- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Become an Aramark Service Star

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by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: ServiceMaster

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Aramark Makes the Transition Easier for Everyone

Aramark is a company that not only understands that there are differences between working in the military and in the civilian worlds but it also seeks to effectively address them through a unique 12-week training program called the Resource Ready Program (RRP).

“The transition from a military life to a working civilian one is difficult for many folks,” said Mike Koeneman, Aramark Associate Vice President.

“The [RRP] equips the trainees with the skills to learn the civilian language, culture of the company and [enables them to] exercise skills that are not used in the military ranks,” said Koeneman.

Aramark’s Senior Director of Innovation and Expertise, Matthew Judge created the program along with the Aramark leadership team, which could easily serve as a model for other companies.

Aramark has also created the College of Facilities Management (FM), a compilation of several “schools” of expertise, providing continuing education and skill development in a broad array of facility services. The College of FM provides employees training and certification to further enhance their professional knowledge and to become more effective managers and operators.

“We want to bring leaders who are going through military transition into the organization and we want them to be fully trained as Facilities Managers (FM) to deliver the Aramark Program and meet our client expectations. The RRP and College of FM help us to do that,” said Judge.

“Military leaders that we’ve hired spend the first two weeks of the RRP program at our headquarters in Philadelphia where they learn more about the Aramark brand and our organization,” said Judge.

During four of the last ten weeks of the program, trainees experience technical facilities management instructor-led training at an Aramark facilities account.

“In six weeks of the RRP, they actually spend time in the field working side by side as a part of a FM team at an Aramark Facilities Account,” said Judge.

“It [the RRP] is a buffer. It is a safe place to ask questions, understand our business and gain the secret sauce to success in the field,” said Koeneman.

Throughout the program, trainees are provided ample support and guidance from Aramark “Champions” and from developmental managers who are experienced facilities managers.

For example, an Aramark appointed “Champion” may assign a coach or a mentor to the trainee, schedule their training, evaluate their performance, schedule placement interviews and locate the trainee at their first account.

Koeneman is one such Aramark champion in the RRP process. Matching the trainee to right coach, mentor and to the best job possible when the training is successfully completed is a delicate and customized process.

“This is probably the hardest part. The three-part formula [for doing so] includes geographic considerations, competencies and skills sets,” said Koeneman.

Great care is given to match managers with mentors and coaches who have different strengths in order to enhance the training process.

Newly hired veterans not only benefit from the structured training and mentorship, but they also earn a Certified Plant Maintenance Manager credential from the Association of Facilities Engineering.

Since its creation in 2011, 22 employees have graduated from the program. Seventeen of those 22 were military hires from BMI coming from all branches of service.

RRP graduates have gone to work in FM roles at such places as Alabama A&M, Baylor University, George Washington University and Southern Methodist University.

An RRP Success Story

”The RRP is an exceptional program. I was very impressed with it,” said Enrico Hunter, Facilities District Manager, South Region, Aramark Higher Education.

Aramark hired Hunter through BMI in 2011. He was a Naval Academy graduate who served as a logistics officer in the U.S. Marines for over eight years and attended the RRP as a new hire.

Since then, he has gone on to advance successfully within the company.

“The amount of resources invested in you as new employee through this program is pretty amazing. [It] is commiserate with military training from an organizational structure standpoint,” said Hunter.

“I especially liked the field work portion of the RRP where we were able to experience firsthand how organizations actually worked, to include the well-run ones and the ones having challenges,” said Hunter.

Hunter enjoys his job with Aramark and now finds himself recruiting from the pool of veterans as well. To job seekers, he offers the following tips.

“Your leadership abilities, your ability to manage people effectively are key,” said Hunter adding that you should market those skills appropriately.

He suggests you learn about your civilian healthcare options so you can make wise decisions for yourself and your family.

“When you think about your next job, look at the overall opportunity for what it is. Is there room for growth and professional development? Focusing just on one piece of it, like compensation, can be too short-sighted,” said Hunter.

Hunter recommends that you have a good understanding of how your military pay translates into a civilian salary to include such items as your housing allowance and any non-taxable pay that you currently receive.

“When I transitioned out of the Marine Corps, I had no idea how all that worked. BMI really helped me to get a better insight into the types of civilian compensation packages that are out there for military job seekers,” said Hunter.

Janet Farley, a workplace and career strategies expert, is the author of Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job (Jist Works, 2013). Follow her @mil2civguide on Twitter.

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