19 Dec NextOp Blazes a Trail for Military Veterans in New Orleans’ Workforce
Part of NOLABA’s mission to build an equitable and sustainable economic future for New Orleans focuses on talent and workforce development. With the announcement of DXC Technology’s digital transformation center coming to New Orleans, a spotlight is shining on military talent through a nonprofit organization called NextOp.
NextOp launched in Texas in 2015 with the vision to be the strongest link between industry and military talent. NextOp recruits, trains and places high-performing middle-enlisted veterans into industry careers. In working with DXC Technology to locate its digital transformation center in New Orleans, there was a clear need to honor the company’s commitment to the careers of U.S. veterans. Connecting the two organizations and setting up a pipeline of military talent were natural steps in developing a partnership that ultimately will lead to economic opportunities for local veterans.
“NOLABA is a pioneer in Southern veteran talent development and placement,” said Ben Armstrong, NextOp’s Louisiana Regional Manager. “Because of the action of (NOLABA CEO Quentin Messer) and the introduction of us to DXC, they are going to fundamentally change the veteran transition and how veterans get jobs all over the state … NOLABA has the ability to galvanize resources to come into market, whereas other organizations were like, ‘This is great; we just don’t know what to do with you.’”
Since 2015 NextOp has placed almost 1,000 veterans in positions that pay $55,000 and above on average, Armstrong said. He added that NextOp’s placements have a 78% higher retention rate than other placements.
“So when they leave service, they’re not just getting jobs, they’re getting careers and at a significant pay raise in most cases,” he said. “We’re a very metrics-based and outcomes-based organization, meaning we want to invest in the individual when they come in to really understand their expectations and fundamentally and aggressively impact their presentation of themselves through LinkedIn, interviewing skills and resume, teach them how to transition those soft and hard skills and present them to experts. It’s a high-mission, low-cost solution to helping veterans get into careers, not just jobs.”
Armstrong said NextOp’s goal for 2018 is to place 150 Louisiana veterans in careers and make a $9 million impact on the state’s economy.
NextOp just earned the Call of Duty Endowment Seal of Distinction for the expediency and cost at which it places veterans in employment – at a faster rate and better value than the U.S. Department of Labor, Armstrong said.
“We know veterans are here – in some cases they’re underemployed, meaning they can find jobs, but often they’re not the careers they want to be in,” Armstrong said. “Veteran underemployment is 15.6% higher than non-veteran job seekers. In supporting bringing NextOp to Louisiana and New Orleans, NOLABA has brought in a legitimate force to aggressively impact veteran underemployment in our region, which no one has focused on ever in Louisiana.”