Assessing department of defense demand for veterans during and after degree completion

Alyson Grace Eggleston, Robert J. Rabb

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Federal agencies have expended great efforts to support veteran employment. The Department of Defense (DoD) is no different and is the nation's largest employer of veterans. Even in some geographic areas with numerous opportunities for veterans to fully integrate into the civilian sector, many veterans choose employment with a DoD organization or one of the local contractors supporting DoD organizations. Veterans' desire to gain employment with a DoD or supporting agency seems to be well matched with the DoD organizations' desire to hire veterans. In The Citadel's region, the demand for engineering graduates has grown significantly over the past decade as new industries and their feeder industries continue to grow. At the same time, DoD organizations and their contracted subsidiaries in the area have only marginally grown. However, even with the high demand for engineers in the civilian sector, engineering student veterans still pursue DoD opportunities frequently. In both government and civilian sectors, there is emphasis on producing engineers that are technically proficient and possess professional skills such as leadership, organization, time management, and communication-behavioral characteristics often associated with veterans. Surveys and individual follow-up qualitative interviews conducted with representatives from selected local DoD organizations suggest that these organizations receive abundant value from veterans. Veterans are noted for their leadership skills and teamwork; for their flexibility and ability to work in a changing environment without undue stress; for their dependability, integrity, and loyalty. Their military experience often fosters growth of these professional skills, making veterans effective and admired among peers in these organizations. In surveys of student veterans, common themes emerge, such as a desire to work with other veterans, work in a somewhat familiar organization with a hierarchy and lateral subunits like many military organizations, and a personal desire to work on equipment supporting the defense mission but in a different capacity. In addition, many of the DoD organizations offer generous benefits compared to some civilian employers, including opportunities for personal and professional growth, travel, and advancement. This paper discusses some of the professional skills recognized in veterans, as well as the cultural climate in some of the DoD organizations that attract engineering student veterans. It then provides examples of veterans in different DoD organizations as well as the civilian sector for comparison. This paper will be useful to veterans and employers alike. Veterans should be aware of differences in mentoring between their military service and civilian employment. Likewise, employers of veterans should note the different expectations of this group of employees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number217
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing department of defense demand for veterans during and after degree completion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this