This year, for the first time, AdvaMed2012 took place in our backyard—Boston. Schwartz MSL had the distinct pleasure of working with AdvaMed to raise awareness among industry trade media and outlets serving the military and veteran communities about an exciting new program: the Medical Technology Veterans Program (MVP) Boot Camp for Returning Heroes.
As you may have read, the latest monthly jobs report shows that veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan face an unemployment rate of nearly 11 percent, 50 percent higher than the U.S. population at large. That’s the bad news. The good news is that many veterans have skill sets that map well to current positions in medtech, an industry that, despite the economy, continues to offer a variety of job opportunities with tremendous potential for career advancement at pay levels that are generally above the national average.
So why not tap medtech to help veterans get back to work? That’s just what AdvaMed is doing…and it’s the first time that an industry at large is making this kind of commitment.
The brain child of Michael Minogue, Chairman, President and CEO of Abiomed and former Army ranger, and Kevin Blanchard, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, the MVP is much more than a job fair - it’s a year-long career training and mentorship program designed to help veterans returning to the civilian workforce not just get jobs, but actually transition into jobs in medtech.
In this, the program’s inaugural year, 25 Heroes from across the U.S.— including Massachusetts, California, Texas, Georgia and Virginia representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines — were selected to participate. The MVP kicked off with an intense three-day Boot Camp at AdvaMed2012 where Heroes learned about opportunities in the industry, attended career development workshops that explored everything from military skill translation and resume writing to networking techniques and interviewing tips, and spent time networking with companies exhibiting at the show.
What sets this apart from other jobs programs is that each veteran was also assigned a mentor who is a fellow veteran currently working in the industry. This year’s mentors represent job functions ranging from sales and customer support to operations, human resources, manufacturing and R&D, as well as C-level executives at leading companies, including Haemonetics, Boston Scientific, Covidien and Philips Healthcare. The mentors worked with Heroes during the event and will continue to provide advice and guidance—as well as an invaluable professional network—throughout the transition process.
AdvaMed has also set up an online networking portal—MedicalTechnologyVeterans.org—which will serve as a virtual community for veterans interested in transitioning into the medtech industry and serving a new mission to help patients. Veterans working in the industry can sign up to network with interested veterans and the portal will offer learning opportunities, job openings, mentoring and other resources.
As Coleman Nee, secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, noted at a kick-off event over the summer, “[Veterans] stood on the line and fought for our nation. And now they can come home and be part of your bottom line.” We couldn’t have said it better. And if the level of enthusiasm among both Heroes and mentors was any indication, we have high hopes for the success of the program. Won’t it be great to see this year’s Heroes back as next year’s mentors?!
Kudos to AdvaMed and the medtech industry for leading the way in helping veterans not just find jobs, but discover careers in one of the most innovative and fastest-growing industries.
Let us know if you’re interested in getting involved. And check out some of the great coverage of the program in the Boston Globe, Mass High Tech, Mass Device and Medical Device Daily, as well as across social media @VFWmag, @AMVETSNational and @GIJobsMagazine.
Posted by Lauren Arnold on October 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM