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The journey transitioning from military life to the business world can often be a tricky and intimidating road to navigate; but now thanks to Canada Company, members have the tools and support necessary to make that journey a success. Recognized by the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs, Canada Company has placed 933 former military personnel in jobs since 2012.
“We [Canada Company] are just about to launch an announcement of a memorandum of understanding, the first of its kind, with the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs, announcing that our Military Employment Transition program is the national program for Canada,” said Angela Mondou President of Canada Company. “We are really, really proud of that. It’s phenomenal because starting as a small charity we are now recognized as playing a national role.…They [CAF and VA] are such big stakeholders and to be recognized outside of the government as an arm that executes and delivers its programs is a pretty big deal,”
An organization committed to serving the military family, Canada Company has been able to further its goals and serve members by adapting to the current needs of the organization. In 2012, there was prevalent need for proper programing to assist veterans to transition into the private sector and find employment; hence the birth of Canada Company’s Military Employment Transition Program (MET).
MET has two major components to assist members on their path to a second career. The first part includes a “private Workopolis” that connects members and veterans directly to companies and their HR departments. Jobs range from financial analyst to project managers for companies like Metro and Sea Span. The website also provides members with tools and tips on resume writing and interviewing skills. There are currently 4,000 members registered on the site.
“A big part of our job, and I think one of Canada Company’s strengths, is our connection into the business world across Canada. We have hundreds of companies now formally engaged with us. They have landing pages on this website that provides information on the jobs they’re recruiting for, with direct access to their HR team. It’s really powerful because you don’t get this on Workopolis, this is a group of employer partners we work with one-on-one. So we have this beautiful space that connects members with jobs,” said Mondou.
The second part to the equation is large-scale symposiums and conferences that feature successful veterans to inspire those transitioning between careers. In 2015, Canada Company arranged three conferences across the country. This October, the organization will be hosting its first ever national transition symposium in Toronto. Veterans, members of the CAF and family members will gather to engage in discussion panels and hear from HR experts. The symposium will also feature booths from 75 companies in a job fair like atmosphere.
Also in October, Canada Company plans to expand the job placement program to spouses. Working in collaboration with Military Family Resource Centre’s and Military Family Services, Canada Company intends to bring spouses to the forefront of job prospects in a twofold plan. The first part will involve partners in the MET program so they can better support their family in transitioning to civilian life. The second part of the plan will actually help to place spouses of currently serving members into jobs.
Mondou explained that businesses have approached Canada Company on several occasions to discuss spousal employment. The program will help place spouses in mobile jobs for companies like Freedom 55 and Investors Groups. Once placed, military spouses can retain jobs as they move with their loved ones from base to base.
“I’m really excited about what the Forces is now offering everybody within a family unit so they can work together as a team and family in a more healthy way as they’re serving the country and transitioning,” stated Mondou.
The organization has taken inspiration from Canada’s southern neighbors who, Mondou suggests, have comprehensive plans to help their veterans transition into the private sector. Modeling after the United States’ 100,000 Jobs Mission, Canada Company has set its own goal of placing 10,000 members in jobs by 2023. By the end of 2015, the plan is to place 1900 members in jobs.
Canada Company has found that the Canadian business world is eager to help the military community.
“There’s a big desire and a growing desire in Canada to support those who serve and engage them and understand their value and how they can bring them into their company. I’ve seen the transformation myself. We actually don’t have to go after companies we have a pipeline of companies who want to be a part of this program,” said Mondou.
Before taking on the role of employment transition, Canada Company primarily focused on awarding scholarship money to children of fallen soldiers. Around 2006, while the Canadian military was in the midst of being deployed to Afghanistan, there was a concern of how children of fallen soldiers would attend post-secondary school and thus the seed for the organization was planted. The scholarship is still awarded annually to students, who receive $4,000 annually towards their post-secondary education. To-date over 50 children have participated in this program.
Canada Company was founded by Blake Goldring, Chairman of AGF Management Limited after being invited to be an honorary colonel by the Royal Canadian Regiment. During his appointment, Goldring became more in tune with the needs of the military community. In 2011, Goldring became the first Canadian Army honorary colonel with his appointment being extended in 2014 to 2016.
Veterans and transitioning members of the Canadian Armed Forces can register for MET online at www.canadacompany.ca.