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Kaiser Permanente: The Junior Military Officer (JMO) Program

by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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You don’t want your post-uniform job to be a good one. You want it to be a great one.


You want a career opportunity in the civilian world that allows you to soar to greater heights professionally within a world-class organization.


You want a job that allows you to gain a broad range of experiences so that you have a genuine appreciation of what others deal with when you are ultimately the one in charge.


If that describes you, then you may want to consider a career with Kaiser Permanente. Founded in 1945, it is one of the largest and longest serving national integrated health care systems nationwide. Headquartered in Oakland, California, it is made up of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and the Permanente Medical Groups.


Kaiser Permanente currently serves more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Those customers must be happy with the way they do business as Kaiser Permanente has been rated as having the highest member satisfaction among commercial health plans in California and Colorado eight years in a row (JD Power 2008-2015 U.S. Member Health Plan Studies).


In addition to taking care of its members, Kaiser Permanente is the kind of organization that is made up of people who do far more than just their jobs. It is an entity that facilitates big picture change in an innovative manner while taking good care of those in its charge.


Perhaps you can relate on some level already, right?


For example:
• Kaiser Permanente brought the prepaid health plan to the U.S. health care scene as well as the concept of physician group practice.
• It was instrumental in creating a paradigm shift that put the focus on preventing illness as much as caring for the sick.

• Last but certainly not least, it also successfully developed an organized delivery system that put as many services under one roof as possible.


The Future Force of Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente evolved from industrial health care programs for construction, shipyard and steel mill workers for the Kaiser industrial companies during the Great Depression and World War II. It was opened to public enrollment in July 1945 and many of our earliest members and employees were returning veterans and their families.


Like many employers today, Kaiser Permanente recognizes the value of veterans in their workforce and as the need for great talent is in high demand, the intrinsic attributes that veterans possess is the correct answer. As the workforce evolves, those who currently serve or who have transitioned from military service provide a supply of great candidates to add to Kaiser’s workforce.


“We have to implement strategies now to ensure a future talented workforce and our Junior Military Officer (JMO) Program is one solution to bring in excellent leaders who have been cultivated by our armed forces,” said Marcus Williams, Kaiser Permanente’s Military Recruitment Program Leader.


Kaiser Permanente understands that military veterans bring unique strengths to the civilian workforce such as leadership, communication, decision-making, team building, logistics and risk management, just to name a few.


To tap into those qualities directly, Williams partnered with Greg Kern, a Client Partner from military recruiting firm Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI), in July 2015 to establish and implement the program.


The JMO Program provides high-performing junior military officers with access to a unique, two year rotational program. It is designed to help them transition into successful leadership roles within the organization by allowing the JMO Associates (as they are called throughout the program) to work in three or four departments within a functional area within Kaiser Permanente.


Participating areas include but aren’t limited to information technology, national facilities services, human resources, health care operations, enterprise shared services, health care administration, finance, accounting, marketing and sales.


The program consists of on-the-job experience, leadership mentoring and formal web-based and classroom training.


“BMI vetted officers in the O-2 to O-4 pay grades having four to 10 years of experience who were starting their military-to-civilian transition and then we interviewed them at a BMI PowerHire® Hiring Event coordinated just for us,” said Williams.


That first event, held in Northern California near the company’s Oakland headquarters, was a resounding success.


“We hired eight associates in July 2015 and expect to more than double that number by hiring at least 20 new JMOs in 2016,” said Williams.


According to Williams, the next hiring events will be held in Northern and Southern California and will ultimately expand out to other regions in the future.


While they are in the program, associates are considered fulltime Kaiser Permanente employees complete with competitive starting salaries and benefits.


After successfully completing the two-year program within the company, the desire is that JMO Associates are then placed in permanent positions in the organization.


“The associates we’ve hired so far have made such a positive impression that others internal to the organization want to hire them away from the JMO program right now. That speaks highly of the caliber of the JMO Associates,” said Williams.


“We want to hire veterans as they bring a plug-and-play mentality to our workforce. They make excellent employees,” he said.


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