48: Veteran Employment in Manufacturing- with Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz

a BROADcast for Manufacturers

Apr 3 2024 • 30 mins

Meet Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz

Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz is an award-winning businesswoman with first-hand experience hiring Veterans who coaches employers how to boost productivity and reduce turnover by hiring and retaining Veterans. She helps companies become “Veteran-Ready” through the creation of a Veteran Talent Strategy. Her “Veteran Talent Academy” equips employers to find, hire and leverage Veterans’ skillsets. She is the Founder & CEO of Vanguard Veteran, LLC, author of “Beyond ‘Thank You For your Service,’ The Veteran Champion Handbook” for Civilians and has Masters degrees in Nursing and Political Science. She grew up as a Navy ‘brat,’ served nearly 30 years as an Air Force Officer and is married to an Army combat Veteran. Kathy also equips volunteer faith community leaders to build Military Ministries to cultivate mutual support, a sense of belonging and spiritual resiliency for military-connected people

Why are veterans particularly well suited to work in manufacturing? Well, Kris, you're probably can answer this just as well since you've spent your entire career there. Still, I think top of the list is quality assurance, quality control, safety mindset, and operational discipline. Those are the attributes that align most beautifully within the manufacturing setting But then beyond that is our love for small unit integrity. And with that integrity comes teamwork, leadership, and camaraderie. In the military, we're broken up into small groups and into bigger groups. And it facilitates problem solving, critical thinking, chain of command. And all that stuff mirrors the manufacturing industry, because everybody's got to know their job. You got to do your job right the first time to create that product to meet mission.

Then there are other attributes I've heard employers describe military people's anchors. They're anchors because we're used to managing stressful conditions, high ops tempo, and potential conflict. And so we're pretty good problem solvers, critical thinkers, and calm under pressure, so that anchoring has it's ripples throughout the organization and really makes a difference. The other key attributes that I should have introduced way up front are technical skills and aptitudes.

Now we may not have the exact training on the exact piece of equipment, but one thing we do do is train, train, train, and train some more. And more often than not, it's technical. Now that wasn't my career. I was in nursing and public affairs and I'm not very technical, but most military people who are interested in manufacturing probably have some sort of technical aptitude that they can bring.

And so hiring for character and hiring for aptitude and training is in a manufacturer's best interest because you will get a return on investment by hiring that veteran that may have a different resume than you want. Take a chance, train them. You won't be disappointed.

Where do manufacturing employers find veterans?

That's one of the biggest complaints employers typically have because they feel confused and lost about how to connect with veteran talent. That's one of the things I do best. First of all, American job centers are all over the country and they give priority to military candidates. So that's a good place to go look.

And, as I understand it, most of those job seekers are unemployed. There are also local and national nonprofits that connect employers to veterans and or vice versa, and or prepare veteran job seekers. One of those is Hiring Our Heroes. One of those is 50 Strong.

But you can go look in your local community and look at how you can find veteran talent. They are around certainly there is varying quality, but you could go talk to your Department of Veteran Services (VA). They should have some general understanding of where to find those kinds of services. Of course, if you have a