Northland Veterans Whose Military Training Helped In Civilian Careers

By KBJR News 1

March 2, 2012 Updated Mar 2, 2012 at 4:50 PM CDT

Military values like duty, honor, integrity and respect are ingrained from day one into the daily decisions military personnel make.

Military spokespeople say its values like those that make veterans such assets to today's workforce.

The majority of today's veterans are highly trained and well educated.

"The military taught and what you learned was decisiveness, integrity and drive, that ability to get things done because they have to get done," Duluth Judge of District Court, David Johnson.

St. Louis County District Court Judge David Johnson served in the Marine Corps for 27 years before retiring as a Colonel.

He says his wide array of jobs within the military, including working as an artillery officer, being in charge of biological, chemical and high yield explosive defenses, investigating and building cases against detainees in Afghanistan, all provided experiences that prepared him for a successful career in any field.

"I think that helps me as a judge having that background," Judge Johnson said.

A background full of difficult decisions that prepared Judge Johnson for his roll on the bench.

"Had I not joined the military, I don't know where I'd be...I know I wouldn't be sitting here as a judge," says Johnson.

Duluth Police Officer, Sergeant Jeremiah Graves, has spent 20 years in the military...giving him values and skills that he says make him a better cop.

"I think it gave me life experience, it taught discipline, respect," Sgt Graves said.

Sergeant Graves continues to gain those one of a kind skills serving in the 148Th Air National Guard.

He says the expertise veterans acquire is an asset to employers.

"Young adults that go into the military, they get training that the civilian world doesn't get and I think it can be beneficial to employers," says Sgt. Graves.

With many of the returning vets coming home with management-level experience...Veterans come with a special skill set and integrity that many employers could use...like service over self...the mindset that the mission at hand is more important than yourself.

"If you get employees that will adapt that about your company and how important it is to work for this company...those folks who were veterans already know how to do that, it's already been part of them; it already is part of them," says Veteran & Regional Director at MACV, Steve Saari.

And not only do veterans come with integrity and a desire to do their best, many also come with hands on experience.

Derek Uttley spent four years in the Army before leaving due to medical reasons. His official title was a military truck driver...but that's not all he did.

"I did recovery operations, I did some construction while I was deployed, I managed a company, I controlled schedules, I did Human Resources, I handled legal issues...nowhere else are you going to get that kind of experience," Uttley says.

A versatility shared by most veterans that can make them an asset in any civilian workforce.

The Minnesota legislature is recognizing the importance of the skills veterans acquire through two pending bills that would make it easier for veterans to find jobs.

A similar measure passed the Wisconsin Legislature this week.

Written for the web by Danyel Piecek.