The Warrior Integration Program (WIP) provides career opportunities in various disciplines within BAE Systems for post-9/11 U.S. combat veterans who were wounded, ill or injured as a result of direct combat action on a combat tour of duty, in order to enhance combat veterans’ transition to civilian life. Following the 36-month rotational program, participants graduate fully integrated into a stable, civilian life with a clear path to professional success and having a positive impact on the business.
“The WIP is our way, as a company, to give back to the nation's brave service members through rewarding employment opportunities that relate to their experiences as combat veterans,” said Alan Kenneally, WIP program manager. “This program has proven itself at our New Hampshire locations as a viable resource to help participants transition back to civilian life while still offering them a way to serve their country.”
This year, ES looks to expand the program to accommodate 24 participants at a time, and to offer opportunities outside New Hampshire, including Austin, Texas. In order for the program to run successfully, managers must open their minds and their doors to facilitate rotations within their teams, according to Kenneally.
Managers may be hesitant to train participants who will then move onto another role within a year, but there is no guarantee any employee will stay in a particular role for any length of time, Kevin Flynn, a Supply Chain manager for FAST Labs, said. Flynn began supporting the program in 2015 and has since trained and mentored four participants – two of whom have transitioned to other roles before their envisioned one-year stint on Flynn’s team ended.
“Managers have a role to train and grow employees regardless of whether those employees stay within the manager's team,” Flynn said, adding that his team “did not miss a beat,” when he backfilled positions with new WIP participants. “I’m a firm believer that you can train anyone to do a job, but you can't train someone to be hard-working, responsible, motivated, creative, or agile. Those are all skills the WIP participants bring with them from their military experience. They quickly come up to speed, work well independently, and welcome new challenges.”
Flynn has been with the company for 36 years, and Electronic Systems’ mission – “We Protect Those Who Protect Us®” – and the veterans’ backgrounds were reasons he became involved in the program. Within his group, participants are trained in the buyer/planner role and support FAST Labs procurement requirements, along with other assigned duties.
“Working with the WIP has been a really amazing experience for my team, and a win-win for the company,” Flynn said. “As long as the needs of the business warrant it, I will always have a position on my team for the WIP.”
“Getting out of the military can be very daunting; you don't have a path, and you feel like you have something to prove, which leaves people hungry,” said Ron Taylor, who will graduate from WIP this year. “When you bring that type of individual into the company, they're going to do great things, especially when you have a program like this, to advocate and guide individuals who come into the company from those backgrounds.”
Warrior Integration at a glance
Eligibility: Open to any post-9/11 U.S. combat veteran who was wounded, ill, or injured as a result of direct combat action on a combat tour of duty.
Rotations: The Warrior Integration Program develops skills and provides experiences for future career growth opportunities within the business sector through a 36-month rotational program. Participants are expected to complete three nine-to-12-month rotations in several areas of interest to include manufacturing, supply chain, or leadership. Extended or additional rotations may be granted when further experience or training is deemed applicable to the participant to enable that individual’s continued career path growth.
Job Opportunities: Apply today at jobs.baesystems.com. For Electronic Systems, search for Job ID 43084BR (New Hampshire) or 48104BR (Austin, Texas); For Platforms & Services, 40644BR
Jason Simpson, Communications, Nashua, NH