MVPvets helps vets, life science businesses

Organization launching major expansion in Mass.

THE MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY and biotech industries in Massachusetts are booming. But finding enough workers to fill open jobs across the sector has become one of the biggest challenges for industry and business leaders.

The life sciences sector is growing about twice as fast as the overall US and Massachusetts economies, according to data provided by MassBioEd. Last year, the Commonwealth employed more people in these industries than at any other point in history.

As companies look for creative ways to fulfill their workforce needs, there is one crucial pool of talented and skilled employees they shouldn’t overlook – our returning and highly motivated military veterans.

Massachusetts is home to more than 300,000 military veterans, including almost 36,000 who deployed in post-9/11 era conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom. America’s returning veterans possess the experience, the ability to perform well under pressure, and a host of other unique skills that make them valuable assets to any company or organization. Some of the qualities most sought after by the life sciences sector – leadership, adaptability, teamwork, sacrifice, and a strong work ethic – are the same ones that military personnel acquired and refined during deployment and their service.

These veterans answered a higher calling to serve our country and they are poised to translate those skills and passions to the life sciences sector, which is populated by so many companies whose innovation and technology are benefiting patients and helping those in need.

While CEOs and human resources departments express interest in hiring veterans, finding them can be a major challenge. For the long-term health of this important sector, that challenge needs to be addressed. By creating a concrete recruitment pipeline for military veterans, we’re ensuring the success of the life sciences sectors and our rich medtech and biotech industries, while helping veterans transition back into civilian life by providing them with meaningful careers.

That’s why MVPvets is launching a major expansion in Massachusetts with the goal of achieving just that. MVPvets is a nationwide nonprofit organization that helps returning veterans achieve successful careers in the medtech and biotech industries, while also ensuring that employers have access to this pool of talented workers.

MVPvets is identifying states with thriving life sciences, medical device, and biotech sectors as targets for expansion. States like Massachusetts are poised to take a lead because the Commonwealth boasts one of the top innovation economies in the nation. Our veterans are also among the most highly educated – at a time when the number of returning military veterans with at least some college education has hit an all-time high in the United States.

 MVPvets has set an ambitious goal of bringing 100 new Commonwealth of Massachusetts veterans into the life sciences industries by next fall. It’s also working actively to increase partnerships with local companies, academic institutions, and other veteran service organizations.

Because companies in the medtech and biotech industries often have specific workforce needs, MVPvets provides an educational and job training pathway to achieve careers in these sectors. Through the program, veterans have access to mentoring, training, and job matching resources. MVPvets also provides access to STEM career assessments, along with hundreds of professional development and education courses. Company leaders and employees can also serve as mentors to veterans and host onsite events to connect with veterans who might be a good fit for employment.

The biotech and medical technology industries are cornerstones of the innovation economy in Massachusetts. We hope more companies will join this initiative, and that other industries will follow suit and make similar connections with the veteran workforce. Our veterans are a great asset to our economy, which will only grow stronger as we attract more of these individuals into these thriving fields. By joining together, we can give more veterans that opportunity and boost economic growth.

Michael R. Minogue is the cofounder of MVPvets and chairman, president, and CEO of Abiomed. Jayson C. Gilberti, a retired colonel in the US Army, is the chief executive officer of MVPvets.