Soldiers think differently. We’re five steps ahead. We know 100 percent of every plan fails. And we know how to prepare for every variability. This mindset, which comes from serious training and experience, can be an incredible asset (particularly in the channel). It can also be tough to translate into a civilian career.


In the Channel Partners Studio with TrainOurTroops  

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Glen Brynteson, founder of TrainOurTroops, at the Channel Partners Expo, where I was invited into the Channel Partners Studio to talk about opportunities for U.S. Military Veterans in the technology space and channel.

One of the important points Glen stressed during our conversation is that people who go the traditional college route after high school typically graduate with a clear focus and plan of action to secure a job in a particular field, like sales, marketing, communications, engineering, etc.

Yet, women and men who enlist in the military often, regardless of the intense levels of training and experience they gain, leave the service only to be lost in a crowded and competitive civilian marketplace. They may have been a highly skilled mechanic or intelligence analyst or training leader in the service. But connecting with employers who need their skills and successfully transitioning to civilian employment is a real challenge. Many vets take positions far below their skill and pay level just to take a job. And far too many of our veterans are lost after they serve.


A Difficult Reality

Unemployment is the reality of nearly half a million of our Gulf War-era II U.S. veterans, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies as those who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 to now.  This often leads to frustration, depression and, at an alarming rate, suicide for our soldiers. It crushes me to see that veteran suicide rates in the U.S. have increased by 25.9 percent in the last decade alone.

Thankfully, dedicated organizations like TrainOurTroops and its strategic partners are jumping in to help. TrainOurTroops provides U.S. veterans, and their spouses, with advanced online training and certification solutions to give them a competitive advantage in the civilian marketplace to ignite their careers. Their courses are absolutely free to vets and their spouses — and they do a whole lot more than training. Sure, there is fun stuff in the mix like major concerts and fundraising events. But I’m talking apprenticeships with the US. Department of Labor, getting vets into the largest tradeshows in the country, and in front of the very best employers, to capture those higher-paying civilian positions and careers.


The Stats Are Tough – But There’s Hope in Action

The latest report from the USBLS notes unemployment rates among vets are now edging down, in part due to organizations like TrainOurTroops and commitments from their partners, which include industry leaders like Amazon, eBay, Ferrari, Juniper Networks and MGM Resort, among many others, along with Wells Fargo, who has pledged to add 20K vets to their workforce by 2020.

At the heart of it, Glen and TrainOurTroops are enabling and ramping up vets to do more, connecting them with the tools and resources they need, and streamlining their path to success. (Much like what Zift does for channel organizations and their partners.)


For My Brothers and Sisters in Arms

This Veterans Day, it’s important to take time to remember and thank those who have served. It means a great deal. How do I know? I’m not just a loud-mouth channel sales strategist — I am also a proud veteran who served in the Active U.S. Army and National Guard. I know I’m not the only vet who’s found solid footing in the channel sales and marketing arena.

Raise your hand in the comments section below if you are a fellow Brother or Sister in Arms working in the channel, so we can thank you for your service. And consider picking up a hat, T or mug from the TrainOurTroops Patriotic Collection for yourself or someone else. I dig their stuff as it’s just patriotic, not political, and all of the sales go directly to creating more online courses for vets and their spouses. Check out their T’s, hats, mugs and more here: