Veterans acquire outstanding skills during their years of service – skills that bring tremendous value to a business. Leadership. Discipline. High performance under pressure. Working effectively with diverse teams. Global perspectives. Technical training in information technology, supply-chain management, transportation logistics and much more.
However, despite their impressive on-the-job training and advanced skills, often veterans with extensive military backgrounds have not earned associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, which eliminates them from consideration for many jobs.
Recognizing an opportunity to bring these veterans’ broad scope of training and experience into a successful career at Dow, VetNet, Dow’s employee resource group for veterans, collaborated with Human Resources and other functions to launch the Military Degree Equivalency (MDE) program in November 2020. MDE helps level the playing field for veterans who seek rich and rewarding careers with the company.
Under the program, veterans with relevant military experience of E6 ranking or greater (OR6 for Canada) will be considered as equivalent to candidates with bachelor’s degrees for U.S. and Canadian job postings. The E6 ranking translates to 8-12 years of experience and has generally equivalent responsibilities across all branches of the military.
Jane Palmieri, president, Infrastructure and Intermediates and VetNet executive sponsor, says: “Dow’s MDE program is an example of our efforts to create a more inclusive work environment where diverse backgrounds and levels of experience are welcomed and valued.”
Dow, in turn, benefits from attracting diverse, high-performing people who can contribute to the company’s bottom line. In fact, studies have found there are several quantitative business benefits for hiring veterans, including higher stock performance.
VetNet not only played a role in creating the MDE program, but it is also actively promoting the program through its North America network. One veteran who responded to their communications efforts was David Badour, a lead R&D engineering specialist in the robotics group for Lab Automation.
David served three deployments in the Navy and held an E-6 ranking before coming to Dow. He was working as lead technologist for the robotics group when he saw a job listing for his current role. He was interested but didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. Then he remembered seeing a VetNet communication about the MDE program.
David decided to talk to his leader about using his military ranking as an equivalency to the bachelor’s degree requirement for the position. Because of the MDE program, he was able to qualify for the role of lead R&D engineering specialist and was promoted to his current role in 2021.
“My supervisor was very open to the change and supportive of my request,” Badour says. “After my military service was verified, my supervisor announced to the group that another team member would be taking over my duties and that I would be transitioning to a new role. The process works.”
“The MDE program really levels the playing field,” adds Palmieri. “It focuses on the skills, level of experience and practical know-how our veterans can bring to jobs at Dow. Who benefits? We all benefit.”
The MDE program continues to be promoted on the corporate intranet homepage, on dow.com/veterans, and on all Dow enterprise social media channels.