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New company aims to help vets shift skills to civilian careers

The company's software aims to translate skills veterans have from their military service and map themto different traits and attributes for the civilian job market. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — Transitioning from the military into a civilian career can be tough, but there’s a new company working to connect veterans with opportunities that match their backgrounds.

“The software we have will translate what people have done in the military and map it to different traits and attributes,” said Mike Slagh, CEO of Shift.

Some jobs that are administrative or in health care, for example, are fundamentally the same where ever they’re performed, he said. Shift helps identify core skills that vets possess who do jobs that don’t mirror functions in the private sector.

“What we do for recruiters is break down some of the building blocks that go into different military professions so they can start to map veterans to attributes and traits about their experiences instead of trying to place them in a very similar job to what they did in the military,” Slagh said.

Joel Usher — a client Slagh calls a “Shift success story” — said a challenge he faced when getting out of the Army was only knowing people who were also in the military.

“It’s pretty siloed off from the rest of society, especially professional society,” Usher said. “So, as valuable as you may potentially be — you simply don’t know the people to get in the door with companies.”

Usher, who served in the Army for 8.5 years as an Arabic linguist and intelligence analyst, spent years stationed at Ford Meade in Maryland.

He’ll be returning to the D.C. area soon as a 2017 TechCongress Congressional Innovation Fellow.

“We are embedded into the offices of members of Congress or permanent committees to work on policy and legislation,” Usher said.

Shift is working with about 20 companies and 100 veterans on a one-on-one basis, Slagh said. A couple thousand vets are on the waiting list, he said.

“Now that we’re starting to have a few success stories like Joel, we have the confidence to go out and pursue more companies,” Slagh said.

Recruiters using Shift pay a yearly fee based on company size. The service is free for veterans.

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