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Veterans help us build a brighter future

12227007_875686085834594_4167551420035970732_n.jpgIn August of 1986, the Boston Red Sox were just two months shy of a heartbreaking loss in the World Series that would haunt them and their fans for another two decades. That is also when 18-year-old Dennis Arnold joined the United States Army. Fast forward 31 years and Master Sergeant Dennis Arnold is now retired from a fulfilling career in the military, is working at Northern Light Health as a recruiter in Talent Acquisition, and the Boston Red Sox just won their fourth World Series in 14 years. The future is looking brighter all around.

Dennis chose Northern Light Health over four other job offers he had when he left the military and returned to civilian life. “Northern Light Health’s values are like the Army’s—we both believe in integrity and respect,” he said.

With this transition, Dennis faced some substantial adjustments and cultural differences. “In the military, everything’s about the team; whereas, in the civilian world, there’s more emphasis on individual achievement. It’s not to say there isn’t any teamwork in the civilian sector, but the emphasis is greater on teamwork in the military.”

Dennis has been a recruiter for Northern Light Health since March 2017, a position he also held during much of his time in the Army. As part of his work, he now helps educate hiring managers about military culture before they interview job candidates who are veterans.

“A lot of employers, if they have no military experience, may not understand how to talk to veterans because they don’t understand the culture—that’s where I come in.”

Dennis takes part in training sessions that were developed by the Hire-A-Vet Campaign committee called Military Culture 101 and 202. He has taken part in training events in Augusta and Portland and is expected to participate in one in Bangor in December. Dennis works closely with Robin Doody, a talent acquisition specialist for Northern Light Health, who also serves on the State Workforce Board veteran committee and is also a member of the Hire-A-Vet Campaign committee. 
“As a member of the Hire-A-Vet Campaign committee, it gives me great pleasure to share Northern Light Health’s mission, vision, and values with veterans on this committee,” Robin said. Northern Light Health has been a part of the Hire-A-Vet campaign since its inception here in Maine in 2015. The goal of the program is to hire 100 veterans in 100 days each year. In 2017, 154 employers hired 296 veterans, and Northern Light Health was among the top five companies that hired veterans.

Northern Light Health is also the only Maine company involved in the Army PaYS program which guarantees an interview to qualified veterans after their military service. Dennis was instrumental in bringing the program here. “When I first got in here, I knew about it because of my job as a military recruiter. I got approval to move ahead with this and our leadership couldn’t jump fast enough, and that was great.”

Northern Light Health’s commitment to veterans doesn’t end there. Lisa Harvey-McPherson, RN, MBA, MPPM, vice president of Government Relations, has been instrumental in passing LD 1327 into law.  That legislation allows military medical personnel to apply their military medical training toward licenses required for civilian jobs in nursing and paramedicine.   

“That legislation not only helps veterans obtain civilian jobs that put their military training to use, but it also helps us address staffing shortages, particularly among medical assistants,” Lisa said. 

Currently, Northern Light Health employs 411 veterans throughout the system. They are people like Dennis Arnold, who are eager to roll up their sleeves and help us create a better future for the people of Maine whether they’re civilian or military.