Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) works every day to research and address the issues facing the veteran and military communities. Recently they released their 2019 list of the top five trends in those communities.
We spoke to IVMF's Director of Applied Research of Analytics Rosalinda Maury to get the details.
1. Job Portability
While veteran unemployment is at the lowest levels seen in decades, the top spot on the list is still job-related. Job portability, Maury explains, is not about finding a career but keeping your career when moving to a new location. She says this particular item is of extreme importance to military spouses.
"Military spouses are more likely to move right? you may be in one location but you might have to PCS, or move, to another location. And you might have to move outside of the country. So employers are really challenged with how do you retain these employees. They've spent a lot of money training, they've invested on this particular employee. And they want to be able to ultimately be able to maintain, and retain that person."
2. STEM growth
Maury says that 34 percent of all jobs now require some level of STEM expertise, but companies are finding there are simply not enough qualified applicants. This is leading companies to look to the veteran community, due to STEM skills obtained by working in a large number of military occupations.
"Veterans are 1.47 times more likely to be in STEM occupations compared to non-veterans and those percentages are growing year after year," Maury says. "The predominant drivers are really the IT information technology computer science clusters at 43% (of vets working in STEM) and engineering at 38%."
IVMF's research over the years has shown vets are more likely to own a business than non-veterans and more likely to succeed in business ownership as well. As far as why that is, Maury says it appears that the structure and leadership skills picked up during a military career is the primary factor. She points out that the research into entrepreneurship is solely focused on veterans, but IVMF is working to delve even deeper.
"Some of this data is limited just to veterans and doesn't capture other military-connected populations like military spouses. So with the support of the Kaufman Foundation, we're launching a multi-year study of veteran and military spouse," Maury says. "We want to be able to address these knowledge gaps and understanding veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and the support and resources needed to assist throughout their entrepreneur journey."
4. Veteran well-being
The health of veterans, both physical and mental, is crucial to increasing their quality of life, which is often a determining factor in post-military success. IVMF says there's a clear trend in the Veteran Service Organization world to demonstrate results of what is, and isn't, working when it comes to improving quality of life.
"The research efforts are now aimed at understanding this and creating tools to help other VSOs, for example, to measure this." Maury says. "I know Team RWB developed an 'enriched lifescale' that really kind of captures the holistic approach to that. And certainly, many organizations are asking other 3rd party evaluators how to evaluate the true impacts of their programs."
5. Student Veterans
The trend within the community of vets pursuing their education is centered on the narrative around them. IVMF has found that, despite the success of student vets, there remains a perception that they aren't cut out for college.
"Even in academic settings some people still believe veterans went into the service because they couldn't get into college. If you just look at (their) education attainment, you know that's not true," Maury says. "So there's really this push to change the narrative, really talking about student veterans being a valuable asset whose contributions make a lasting impact on higher-education institutions while on campus, and well after they graduate."
You can hear the full interview with IVMF's Rosalinda Maury below.