.
Bergquist Parlays Military Skills into Managerial Role at Fiserv
Matthew Bergquist, who has a bachelor’s degree in finance, is now in the process of completing his MBA with a focus in finance.
Finance is a discipline he says he chose because he enjoys “the blend of using qualitative finance skills and qualitative skills to come up with creative and dynamic solutions,” he shares.
Prior to coming aboard Brookfield, WI-based Fiserv (formerly known as First Data), a global provider of financial technology solutions to the financial services industry, Bergquist spent 12 years in the U.S. Army as a Chinook helicopter pilot. His service included a combat tour in Afghanistan in 2015. He believes his military skills translated well into a career in finance.
“I was able to hone my critical-thinking skills as an aviator, and became accustomed to making precise and concise decisions where attention to detail is paramount,” he details.
His initial position with Fiserv was as a 2018 summer finance intern while still an undergraduate.
“I learned about Fiserv’s deep commitment to the veteran community, which included a program specifically for recruiting veterans. Knowing how veteran-friendly the organization was appealed to me,” he recalls.
As an intern, Bergquist was immediately assigned a mentor and received comprehensive training in all facets of the Fiserv organization. In 2019 Bergquist was hired into a full-time analyst position in Fiserv’s financial analyst program. He was assigned to application development finance, which supported the technology departments with financial planning and analysis.
Currently, Bergquist is a finance manager supporting Fiserv’s global business solutions organization. “My responsibilities include working with many of our financial institution partners to ensure we maintain a healthy financial status within each partnership so the goals of both organizations are being met,” he explains.
Because he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Panic Disorder, Bergquist says he’s received treatment from U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) hospitals, which has allowed him to thrive despite his diagnosis. Although his panic attacks come less frequently now, they can come at any time.
“Having my manager aware of my situation is beneficial if I need to step outside or need other special work considerations,” he points out, adding that his team is accommodating, as well.
At Fiserv, Bergquist continues, the company makes a concerted effort to promote from within. As a personal example, he shares how his managers have been supportive of his career growth from intern to manager, and how Fiserv provided relocation services when he moved to a new location upon promotion into his current position.
Fiserv makes eight employee resource groups (ERGs) available to associates, including the Disability Leadership Council (Thrive) and the Military Leadership Council (MLC). Bergquist has joined the latter organization, which includes veterans, military spouses, U.S. National Guard reservists, and those who want to support veterans and military families. Fiserv also has a military and veterans affairs (MVA) department which supports the military community.
The mission of the Thrive ERG is to provide employees with disabilities, caregivers, and allies the chance to connect, share information and resources, and participate in various professional development and community service activities and events. It also aims to advance Fiserv’s dialogue about accommodations and accessibility strategies for employee with disabilities.
Learn more about Fiserv careers at careers.fiserv.com. Connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Glassdoor and Facebook.
Sambo: T-Mobile Fosters an Inclusive Culture
Bri Sambo, who is a senior program manager, HR, for T-Mobile, a Bellevue, WA-based wireless telecom company, explains that the company has a “truly inclusive culture.”
To assure diversity and inclusion (D&I) in its hiring practices, its employee manager experience, called Insight Out, works to safeguard against forms of bias that may impact hiring decisions, according to Sambo.
Talent scouts and hiring managers are trained to look beyond the traditional resume, and identify unique characteristics and skills that reflect the T-Mobile spirit, such as being bold, thinking outside the box, and keeping customers first, she indicates.
Once hired, T-Mobile employees have many opportunities for advancement. “We have an incredibly high internal promotion rate because we encourage managers to have conversations that help employees get constructive feedback and guidance so employees are empowered to take ownership of their career path,” Sambo points out.
Once an employee is ready for the next step in his or her career, there are plenty of online resources, from development programs to a virtual career fest, that support employee development and help them discover their interests, strengths, and opportunities.
In addition, shares Sambo, “all employees nationwide can use our tuition support, and [this includes] nine universities where full-time T-Mobile employees can go to school and have their entire tuition paid for by T-Mobile.”
One of the company’s six D&I employee network groups, Access for Disability (ADN), whose motto is “Disable the Label,” provides employee support and leadership consultation, and fosters a culture of sharing stories that can remove stigmas and take some of the discomfort out of conversations around disabilities, including veterans wounded while serving their country.
T-Mobile further provides building accessibility that’s usable by all of its employees, and includes curb and sidewalk ramps, lever-handled door knobs, workspace lighting options, adjustable desks, auditable elevators, lifts, and sky bridges.
“Currently, our HQ campus is under construction, and there are some new universal design components like having more level walkways, ramps and other accessible technology and tools benefiting all employees,” she adds.
The company’s Disability Taskforce team consults on ways to create an even more disability-inclusive environment.
Sambo further indicates that T-Mobile recruiters have gone through a diversity recruiting training program to learn how to identify candidate accommodation needs and advocate on behalf of those candidates.
“Special accommodations are as unique as our diverse applicant pool, and our team continues to leverage new technology and emerging best practices as we explore accommodating all current and future T-Mobile applicants.”
T-Mobile’s Veterans and Allies Network (VAN), with more than 11,000 members, aims to increase awareness around veteran culture, and offers workplace support for the company’s veterans, according to Sambo. VAN is open to veterans, military families and interested civilians.
Find out more about T-Mobile and its careers at t-mobile.com/careers. Connect on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Gaal: Aerojet Rocketdyne Partners with Veteran Organizations
According to Ken Gaal, director of talent acquisition at Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR), America’s preeminent rocket propulsion company based in El Segundo, CA, the company hires engineers in multiple disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, systems, structural, and thermal.
“We also hire chemists and chemical engineers,” he further points out.
To assure diversity and inclusion (D&I) in its hiring practices, AR engages with organizations serving individuals with disabilities and veterans at both the community and national levels, as well as via its targeted universities.
“Additionally,” Gaal says, “we partner with recruiting firms who specialize in sourcing candidates who are transitioning from military service into the civilian workforce.”
AR looks for candidates with the skills and values acquired in the military, including accountability, adaptability, integrity, and teamwork. He adds that approximately 11% of AR’s workforce is comprised of veterans and active members of the military.
“As part of our affirmative action process, we monitor and report on the representation of diversity across our job groups,” he explains. “In 2019 every employee with people-management responsibility, up to and including our CEO, participated in a full-day workshop focused upon recognizing and embracing the value of diversity.”
In addition, the company fosters and provides funding for the activities of its employee resource groups (ERGs) to ensure they have a sense of community and are a strong voice for the diverse populations that comprise AR’s workforce.
There are a variety of career paths that students in an engineering discipline can follow at AR, according to Gaal. They might come on board as interns during the summer following their junior year, and be exposed to the technical work AR performs. Upon graduation, they would join the company as associate engineers, learn the business, and work on AR’s rocket propulsion systems. Their career paths might then progress through engineering positions with more responsibility, possibly into a program management role.
“As a program manager, the employee would have responsibility for ensuring the design of a component or total system are aligned to the customer’s needs and the design specification, and that the product is manufactured, tested, and delivered on time, with absolute quality, and at terms consistent with the contract,” Gaal explains.
Employees can move through the technical ranks to lead teams, departments, operating sites and even entire business units.
“Generally, positions in management require significant experience - typically nine years or more,” Gaal points out.
“Usually, a degree in a technical discipline will meet the basic requirements associated with a management position, but additional and/or advanced degrees certainly don’t hurt and may equip an employee to make an even greater contribution to AR.”
He adds that AR’s tuition assistance program will provide reimbursement for education expenses of up to $10,000 per year.
AR is committed to ensuring its employees have the tools needed to perform their jobs and have put a multitude of accommodations in place, including accessibility software, sit/stand desks, ergonomic workstations, and revised work schedules, according to Gaal.
The work environment is barrier-free and the company actively works to ensure the availability of tools and resources to support the full contribution of every team member, too, he says.
“For interviewees, we’ve supported the use of ASL interpreters and video interviewing using our HireVue platform, among other things.”
He recommends that job applicants, including veterans, who need an accommodation to go online to AR’s career page and job search pages to advise AR about their needs.
Employee resource groups (ERGs) at Aerojet Rocketdyne include the Black Employees Association (BEA), Veterans, Serving our Multicultural Organization Successfully (SOMOS), AR Women in Network (ARWIN), and LAUNCH, a broad mentoring and networking group.
Learn more about Aerojet Rocketdyne careers at rocket.com/careers. Connect on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.
Millan Underscores the Diverse & Inclusive Culture at JPMorgan Chase
From its New York, NY headquarters, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a global leader in financial services.
As Nina R. Millan, MBA, a specialty recruiter who leads the company’s efforts in disability hiring, explains, “We’re an inclusive firm and strive to be a diverse culture.”
Diversity includes both veterans and non-veterans with disabilities at JPMorgan Chase, she further notes.
Candidates and employees who need accommodations for their disabilities can get it. “Firm-wide, we do accommodate,” she elaborates. “Disclosing first through the application process will aid in the interview process. Once at the firm, we do provide support based on the accommodation need.”
STEM-related positions at JPMorgan Chase include accounting, data science, quantitative analysis, data architecture, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.
“We have a passion for career mobility and development,” Millan states, adding, “Promotion is measured on performance metrics.”
Technical employees can move into management positions. “Most of our management promotions come from within. JPMorgan Chase offers tuition reimbursement assistance for certain fields of study and encourages development through academic learning,”she indicates
JPMorgan Chase offers multiple business resource groups (BRGs) in which its employees can participate. One is specific to disabilities and another specific is to veterans. Millan adds that these BRGs are open to all employees.
Go to careers.jpmorgan.com for more information about JPMorgan careers. Connect on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Best STEM Careers
If you’re considering a career in STEM in 2020, then you might be enticed by their low unemployment rates and increased demand. STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, doesn’t necessarily only involve working in a laboratory or having a fancy degree.
Many of STEM careers are very diverse, including jobs like psychologist, software developer, civil engineer and statistician. STEM jobs are often referred to as the jobs of the future, so as this sector continues to grow, take a look at what the STEM industry really looks like.
And check out this list of the best STEM careers:
Medical & Health Services Manager
Source: U.S. News & World Report
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