From the military to the civilian workplace

Viasat workshop helps veterans transition to new careers

veterans workshop.jpg
From left, Mike Rogers and panelists Nigel Nurse, Andrew Kessler, Chris Keane, and Paul Miller were among the employees who helped lead the 2022 veterans transition workshop.

After 24 years, San Diego resident Tim Boehme is retiring from the U.S. Navy. But he’s uncertain about where his career path will take him next. Viasat’s Veterans Transition Workshop has helped ease that feeling.

“I’ve been a bit apprehensive,” said Boehme. “But events like this workshop really help provide some clarity.”

Boehme was among 35 veterans and military spouses who participated in the workshop, held June 23 on the company’s Carlsbad, CA campus. The all-day event, open to active-duty, reservists, veterans, and military spouses, aims to help with the skills needed to find a successful career in the corporate world.

Viasat launched the series in 2015, suspending it during the height of the pandemic.

The event includes a full day of interactive sessions, from discussing compensation and benefits and updating an online profile to building a resume and honing interview skills. Attendees also hear from Viasat employees and veterans who successfully made the change.

Employers are looking for the skills veterans bring and that I have; it’s just a matter of putting it in a frame that an employer recognizes.
Tim Boehme

“Just the opportunity to hear from folks who’ve gone through it before was helpful,” Boehme said. “Knowing other people have done it certainly makes it feel less uncertain.”

He singled out sessions on improving one’s LinkedIn presence, resume reviews and mock interviews as particularly helpful.

“I’ve been in the Navy for 24 years now, so I’m ingrained in a certain way of thinking about job opportunities,” he said. “In the military, you get assigned the next position rather than selecting from the almost paralyzing range of options that are out there. Having choice is awesome, but how do I ensure I’m making the right choice for me and my family?

“The workshop reinforced that it’s OK to feel apprehensive, and that my skills are translatable. Employers are looking for the skills veterans bring and that I have; it’s just a matter of putting it in a frame that an employer recognizes.”

Changing to civilian life

Viasat program manager and former Marine Mike Rogers, who helped lead the workshop, understands well what the change is like.

“Transitioning from the military is scary, especially when the military is all that you have ever known,” he said. “Many people join the military when they are young, so it’s their first real job after high school or college. They become what the military tells them to become — an IT person, a mechanic, a pilot, or an infantryman. Furthermore, the military tells them where to go and what jobs to do.

“When they leave the military, they don’t know how to write a resume, they’ve never applied for a job, they’ve never sat for an interview, or negotiated a salary. And in most cases, their military experience does not easily translate to private-sector jobs.”

Viasat, whose Government Services sector provides telecommunications products and services to the military, works to provide that bridge.

“Viasat continues to support our service people while they are in the military with our products, and when they transition from the military with our workshops,” he said. “And in some cases, when they are hired by Viasat to continue to serve.”

Viasat’s primary goal through the workshops isn’t to recruit new employees, but to help veterans find a satisfying new career. But several veterans who’ve attended the events have found a career home at Viasat.

After attending the 2018 and 2019 workshops, Rogers is among those who joined Viasat. He’s happy to now have an opportunity to help other service members.

“It’s nice to be the person that’s paying it forward, and finding a way to continue to serve,” he said.