Bank of America hires 10,000 veterans

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Bank of America completed a five-year mission of recruiting 10,000 military men and women into their workforce. It’s a goal that’s brought highly trained, disciplined professionals into their ranks, the bank’s executives say.

“The candidates that lead the different branches of the armed services have an unparalleled work ethic and attitude, they're used to working on diverse teams in challenging environments, while following rules of engagement and a code of conduct,” says Jeffrey Cathey, senior military affairs executive at Bank of America. “Because of those traits our senior leadership decided this is a population worth pursuing.”

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs estimates 200,000 men and women exit the military every year to join the civilian workforce. To attract and retain this talent pipeline, Bank of America created recruitment and employee benefit programs designed to serve the armed forces and their families.

Bank of America created a military talent acquisition team to help the company onboard 10,000 veterans by 2020. This division, comprised of current veteran employees, collaborates with military nonprofits — like the Wounded Warrior Project and Hiring Our Heroes — to connect with talent. The team often arranges to meet candidates at job fairs hosted at military bases around the country.

“We spend a lot of effort targeting those career fairs and participating in understanding the content in the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Programs,” Cathey says. “When an offer is made and accepted we're thrilled to have captured some of that military talent for Bank of America.”

Cathey says people forget military jobs aren’t limited to combat; servicemembers hold positions in communications, technology and healthcare — to name a few. Many of those skills are directly transferable to corporate and branch jobs.

Veterans can also take advantage of the company’s Veteran Development Program, which pairs veteran new hires with a veteran mentor who can help shape their growth at the company. So far, the program has helped more than 500 veterans fill leadership roles at Bank of America, Cathey says.

“We have a lot of opportunities for people to take what they did with their military occupational specialty, and extend it to the corporate world,” Cathey says. “But we also provide opportunities for them to try something new.”

Once they’re part of the Bank of America team, veterans have access to benefits designed to help make their transition to civilian life successful. The bank’s EAP includes access to mental health professionals who specialize in issues such as PTSD and depression. Employees can also call on this service to deal with the aftermath of a family tragedy, like an unexpected death. Bank of America also provides veteran support groups so employees can receive emotional and professional support from their peers.

“We have a program like in the military where you're assigned a sponsor. It’s a really good way to get rid of the uncertainty of where you are in the company,” Cathey says. “Those onboarding efforts pay big dividends to alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings of being in a new environment.”

Benefits are also extended to veteran family members, who often have to make compromises to accommodate their loved one’s military duties. The bank’s Life Event Services team is responsible for coordinating with veterans and their families on things like office transfers and family emergencies.

“If an employee working at one of the banks is married to an active duty servicemember and they get relocated we will try to reassign them to a new location,” Cathey says. “While there are no guarantees, we'll do everything we can to keep them at Bank of America.”

The company is also doing its part to support employees who are active military, like those serving part-time in the reserves. Because military members often take a pay cut when they’re called to serve, the the bank provides them with 90 days of full-time pay to relieve financial stress during deployment. After that time, Bank of America pays the difference between their full-time salary and government wages to help them maintain financial stability.

“It's rare for a company to provide [pay for reservists], and I think it definitely sets us apart,” Cathey says. “We're committed to keeping them with us and making sure they're taken care of while they serve.”

With its long history of supporting the military through special financing programs and donations, Bank of America plans to celebrate its 100th anniversary in July. Since 2009, the bank has donated more than $21 million to military nonprofits.

“Our support of veterans, service members and their families is a huge part of who we are,” says Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to hiring and serving military personnel who contribute so much to our company, our communities and our country.”

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