DC Velocity, the warehousing and supply chain trade group Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), and third-party logistics provider (3PL) Legacy Supply Chain Services have begun a campaign to help match returning veterans with available supply chain management jobs and to make vets aware of the career potential in the field.
The initiative, "VETS to WERC," will be showcased at WERC's annual conference, set for May 15-18 in Providence, R.I. Representatives from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Army's "Soldier for Life" program will be on hand to describe how to match the skill sets of returning veterans with the qualifications needed to attain and hold skilled and semiskilled positions in the industry. The representatives will also highlight best practices for companies to recruit and retain veterans.
It is estimated that 200,000 military personnel transition to civilian life each year. According to Portsmouth, N.H.-based Legacy, which manages more than 6 million square feet of warehouse space in 50 locations across North America, the supply chain management sector will soon need to fill as many as 270,000 positions a year, as retirements among the "Baby Boomer" generation—those born between 1946 and 1964—begin to accelerate.
"The supply chain industry is a natural fit for veterans, who have done everything from battlefield logistics planning, to transporting cargo, to operating heavy machinery," said Lt. Col. Brian Gilman, national organizations director in the Chairman's Office of Reintegration in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. "Providing them with leadership opportunities and career paths in the supply chain field enables companies to effectively leverage their experience in the military environment." Gilman will be speaking at the WERC conference.
"We are proud to shine a big spotlight on the link between logistics and military skills during one of (the) biggest trade events in our business," said Ron Cain, Legacy's CEO. "The involvement of the U.S. government, in this program, underscores its importance. At Legacy, we take immense pride in our culture of giving back and making a difference, and this campaign reinforces our commitment. We hope VETS To WERC provides an important piece of the 'supply chain shortage' puzzle in our industry."
Legacy, the founding partner of the campaign along with cosponsors DC Velocity and WERC, will be joined at the conference by Wendy Lang, director of "Operation College Promise" at Thomas Edison State University. Lang will be bringing student veterans who received VETS To WERC scholarships to the event, where they will learn about the wide range of careers in the business.
"We are excited that Legacy approached us to partner with them in this important initiative," said Michael Mikitka, WERC's CEO. "We look forward to making VETS to WERC a part of our annual conference programming."
"For some time, there has been a wide talent gap in the supply chain management field," said Gary Master, publisher of DC Velocity. "Since many thousands of men and women transition to civilian life each year, there's a big talent pool we need to attract. Awareness campaigns like Vets to WERC will help companies reach out to these highly qualified individuals."
More information about the VETS to WERC campaign and the conference are available here.