OTTAWA — A U.S-based technology company is pitching the Trudeau government on an innovative idea to link veterans — who are either out of uniform or about to leave the military — with jobs in the private sector.
Monster Government Solutions has been showcasing its so-called military skills translator software, hoping the Canada will follow the lead of the Obama administration and buy into the program.
The software allows military members to customize job searches through an algorithm that helps match highly technical military skills with potential civilian jobs.
It not only presents former soldiers with a list of job openings but allows them to submit applications instantly.
Terry Howell, director of editorial operations for the company, says it would require the participation of private-sector companies, but the package has a track record of success in the U.S.
"We're looking for the opportunity to provide this to the Canadian government and by extension to the Canadian employers who are looking for veterans to employ," Howell said in a recent interview.
The program offers a couple of different avenues of support, but the main one would work as a tool for military counsellors preparing soldiers for civilian life, he added.
During last fall's federal election, the Liberals promised to examine so-called transition tools and the party president, Anna Gainey, wrote to the company to say "a military skills translator can be a valuable and effective tool."
In opposition, the Liberals pushed the Harper government to adopt such a system. The House of Commons veterans committee, in a June 2014, report called on the federal government to either buy such transition software or create its own for use at both National Defence and Veterans Affairs.
The cost of Monster's proposal would be US $1.7 million for start-up and US $400,000 annually in support and upgrades.
In the last three years, a growing number of soldiers have complained that they are ill-prepared to return to civilian life, whether physically, emotionally or even vocationally.
Many have never had to write a resume and have no idea how their training and expertise might be useful in the commercial world.
Some organizations have sprung up to offer post-uniform career counselling. The former Conservative government put in place a helmets-to-hard-hats program, hoping to retrain veterans for the construction sector and also introduced legislation to help fast-track vets into public service jobs.
Even so, the complaints mounted.
The country's top military commander, Gen. Jonathan Vance, identified the transition to civilian life as a key area where the federal government as an institution can do better.
"It's in that transition period where we are looking very closely," Vance said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press in December. "These people who successfully make it through that transition period and are able to work successfully and achieve what they want to achieve in life after uniform ... we want to reinforce that."
By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press