The Veterans Inventory: Labor Force Survey Tool for Defense Communities

July 31, 2012

Understanding the current and future labor force is an important first step in any economic development planning process. Workforce profiles add value in three ways: (1) a skilled labor pool is an asset that will aid in attracting companies to the community; (2) training programs can be tailored to specific local needs; and (3) talent retention and recruitment efforts should reflect identified gaps in the existing labor pool.

In order to support defense communities who seek to better understand their labor pools, TIP developed the Veterans Inventory in partnership with the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance (HOTDA). The primary objective of the Veterans Inventory is to characterize and catalog the post-military intentions, educational levels, skills, and desired employment of military personnel separating from service. It also captures the skills and desired career fields of military spouses. This information is valuable because it can be used as a tool to recruit companies to an area by highlighting local talent. It is also used to match existing employers with a qualified local workforce they might not have otherwise identified.

The short survey can be administered as part of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), now mandatory for all military personnel separating from service. For business recruitment and workforce training purposes, the tool is most useful when administered longitudinally, as trends can be identified, and community leaders can respond accordingly.

Case Study: The Fort Hood Region Veterans Inventory Initiative

In 2006, the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, TX, with support from the Central Texas Workforce Board (CTWB) and the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance (HOTDA), engaged TIP to conduct an economic diversification strategy. The Veterans Inventory Initiative was a key recommendation of the resulting Operation Economic Transformation plan for the Fort Hood Region. Since 2007, the survey has been administered consistently and HOTDA publishes quarterly reports summarizing the findings. Selections from the Fort Hood Region Veterans Inventory Initiative (April to June 2011) are highlighted here to demonstrate the valuable information that can be gleaned from such an exercise.

Intentions of Staying in the Region

From April to June 2011, 38% of departing Soldiers reported they intend to remain in the area. In addition, another 21% indicated they would stay if desirable employment was available. Over the past 15 months, 1,655 (36.5%) respondents intended to remain in the Central Texas region and another 945 (21%) respondents said they would stay if their desired employment was available. This data clearly demonstrates that desirable employment opportunities within the MSA is a driving force in retaining Soldiers following their service in the military.

Number of soldiers departing by specialtyMilitary Occupation Specialities (MOS)

Departing Soldiers represented 138 different Military Occupational Specialties in Q3 of 2011. However, 85% (745/880 respondents) can be grouped into seven general areas: Logistics/Transportation, Combat Arms, Maintainers/Repairers, Medical, Information Technology/Communications, Engineers, and Military Intelligence. This is the fifth time that Military Intelligence was ranked as one of the top reported specialties of departing Soldiers.

Related posts:

  1. New Resources Help Connect Veterans with Employment Opportunities
  2. Project Update: Clarksville Labor Analysis Advises More Education, Jobs For Exiting Military
  3. Veteran Talent Index (
  4. Resources for Transitioning Service Members and Employers
  5. New Google Tools for the Veteran Community
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