By Jake Hughes
It can sometimes be hard for veterans to find work – challenged by unique obstacles like translating military experience into marketable skills and adjusting to civilian life – even before dealing with an uncertain job market. One U. S. company – Amazon – is stepping up to help – specifically looking to hire vets – especially those critically wounded, injured, or ill.
Tim Bomke served as an Army armor officer from 2002 to 2008. He was wounded by an explosion that left him unable to continue in the military. Having planned for a 20-year military career, he faced challenges that a lot of vets face when getting out.
“It was challenging,” he says. “We didn’t have near the transition support that we do now. I had to rely on my network and advocates that helped me get connected.”
After two years of working for the Department of Defense developing transition support programs, he and a friend decided to take their ideas into the corporate world.
They found a home at Amazon, the world’s leading online shopping network. Amazon has a history of trying to hire veterans and military members. In 2016, they made a “Joining Forces” pledge to hire 25,000 veterans and spouses. As of 2017, they have employed more than 10,000. Tim says Vets and Amazon work well together because their values and ethics often times match up.
“Our culture is one of innovation and building,” says Bombke, “and that really matches up well with the veteran skill set. When we roll out on a mission, and all of a sudden things change, you have to be able to think fast, think big, and be able to figure out how to build something quickly that can accomplish the mission.” With this in mind, he and Amazon have created several initiatives designed to entice veterans to join.
For example, the Amazon Military Leaders program is for innovative, talented and experienced leaders seeking to become highly influential senior leaders and executives in critical business areas in locations all over the world. They also have a program called ADAPT, which focuses on overcoming skill gaps due to medical-focused retirements through advocacy, training, fellowships, and reasonable accommodation.
Amazon even has a program aimed at military and veteran spouses. Sympathetic to the plight of spouses, such as constant moving and changing or quitting jobs, they have designed ways for spouses and critically wounded, injured, or ill service members to work from home. Jobs like customer service, even all the way up to managerial roles, can be performed virtually, and the company is creating more jobs that can be done outside of the office environment.
Tim is very happy at Amazon. “It’s a cool company, and in terms of how we’re growing and innovating, it’s an exciting time to work for this company.” However, the more fulfilling role in his eyes is simply giving disabled veterans a purpose. “It feels personal for me, because I was there. I didn’t want to be put out to pasture, I wanted to feel like I was adding value. The key is to find purpose, and being engaged.”
Listen to the full discussion below:
For more information about Amazon’s veteran hiring initiatives, please click here.