Toyota’s partnership with a local legend is making a difference for D-FW’s veterans
by Gefen Kusin-Kline, Special Contributor | November 26, 2018
Kirk Moss may be a soldier, but it’s also fair to call him a kind of ambassador. During his 14 years as an Army Logistics Officer, Kirk managed complex personnel and supply chain operations, even organizing support for a multi-component training brigade across a four-state area. He also fostered relationships with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. To do so, he had to learn how to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers to accomplish common goals. In sum, Kirk’s service to his country equipped him with some truly impressive leadership experience, and not all of it related to military tactics.
Unfortunately, however, Kirk and other accomplished veterans like him don’t have guaranteed careers waiting for them once they leave the nation’s armed forces. In fact, American servicemen and servicewomen often struggle to find jobs in the private sector, as some employers have difficulty understanding the degree to which veterans’ skills are genuinely transferable. This is where a new partnership between a veteran’s employee group at Toyota — the Toyota Veterans Association (TVA) — and the nonprofit organization Allies in Service has been able to make a difference.
Since its inception, Allies in Service has dedicated itself to helping veterans find work all across the D-FW Metroplex by offering a wide variety of job-placement services. The nonprofit was founded by Roger Staubach — football legend, Navy veteran and recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — who also serves as its chairman. Speaking of the partnership between his organization and TVA, Staubach notes that it “has allowed Allies in Service to provide more robust support with employment preparation to our veterans and their spouses. We are proud to serve our military community and help them connect with quality D-FW area employers such as Toyota.”
Kirk heard that the TVA and Allies in Service were offering mock interviews earlier this year and jumped at the opportunity to participate. Many veterans transitioning out of service have never interviewed in a professional setting, so practice is crucial to helping them showcase their expertise to decision-makers in corporate HR.
Kirk credits his mock interview experience with dramatically improving his prospects. “They kept me well-versed with my elevator speech and interviewing techniques that made every interview a conversation,” he says. “The preparation and dialoguing with local employers offered me the opportunity to get candid, real-time feedback from recruiters and hiring managers.”
Not long after working with TVA and Allies in Service, Kirk applied for a fantastic opportunity at a local tech firm. He landed the job, and now works as a manufacturing supervisor for Texas Instruments.
This kind of outcome is what Michael Smith, a Senior Manager at Toyota and National Chair of Toyota Veterans Association, is aiming to achieve. As Smith notes, team members at the automaker believe they “have a duty to serve our community of veterans, just as they have served us. Through programs like Allies in Service, we help connect talent to the workforce — and that benefits everyone.”
Moreover, Smith has a personal stake in furthering this cause. “As a veteran myself, I know how difficult it can be to transition to civilian life,” he reveals. “I am proud to be part of a company that supports those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of our country.”
That desire to reciprocate is evident in how Allies in Service and TVA cooperate in helping veterans fully understand their worth. As Kirk relates, “The feedback I received during my mock interviews contributed to me being better able to relax and confidently relate how my military experience could serve as a positive attribute in a variety of leadership positions in corporate America. Allies in Service and Toyota helped me become extremely comfortable talking with employers.”
The partnership’s ultimate goal is to assist as many of the 350,000 veterans living in D-FW as possible. If you are or know a veteran, encourage them to become involved with Allies in Service. The next mock interview is scheduled for February 2019. Learn more by visiting www.alliesinservice.org/our-programs.
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