Great opportunity for Veterans in New England!

Last Chance to Register!
Veteran Career Workshop
Sept. 23, 2015
North Haven, CT


If you are anywhere near North Haven CT, or if you know someone who would benefit from this opportunity, don’t wait to sign up and share!

The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVPVets), along with our friends at Medtronic, will be conducting a ReCareering event for transitioning military and veterans in CT on Sept. 23.


Military personnel in transition from the service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to learn more about medical device and healthcare careers, participating in a free one-day seminar that brings veterans together with mentors from the medical technology industry.

During the event, veterans will participate in interactive sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and mock interviews, social media and branding, networking, and more.

Wednesday, Sept. 23rd
8am to 4pm
Medtronic (formerly Covidien)
60 Middletown Avenue
North Haven, CT 06473
@Conference Room 1

This event is sponsored by Medtronic (formerly Covidien)
Fees: Free! There is no cost for participating veterans; however pre-registration is required.

Registration: Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating must REGISTER HERE.
Note that, if you are invited to participate in this special event, you may receive follow-up instructions by email.

Questions: For more information, visit or email


Share this event with your friends and colleagues:

If you’re not already conencted with us on LinkedIn and Facebook, click the links at the bottom of this article.

More about MVPVets ReCareering Events:
You served our country and are looking for something more than selling skateboards or cigarrettes. If giving to your community in a meaningful manner is a big part of your thinking, but at the same time, to do so in a career that pays well and provides a great work culture, then this workshop is for you!

Did you know that the global medical device, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and life sciences’ industry has been generating total revenues in excess of $1 trillion since 2011? Simply put, Life Sciences – and medical device in particular – is one of the fastest growing business sectors in the world. The need for top talent is at the forefront of every company’s growth strategy.

This full-day interactive workshop creates a story of how working in a medical device company can be a great career opportunity, as well as help you brush-up on those skills needed to make a successful transition from military service into the civilian workplace.

Key topics are addressed such as:
Introduction to Medical Devices and an Overview of the BioTech Industry
Hear from Management – What medical devices they make and the types of jobs that go into making them.
The Top Skills Employers Seek
Learn how, as a veteran, you bring these PLUS so much more to a work setting
Update Your Personal Brand & Marketing Plan
Revamp Your Resume
If You Want to Get Recruited, Use LinkedIn
Top Tips and Techniques for Interviewing to Land the Job

Thanks again for all your support and don’t hesitate to contact us anytime with questions or feedback. If you know someone who may be interested in participating in MVPVets (as a transitioning veteran, career mentor, or corporate sponsor / hiring partner), please send them to or have them contact our support team at

DonateMVPvets is a Non-Profit organization. Consider making a donation to support transitioning veterans today.

Juliana Mercer
Managing Director
MedTech & BioTech Veterans Program – MVPvets
3246 Grey Hawk Court
Carlsbad, CA 92010
Email –
Phone – 760.444.9465

From US News and World Report: For Veterans to Prosper in STEM Workforce, Employers Need to Help with Post Military Transition

Reposted from US News and World Report (link follow story)

For Veterans to Prosper in STEM Workforce, Employers Need to Help With Post-Military Transition

There are programs helping to prepare today’s veterans for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Mike Grice, a member of the board of directors for Medtech and Biotech Veterans Program, has heard his fair share of people say, "We don't hire veterans because they're a liability."

Mike Grice, a member of the board of directors for Medtech and Biotech Veterans Program, has heard his fair share of people say, “We don’t hire veterans because they’re a liability.”

By June 30, 2015 | 12:14 p.m. EDT+ More


After serving for Uncle Sam, veterans often have skills that would make them ideal employees in a range of industries, but four words can keep them in the unemployment line: post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mike Grice, a member of the board of directors for Medtech and Biotech Veterans Program, has heard his fair share of people say, “We don’t hire veterans because they’re a liability.” People think they’ll go “postal” because of PTSD, says Grice, who served for 27 years in the United States Marine Corps.

But PTSD isn’t something that just affects veterans, he said, during a panel discussion at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference on June 29 in San Diego. Anyone who’s been in a car crash and then has trouble sleeping also carries this label.

Talking one on one with retired military professionals can help to dispel the fear that all veterans suffer from PTSD and show “we’re not all crazy,” he says.

Grice was joined by Matt Brogdon, the base engagement and public relations manager for the military division at Microsoft; and Beth McCormick, the recruitment and diversity manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Patricia Reily, the veterans services director at California State University—San Marco, moderated the panel, which discussed why veterans are strong employees and how more employers can successfully put them to work at jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math.

[READ: U.S. News Releases Best Online Programs for Veterans Rankings]

Veterans are an elite group that must show a certain level of intelligence just to get into the military.

“Only three out of 10 young people can even qualify for the military today,” Reily says.

Those that make it in may develop some of the same skills that any CEO would have.

“Everything that you do in your organization happens in the military, too,” Grice says. The armed services also has people who can lead and innovate, he says.

“It’s just a variation on a theme.”

Veterans sometimes need a little more training to land a STEM job and employers like McCormick’s are willing to give them just that.

[MORE: Is Enough Being Done to Prepare Veterans for Civilian Jobs?]

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently helped to develop a two-year degree program that gives veterans technical training in engineering.

Two-year programs can be a financial blessing for veterans who advance their education with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides up to 36 months of education benefits for approved programs.

Matt Brogdon of Microsoft and Beth McCormick of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory spoke about military veterans and STEM jobs.

Matt Brogdon of Microsoft and Beth McCormick of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory spoke about military veterans and STEM jobs.

Companies should consider paid internships for veterans to help get them through school, Reily says. It often takes longer than 36 months to complete a STEM degree, she says.

Veterans are often used to working in high-stress environments that require them to quickly come up with solutions for problems, and work in jobs that require technical training, panelists said.

But military life can be very different from civilian life, and to help veterans successfully transfer out of the service, employers should consider surrounding them with like-minded individuals who can help them adjust, Brogdon says.

“They have to be in with other people” who are like them, McCormick says. This doesn’t mean partnering a veteran with just any other veteran, but pairing people who served during the same era, she says.

[ALSO: Fire and Forget: The Biggest Problem Veterans Still Face]

A great onboarding strategy is to create a peer network for vets within a company so that they have people they can relate to and speak to with ease about life at work, Brogdon says.

Helping them transition is an important part of tapping into a workforce that may be underutilized. Getting out of the military, which offers a set career trajectory, is likely an afterthought for many.

“Nobody joined the military to get out,” Grice says.

A great opportunity for veterans in the Minneapolis area

MVPVets will be partnering with St. Jude Medical, Lake Region Medical, and Boston Scientific to conduct the first recareering event in the Twin Cities area.  Here is more information:

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP Vets) will lead its first Twin Cities-based re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans.

Military personnel in transition from the service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to learn more about medical device and health care careers, participating in a free one-day seminar that brings veterans together with mentors from the medical technology industry.

During the event, veterans will participate in interactive sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and mock interviews, social media and branding, and networking.


  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015
  • 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (registration begins at 8:30)
  • St. Jude Medical World Corporate Headquarters
    One St. Jude Medical (Rice Street & County Road B2 in Little Canada)
    St. Paul, MN

Fees:  Free! There is no cost for participating veterans; however pre-registration is required (includes all materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking)

Registration:  Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating should register at the MVPvets website (  Space is limited to 20 participants and is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Questions:  For more information, visit

MVP Vets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences by 2018.  MVP brings training and mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning in a concerted effort to help veterans re-career into meaningful careers in the MedTech and BioTech industries.

Opinion piece on women in the infantry: If the enemy doesn’t care, why do we?

Here is the complete text of an opinion piece I wrote concerning the integration of women into the infantry.  An abridged version is published on the Task and Purpose website.  I usually keep this blog restricted to veteran and military transition issues, but every once in a while I decide to post other articles I have written.

Anyhow, here it is:

If the enemy doesn’t care, why do we?

By Mike Grice


                The Marine Corps is at the center of the latest military related social experiment that seeks to answer the question:  Can women serve in the infantry?  As a combat veteran of two wars I would like to add my two cents to the argument because I believe that we, the Marine Corps, are actually asking the wrong question: instead of asking what gender is required to serve in the infantry we should be looking at the ability of an individual to lead Marines and accomplish whatever mission that an infantry Marine may be assigned.  The question should focus on whether or not a Marine can serve in the infantry based on that Marine’s ability to meet or exceed the standards required to do the job – period.

During my 27 year career as a Marine I served as an enlisted nonrate, NCO, and Staff NCO in an artillery battery before earning my commission and serving as an artillery officer on active duty for another twenty-odd years.  During that time I had the unusual opportunity to serve with women in garrison and in combat units in peacetime and in active combat during two wars.  My experience was not limited to the Marine Corps, but as a member of 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company I had the good fortune to serve with the United States Army, the British Army, and over a dozen other Joint, Allied, and Coalition partners – many of which had women in roles that are restricted to men in the US Armed Forces.

And they performed those roles in combat.

I’ll get to the combat part in a minute, but first let’s go back to peacetime and the United States Marine Corps Reserve in the 1980’s.

I enlisted into the Marine Corps Reserve in 1984, and a reservist, I served in Battery P, 5th Battalion, 14th Marines.  I reported in to the unit as a newly minted PFC, and the first person I met was an active duty female sergeant who was serving as the I&I admin chief.  Being young and inexperienced (and petrified of NCOs), I didn’t think anything about it.  What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that the only reason she was permitted to serve in an artillery battery was because she was on the I&I staff; she could not serve in the actual battery.  That privilege was reserved only for men.

Or was it?

As we went to the field for my first drill weekend I saw several female Marines in the battery area.  Again, I didn’t think anything about it because I was just a boot nonrate whose sole goal in life was to compute firing data in the Fire Direction Center (FDC) and not to annoy anyone above the rank of PFC.  As we fired throughout the day I observed a woman driving an ammunition truck as it trundled behind the gunline dropping off projectiles, fuzes, propellant canisters, and primers to the gun sections.  After a full day of shooting, moving, and communicating, we lightproofed our section areas and transitioned to night operations.  The FDC, gunline, and XO pit maintained a minimal crew throughout the night in order to maintain a firing capability, and as the boot Fire Controlman I scored the midwatch.  Lucky me.

My duties consisted of staying awake, monitoring the radios (PRC-77’s and AN/GRA 39’s), and wearing a voice powered H-200 headset (the “hooks”) that linked the FDC, XO Pit, and Gunline over WD-1 communications wire.  In order to stay alert those of us lucky enough to be awake while the rest of the battery slept would BS with each other over the hooks.  Interestingly, one of the voices on the voice loop was female – and not the same female who was driving the ammo truck earlier in the day.  She was just another Marine taking her turn on the hooks just like the rest of us on the voice loop.

The female was a sergeant whose MOS was administration.  Like the woman that I saw driving the ammunition truck earlier, she was in an artillery battery but was not technically part of the unit; instead they were both actually assigned to the battalion headquarters, which was located in California while my unit was in Colorado.  They were “site-line distributed” to our unit – in order to fill line numbers on the headquarters T/O members of the battalion staff sections were often located with the firing batteries, where they drilled every month and then reported for duty at the battalion level during our annual training in the summer.  They weren’t the only ones, either.  We had a smattering of male Marines across the battery that were also technically part of the battalion but drilled with the battery.

In retrospect, the fact that women were actively training and serving in an artillery battery – a combat unit – was remarkable.  What was more remarkable was that nobody cared that they were women.  We only cared that they were Marines capable of doing what they were supposed to do.  In the reserve establishment, the lines between MOSs becomes blurred; truck drivers man howitzers, communicators drive trucks, and radar operators man firing charts.  The metric of respect was not only based on rank and position, but also on a Marine’s ability to get things done.  These two women, both NCOs, demonstrated daily that there was nothing they were unwilling to do, and they were equally respected with male Marines for it.  In fact, their gender was irrelevant.  Nobody cared that they were women; all we cared about was shooting, moving, and communicating.  The sex of the drivers and the Marines on the hooks was inconsequential in terms of mission accomplishment.

Even more telling was that there was never an instance of the perceived impropriety that paralyzes the Department of Defense today.  These women dished it out and took it like every other Marine.   They took the initiative to pitch in wherever and whenever they could, and in doing so met and exceeded the standards expected of any Marine in the battery.  In nearly eight years with the unit, I never once saw a female Marine treated differently than the men, and in fact saw that these women were part of the team.  Our team.  There was no divisive line between the sexes.  We were all Marines.

Fast forward a decade to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  I was a captain serving as a Gunnery Instructor in the Army Field Artillery School, and for the first time in over a decade a female lieutenant had been assigned the 13A (Field Artillery Officer) MOS in the army.  Second Lieutenant Shannon had received her commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps, and upon graduation from the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course and although she would be assigned to the Field Artillery School’s artillery training brigade instead of going to the operating forces she was expected to master the craft of artillery like every other officer – and she was one of my students.

On the first day of the course I pulled her aside and we had a conversation.  I told her that she was in a unique position and that the only thing that mattered to me (and the school) was whether or not she could pass the course.  She would receive no special treatment because of her gender.  I also told her that as an officer in the United States Army she could expect to be treated the same as every other lieutenant, and as her instructor I was very keen to know if she was treated differently or disrespectfully by other lieutenants, instructors, or enlisted personnel.  I offered her a truly open door to come to me should she ever encounter bias or prejudice during the five month course.

I greatly respected her dedication to the army and to learning how to become a competent artillery officer.  Although I checked in with her periodically throughout the course, she never once indicated that she had any problems.  I also monitored the other students, instructors, and staff to see if there were any issues. Other than curiosity, there were none.  Five months later, she met every standard expected of an artillery officer and graduated.  On graduation day she headed off to the training brigade and reported for duty.  Interestingly, the army didn’t fall apart.  It was a non-issue.[1]

Fast forward another decade to a completely different setting: Ar Ramadi, Iraq.  I commanded a Brigade Platoon of ANGLICO Marines and Sailors that was assigned to the Army National Guard brigade responsible for Area of Operations Topeka: a chunk of hotly contested battlespace the height of the insurgency.  The brigade, with representative subordinate units from thirty different states, was similar in many regards to the reserve artillery battery in which I had served some twenty years prior; ability and talent were as important as rank and position when it came to earning respect.  Gender didn’t much matter.

That tour (and the one that immediately followed as the platoon and I redeployed back to Ramadi) was extremely kinetic.  The brigade was in active combat every single day of the deployment, and as we collectively learned how to perform counterinsurgent operations the official barriers that kept women from combat roles were often cast aside.  Women manned machine gun turrets in tactical vehicles and somehow managed to sling a lot of lead accurately at insurgents who were intent on plugging their HMMWVs and 5-tons with an RPG.  They drove HETTs down route Michigan and rode the lightning when their vehicles struck IEDs.  They dismounted like every other soldier and engaged the enemy to secure their disabled vehicles, some being grievously wounded in the process.

Women also shouldered a pack and carried a rifle during combat operations.  Although their roles were not technically “combat” roles (being Military Working Dog handlers, Female Engagement Team members, Civil Affairs Group Marines and Soldiers, and a variety of other roles) they joined their male brethren as they left the relative safety of the FOB for combat missions.  They earned Combat Action Ribbons and Combat Action Badges for fighting beside their male counterparts, and indeed some were decorated for valor for their performance in the fight.

The gear they carried was no different from anyone else.  Flak jacket, SAPI plates, helmet, rifle, magazines, grenades, radios, water, food, and the myriad other bits and pieces of a combat ensemble that were not inflated with helium nor made of a special lighter material for women.  They either carried a combat load or they didn’t leave the wire.  I saw males and females go down with heat injuries while other men and women sucked it up and continued the mission.  In active combat the ability to fight is what matters – not gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other societal segregator.  Either you bring it or you don’t.  And I served with women who brought it.

Fast forward yet again, this time another five years to Afghanistan.  As the CO of 1st ANGLICO I served with joint, allied, and coalition forces – including no small number of women.  During Operation MOSHTAREK American Lionesses, CAG Marines and other enablers who crossed the line of departure and stepped into the fight along with female British Army Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) who called for fire and integrated aviation fires cheek by jowl with their male counterparts.  I the will never forget a young US Marine Corporal who was geared up and headed for the fight – even though she was barely over 5 feet in height and the muzzle of her rifle was an inch off the ground when slung, she shouldered her pack and went to the sound of the guns.

The point of this article is best articulated by Brigadier General George Smith, who so eloquently stated during a recent 60 Minutes interview that “We could make the bars lower….but that’s really not the issue. The issue is the realities of combat aren’t going to change based on gender. The enemy doesn’t care whether you’re a male or female.”

If the enemy doesn’t care, we shouldn’t either.  A Marine can either make it over the bar or not; passing the rigors and meeting the standards of IOC (or any other part of the military profession) should be based solely on the individual’s capabilities.  In a firefight the gender of a person carrying a rifle, firing a machine gun, or issuing orders over the radio is utterly irrelevant if that person can physically, mentally, and emotionally accomplish the mission.  Having been in my fair share of gunfights I can say without reservation that I could care less who was behind the weapon that engaged the enemy alongside me; anybody who says that they would look disdainfully or mistrustfully at a qualified and competent warrior on their left or right simply because of their gender (or race, or sexual orientation) when the bullets start flying is either ignorant, lying, or has never had to face the muzzle end of an angry AK.

The question is not whether or not women should be in the infantry; the question is whether a Marine can fight and lead other Marines in the infantry.  Race no longer matters thanks to the integration of races by President Truman in 1948, but before he signed the order to integrate the military there were those who adamantly believed that racial equality would destroy it.  Sex no longer matters to attend service academies, fly attack aircraft, or serve in active combat despite those who actively and vociferously opposed such changes.  The question of whether or not a Black Marine can fight and lead in combat was answered over a half century ago, and the unprecedented levels of participation of women in active combat operations during the counterinsurgent wars of the 21st Century has offered real and tangible evidence that females can do the same.

The question is not whether or not whether they can physically, mentally, and emotionally handle the job.  The real question is whether the nation and the Department of Defense has the moral courage to allow the daughters of America to join their sons in the complete spectrum of combat roles.  Societally, equality of races and the sexes is an unquestioned pillar of our democracy.  Young men and women are leading integrated lives based on equality before they join the service and after they get out, yet when they enlist or receive a commission in the United States Armed Forces they join a profession that is inherently separate and unequal based on gender.  The Supreme Court struck down the concept of “separate but equal” when they ruled against it in the landmark Brown v. the Board of Education in Topeka in 1954, and over the following six decades the civil and women’s rights movements have toppled the vestiges of prejudice and created a truly egalitarian nation.  Except for in the Department of Defense, where separate but (kind of) equal doesn’t just exist, it has become a hotly contested issue with proponents arguing for perpetuation of the concept irrespective of the evidence borne of over a decade at war.

The military is not the only organization that has wrestled with gender integration.  A quarter of a century ago the first responder community of firefighters and law enforcement faced the identical challenge: could women meet the physical requirements and standards necessary to fight fires and live in close quarters with men in the fire station?  Could they enforce the law with the same veracity as men?  Many of the same arguments against gender integration were raised in the 1980s and 1990s as are heard today: men and women cannot coexist in the close quarters of the firehouse or police barracks, women cannot meet the physical requirements, gender integration would destroy the culture, etc.  In 2015 those questions have been answered, and women are actively serving as firefighters and police professionals.

But are they as effective as men?  Eric R. Watters writes a compelling perspective on the issue in the American Society for Public Administration’s PA Times:

Perhaps the question most central to the integration of female service members into previously barred military occupations is whether women possess both the physical stamina and emotional fortitude required to endure highly stressful combat engagements. The law enforcement community has struggled with this question; yet, female police officers have time and again proven they are capable of dealing with the stressors associated with situations similar to those found in combat. An apropos example is the actions of police sergeant Kimberly Munley who responded to the mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in 2009. In what can only be considered to be amongst the most extreme of law enforcement situations, an active shooter event, she unhesitatingly responded to the scene of the shooting and engaged the shooter, despite being twice wounded by him, in an attempt to stop his murderous rampage. This is but one of countless examples in which female police officers have demonstrated their ability to perform both heroically and effectively in combat situations.”

For the Department of Defense, those who will actually answer that question are the ones furthest removed from the actual issue.  Young men and women have proven that they can coexist and fight side by side in garrison, training, and in combat.  Senior (meaning old) political and military leaders decide and enact policy, and they are the ones who wring their hands at the perceived disaster that women in the infantry present.  They fear that the cultural bastion of manhood that is the infantry is at stake, that little boy grunts and little girl grunts will go do what men and women have done since the dawn of humanity, and that somehow the institution of the military is at stake.

There are and will be women in the Marine Corps who are certainly capable in all aspects to meet the standards necessary to lead infantry Marines into combat.  Although one has not yet passed IOC, someday one will.  And then two.  And then more.  Enlisted women will invariably pass infantry training at the School of Infantry.  To categorically deny the opportunity to be a combat leader based on the perception that females are not capable flies in the face of both experience and reality.  The bar has been set, and women will get over it. Either a Marine can meet the standards to be in the infantry, or artillery, or other combat arm or they can’t.  Every Marine should be able to take a shot at getting over the bar because every Marine that they will lead deserves the best possible leader, and denying the opportunity to quality officers based on gender artificially shrinks the leadership pool.

Senior leaders in government and in uniform are nearly paralyzed by the fear that sexual assault will explode should the sexes mix across the board and that sexual misconduct will destroy the good order and discipline necessary for a successful military organization.  In my personal experience women and men who actively serve together in the same unit, who share the same arduous training and face the same enemy in combat have moved past the sophomoric panty raids conducted by college fraternities.  The young men and women I served with became a cohesive team that was protective of each member regardless of gender, race, or any other segregator.  Men and women have served together in the most austere and dangerous of circumstances in both Iraq and Afghanistan for weeks and months at a time.  It can, and has, been done.

Will men and women become romantically and sexually engaged?  Guess what – they already are.  We have a robust set of rules and regulations that clearly articulate the expectations and ramifications of improper relationships; the institution just needs to ruthlessly enforce the UCMJ in order to cull bad actors from the ranks.  Men and women are men and women with all that biology entails, and it is certainly not limited to first termers and company grade officers.  Senior commanders and flag officers from across the Department of Defense have been relieved for improper relationships while deployed to combat theaters and at home stations.  To think that biology can somehow be mitigated by MOS is utterly naïve.

Likewise, the fear of sexuality in the same combat unit has been rendered moot with the fall of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.  Gay men can and do serve in the infantry, and the lifting of the ban on sexual orientation as a defining attribute far from the existential threat that many had predicted; it was in fact a non-event across the American military.  Why is it that the possibility of creating an environment where heterosexual relationships is anathema when homosexual relationships are allowed?  It is time to remove sexuality from the equation and to focus on the ability of every individual who makes up the organization to excel.

The institution that is the military has survived and thrived because Americans off all races and sexual orientations have the same opportunity to succeed as anybody else.  That rising tide has lifted all boats, and we have the best military on the planet to show for it.  To think that somehow women in the infantry will destroy the institution or shake the culture of the Marine Corps or other services is narrow minded and shallow.  Ask yourself this question: “Do I care if a grunt is Black, Asian, Hispanic, or white?”  If your answer is no, then why would your answer change if a Marine can meet every requirement, hurdle every bar, and be a professional warrior just because that grunt is a woman?

Again, Brigadier General Smith said it best: “The enemy doesn’t care whether you’re a male or female.”  If a female can pass the test required to be in the infantry, then why shouldn’t she then be required to take charge of a platoon, or a company, or a battalion, and get them ready to fight?  It is time to grow up and accept that self imposed barriers based on sex are parochial and antiquated.  It is time to stop collectively wringing our hands and conducting social experiments and instead it is time to act.  It is time to establish and reinforce the standards expected of all Marines in all MOSs and relentlessly enforce them: the Marine Corps should steal the march and just do it.  We stopped calling the distaff side of the Marine Corps Women Marines (WMs) decades ago, and it is time to start treating every Marine as a Marine, to revel in their successes and to hold them accountable for their actions.  It’s time to move on because the enemy truly does not care, and we have more important places to dedicate resources and Marines than conducting social experiments.  It’s time for every Marine to shoulder a pack, pick up a rifle, and take the fight to the enemy.  After all, that’s what Marines do.


[1] Women had served in the army field artillery branch previously as members of tactical missile units, and in fact one of the battalion commanders in the training brigade was one of the very few females still on active duty from when those units still existed.  The lieutenant was the first female to be commissioned as an artillery officer in over a decade.

A few thoughts on how the military Transition Assistance Program could be improved

I was recently asked how the military Transition Assistance Program could be improved.  Having spent literally years working in the military transition and veteran space I have made several observations about the various TAP seminars, which are a few days long and occur just before the servicemember goes on terminal leave.  Anyhow, these are some of my impressions about TAP:
1. It is unrealistic to unpack a servicemember’s experience in terms of future employment in three or four days. One of the most difficult part of transition is figuring out what to do next, and it takes time for a person in uniform to really dissemble their skills, talents, and experiences in such a manner that they determine what they want to do after getting out. In my experience, transition courses focus on the technical aspects of transition without addressing the bigger issues. Teaching a servicemember how to write a cover letter and a resume, about elevator speeches, and about interviewing techniques are all incredibly valuable. However, what’s missing is helping the servicemember be able to effectively translate their skills and experiences in such a manner that they are a compelling candidate for a company to hire. The bigger issue in transition is “What value do I present to a company such that they will write me a check to work there?” The fact that a veteran served is not enough, and I would say that if a company hires a veteran just because he or she is a veteran then that vet is not set up for success. Companies hire people who fill a specific job in the company, and those specific jobs require specific skills. Being a veteran is not a skill. It is a tremendous experience, but it is not a skill.
2. I think the narrative is often misguided. Very few transition courses depict the civilian sector the way it really is, and instead teach techniques to pursue employment that are decades out of date. Becoming employable means building yourself as a brand which presents value to the employer – that is the way to find meaningful employment. Presenting yourself as “needing a chance” to show yourself is not compelling to an employer when there are dozens of other candidates with the skills required to get the job. The narrative that somehow the American public owes a veteran a job is damaging and frankly utterly incorrect. Americans paid their taxes and every recent veteran volunteered – Americans will buy you a drink and thank you for your service, but that is a completely different conversation from offering you a job. You, the veteran, must do your part to make yourself as competitive as a civilian who has never served, which means you must retrain if necessary, present your skills in such a manner that they match the needs of a company, and present yourself as a cultural fit for the organization.
3. Transition courses are too little, too late. They are positioned (logically) at the end of the term of service, but unfortunately many of the lessons presented are not really appreciated until the person has hung up their uniform for good. In most cases the transition courses are rushed as the EAS/ETS rapidly approaches, and the veteran does not have a chance to take advantage of the training and mentorship opportunities available. My recommendation would be to conduct transition training in two phases; first, at the six month from EAS mark there should be an initial seminar to help the serviceman or woman learn how to deconstruct their skills and talents in order to understand what value they can present to an employer and then present the traditional TAP/TRS towards the end of their service.

Anyhow, this just my my $0.02.

Only a week to go until the B. Braun and MVPVets Recareering event. There are seats remaining and still time to register!

Only a week to go!!  There are still seats- register now if you are in the Allentown area!

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Dec. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, B. Braun Medical Inc. (B.Braun) will partner with the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program ( to conduct a re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans, which will be hosted at B.Braun’s Allentown, PA manufacturing facility.

Military personnel in transition from the service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one-day seminar that brings veterans together with mentors from the medical technology industry.  During the event veterans will participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional resume to electronically apply online through a company’s career website, and networking.  B.Braun will also consider participants for internship opportunities.


Address: 901 Macron Boulevard, Allentown, PA  18109 (main cross streets are Macron Blvd. and N. Irving Sreet)

Registration: 9 – 9:30am.  Event will start promptly at 9:30 am and will conclude at 4:00 pm; pre-registration is required

Cost: There is no cost for participating veterans.  All materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided free of charge.

Registration: Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can register at the MVPvets website (  Pre-registration is required and space is limited to 20 participants.

About B. Braun:

B. Braun Medical Inc. (B.Braun), a leader in infusion therapy and pain management, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative medical products and services to the healthcare industry. The Company is committed to eliminating preventable treatment errors and enhancing patient, clinician and environmental safety. Guided by its “Sharing Expertise®” philosophy, B.Braun continuously exchanges knowledge with customers, partners and clinicians to address the critical issues of improving care and lowering costs.

The B.Braun Group of Companies in the U.S. includes B.Braun, B.Braun Interventional Systems, Aesculap® and CAPS®. B.Braun’s U.S. headquarters is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The B.Braun Group of Companies employs more than 50,000 employees in more than 60 countries throughout the world. To learn more about B.Braun visit

About the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVPvets):

MVPvets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences by 2018.  MVP brings training and mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning in a concerted effort to help veterans re-career into meaningful careers in the MedTech and BioTech industries.

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SOURCE MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program