Before we observe Veteran’s Day on November 11, Woman Around Town continues a series by career expert Jason Veduccio interviewing experts who help returning warriors re-enter the workplace. This week, Jason talks with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Joseph C. Barto III (Retired) who is the Founder and President of TMG (Training Modernization Group) that offers customized solutions to top international corporations looking to increase productivity and performance.
Part II – Helping Vets Help America’s Businesses
Veterans already in the workplace are in the best position to help their fellow veterans, but they cannot do it alone. Corporate America must pitch in to help. The result would be a win-win: corporations will benefit from employing veterans who are highly trained, loyal, dedicated, driven, courageous, and adept at problem-solving, while the veterans will find meaningful, well-paying jobs that can help them transition back into civilian life.
That message was emphasized during my conversation with LTC Joseph C. Barto III, a gentleman with as much confidence as cordiality. He spoke to me by phone during a break in his hectic schedule, and though he hadn’t any previous knowledge of my questions, his answers were focused and genuine and he spoke with the essence of a man who knew exactly what it was he wanted to say. (Please see below for a more complete bio of LTC Barto.)
When did you first consider a life or work in the military?
I was an Army brat in Atlanta who happened to be a pretty good basketball player. I was recruited by the United States Military Academy at West Point and attended where I was in the first recruiting class for a new young head coach there named Mike Krzyzewski. (Krzyzewski is the now legendary coach of the Duke basketball team.)
When did you begin to think that helping Veteran’s find work was something that needed someone’s attention?
When I was a kid I asked my Dad about his life after World War II when he had returned from the European Theater. He said that he went home to Bethlehem, PA after he was discharged and went to Bethlehem Steel and asked for a job. They told him to come back the next day ready to work—good enough for our country good enough for us. I thought to myself, that’s how it should be now – and not because it’s right, but because if these corporations understand the value of an employee who has served in the armed forces, then it simply becomes a good business decision.
What were some challenges you saw in Veteran’s finding work?
Vets have come to expect good 1st Line Leadership, to be taught what they are expected to do for the very beginning, to feel like they are a part of a team they can be loyal to, to see a future with the business, and to have at least the salary they had in the service with full benefits. Many companies will not or can not provide this environment which makes this about our businesses more than about the Vets.
Were there many groups out there helping in this area?
Yes, there are and some are great. The issue is that many are focused on the Veteran’s themselves, by tutoring them on resumes, showing them how to dress, even teaching them more skills, and in reality we should be focused on the companies. They must pull the Vets into the business as opposed to pushing Vets into the workforce and hope something good happens.
What types of companies are you speaking of?
In some ways all of them but more strategically, 80% of businesses are hiring very few employees each year, maybe one or two, while the larger corporations, those with 1,000 or more employees, they usually have more extensive yearly hiring commitments. The key is identifying those smaller businesses who want to hire and retain Vest but they just don’t know how.
TMG serves corporations with the best solutions for Leader Performance and Workforce Productivity systems. Through TMG we have developed a Vet Pipeline system that we customize to specific company circumstances. We branded it Vet-STRONG. The Vet-STRONG system is designed to help companies across America successfully recruit and retain military Veterans.
What are some of the qualities of the Vet-STRONG Initiative?
We offer a process to hiring and retaining Veterans that focuses on training the company to see the value in this type of employee. After a company has shown interest they complete a Vet Ready Self-Assessment (VRA) to determine if they want to move from being Vet Friendly to Vet STRONG. After TMG conducts a VRA on-site, and analysis is used to design a more focused model, at that point TMG customizes a Vet Pipeline for said company’s Vet-Strong program. After a pilot period TMG hands off the Vet-STRONG Program to the company who now has a valuable channel for finding and retaining these employees.
How do you classify these companies?
We do it by size, from small, medium to large and then enterprise-size companies which tend to hire 500+ people per year.
What types of things do you think companies would benefit from knowing about Veterans?
The first thing I tell them is that companies in the private sector really have no understanding of what a Veteran even is, for instance there are so many different kinds, with different skill sets and yet for many, they all are seen as this one grouping of “Veterans”. Vet is a really big word. Secondly I tell them about the military’s recruiting system and how our system already disqualified only 1 out of 4 youths between the ages of 17-24 so you should take advantage of the quality young people available. Lastly I try to explain a bit about the lives of these Veterans: how they may have moved 3 or 4 times in just a few years, or how they might have spent over half their time overseas, or that many are used to promotions and value the responsibility that comes with it. It is through an understanding these nuances that can help make the relationship more organic.
Is there anything people reading this can do to help?
Well first of all yes we can all do something. Spreading the word is a start. But it’s not helping people like me. It’s about helping these Veterans and at the same time, corporate America. If we could get people on board to train companies, better describe the challenges of the workforce to Veteran’s, and finally reach out to more Veterans in a more consistent manner, we would make a lot of head way. And if corporate America is out there listening, please contact someone to learn about these incredible people who can help make your company better. Hire and Retain a Vet… it will be the best business decision you will ever make.
Read the first part of Jason’s series, an interview with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Eric Furey (Retired), who helps finds veterans looking for work, mostly in the defense industry as contractors.
If you would like to contact LTC Barto please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded.
For more information go to the website for TMG.
Also go to the Vet-STRONG website.
LTC Joseph C. Barto III (Retired) has created and led TMG, Inc. to consistent, near perfect business performance since it’s founding as Training Modernization Group in July 2002. A values-driven Program Management Services company, TMG’s high level of performance has been recognized by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009 for Excellence in Practice with partners across America. TMG analyzes, designs, develops, pilots, implements and transitions Leader Performance and Workforce Productivity systems for companies such as Northrop Grumman, ESCO, Ball Metal Beverage Packaging, BAE Systems Ship Repair, Liebherr Mining Equipment, Lifetouch Studios, Aera Energy, L3 Communications, and North Florida Shipyards.
A retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, Barto graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Armor at the United States Military Academy in 1978 where he was an Army basketball player for Coach Mike Krzyzewski. During Operation Desert Shield and Storm he was the Chief of Operations for the 25,000 soldier 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the Executive Office for Task Force 2-4 CAV which led the division into the Euphrates River Valley attacking the Iraqi Republican Guards. He is the author of Task Force 2-4 CAV: First In — Last Out, a study of leadership in the most challenging, stressful, and demanding leadership environment—combat. He was a Special Assistant to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the primary author of the June 1996 Joint Training Manual.
He holds a Master Degree in Public Administration (Organizational Theory and Leadership) from James Madison University, was a Charter member of the United States Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, serves on the Southeast Region Board of Directors for the Association of Manufacturing Excellence and is a long time Director of the New Horizons Regional Education Center Foundation. He is on the Steering Committee for the Hampton Roads Quality Management Council and the Chair, Workforce Development Committee of the Virginia Offshore Wind Coalition.
In 2008, Barto was diagnosed with vocal chord cancer and with the help of his family, his medical team and his college friend and basketball teammate, Krzyzewski, he is now cancer free. He has been married to Tricia for 34 years, and they have four sons of which the two oldest and Tricia are a core part of the family business.