I’m always on the lookout for companies doing amazing things that have a beneficial impact on others, and Shift.org appears to be one of them. The company launched on Thursday with an honorable mission: to help people successfully transition from their military careers to a civilian one.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty since September 2001 was 5.8 percent in 2015. One of the issues plaguing the men and women who have placed their lives on the line to defend our country is having an inability to convert the skills they’ve learned in the armed forces into something similar in the workplace.
There have been a number of companies doing outreach to employ veterans, including Home Depot, Walmart, Microsoft, Uber, and Salesforce. While that’s commendable, the problem may be more complex than just finding a company to work at — what type of role do veterans want and what’s their dream job? Shift is taking a stab at catering to this set of users. It was built by people who served, and it uses technology to better understand the veteran applicant’s personal preferences and professional experience. From there, the company will provide the assistance to help people understand what’s possible and how they can move forward in their career.
Currently, Shift has formed deals with 20 companies, including Stripe and Flexport, in Silicon Valley to bring in veteran candidates around operations and customer success. The company told VentureBeat that unlike incumbent offerings for veterans, it is focused on “translating skills the military teaches everyone: technical literacy and operational proficiency. Tasks like creating plans to push hundreds of people into foreign countries, driving submarines underwater, and training to disarm nuclear weapons build these skills at a breathtaking scale. These are incredibly valuable traits but among the hardest military experiences to translate to a civilian employer.”
Employers and recruiters can use Shift to filter candidates by skills, availability, experience level, and more. And if one is suitable, they can be messaged through the platform.
Veterans sign up to receive a weekly email of curated opportunities, such as educational seminars, retraining, internships, and available employment spots. When they’re ready to explore job placement, they “go live” on Shift, and a notification will be sent to every employer the company has partnered with.
Company chief executive Mike Slagh, a veteran himself, explained that a year ago he went through the Department of Labor’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which aims to assist military personnel transitioning into civilian life. But along the way, he questioned why there wasn’t more focus on helping translate the skills veterans garnered in the service to their equivalents in the everyday world.
You might think that this is just another hiring platform similar to Hired, LinkedIn, and many others, but Shift is putting itself forward as a company that specifically addresses the needs of military veterans. If you visited other sites to query candidates with a background in the armed forces, it might be more difficult to discern who’s qualified. Shift believes it has the solution.
The company is backed by the startup incubator Expa and has received $500,000 to execute its mission.