Connecting Service Members to Civilian Careers

For many members of the military, serving their country is a calling. It’s something they’re drawn to do. Both Brian Baumgarten and Steven Galioto joined the U.S. Air Force following in the footsteps of family members who had previously served in the Armed Forces.

Baumgarten served for just under 12 years as a pilot, as well as an instructor pilot, director of staff and scheduling officer.

Baumgarten flying a B-1 on a mission.

“I did a little bit of everything while I was in, alongside flying,” he said. “My grandfather was a pilot for the Marine Corps during World War II, and I had the flying bug from when I was really little, so that’s what I wanted to do with my life.”

For Galioto, his ten years of service was spent as a warranted contracting officer to support the various needs of military bases. He wasn’t sure what he’d do when he enlisted, but he knew the Air Force was where he was meant to be.

“My sister joined the Air Force around 9/11, just shortly after, and so I got to go to her basic graduation. Also, my grandfather was in and my uncle. My family really inspired me to join,” said Galioto.

Ready for a New Chapter

Fast forward after a decade-plus dedicated to their country, and both Baumgarten and Galioto knew it was time for something new. But a lot of unknown comes with making the transition to civilian life and the civilian workforce.

“I had some time to prepare for it, but I really didn't know what was waiting on the other side. When you’re in the military, everything is basically taken care of for you and paths are laid out for you. Housing, job security, family resources, all that stuff is written down on paper and it's easy to follow,” said Baumgarten.

When the search for a potential career on the outside begins, there’s also a lot of uncertainty on how military skills will translate to a civilian job. Technical expertise listed on job postings often doesn’t match up and it can be discouraging. When submitting a resume or interviewing, Veterans must be creative in showcasing their skills for hiring managers and how they’re a good fit for a role. As Baumgarten and Galioto found out, it is often undersold how much experience military members have with technology, for example, when, in reality, it really comes with the territory of their work.

Galioto hugging his wife.

“Everyone put this expectation that, since you don't have the exact experience, it's going to be tough. That's why I love the SkillBridge program because it allowed me to be like, yeah it is aerospace, but the fundamentals are still there. The soft skills that we learn in the military are extremely useful here,” said Galioto.

As his and Baumgarten’s time in the service neared an end, they each found their next move with the Ball Aerospace SkillBridge Program. The program gives Active Duty military members a chance to gain valuable work experience through specific industry training and development before they’re even finished with their time in the military. Active Duty military can participate anytime during their final 180 days of service and the goal is to ultimately have participants join Ball Aerospace full time after completing the program.

“It gives us an opportunity to bring them in, show them the culture at Ball Aerospace and everything the company has to offer. We’re able to bring them in before they get close to their End of Active Service or End of Active Obligated Service date when they have resumes going out in every direction and other companies are trying to bring them onboard,” said Scott McNary, a Human Resources specialist for talent acquisition.

McNary, a Veteran himself, spent five years in the Marine Corps as an electronics technician. His career outside of the military led him to now being the primary recruiter for the Ball Aerospace SkillBridge Program, helping to bridge the gap for Service Members in search of a civilian career.

“We try to ensure hiring managers understand military Veterans, maybe they have one or two on their team or they have worked with them in the past. We have so many Veterans at Ball Aerospace and we want to make sure that it's a good situation for everybody involved. Ideally, a hiring manager is going to already have a general understanding of what they bring to the company,” added McNary.

Finding Belonging at Ball

During their time in the Ball Aerospace SkillBridge Program, both Baumgarten and Galioto hit the ground running and quickly discovered where their military skills were beneficial to their work and where there was room for growth. Baumgarten was hired on full time in 2021 as a project engineer after about five months in the program.

“I don’t like doing the same thing every day and my role as project engineer is exactly that. A lot of different things and always something new,” he said. “My team is also a large percentage of Veterans, which I really enjoy working with, as well as working in aerospace and defense in general.”

After his time in SkillBridge, Galioto was also hired on in 2021 as a subcontract lead for Ball Aerospace’s Integrated Supply Chain function. He’s since transitioned to work in contracts.

“When I wanted to transfer to the contracts side of things, management was very supportive of me and the team that I'm part of now was excited to bring me over. There’s a lot of understanding of where people can bring value to the organization,” said Galioto.

Both Baumgarten and Galioto feel that they’ve settled into the civilian workforce nicely and are enjoying the work-life balance and flexibility of their careers. They recommend the SkillBridge Program to others they know who are considering the move to the civilian workforce.

“The more Veterans that Ball can get in the door through this program, the better,” said Baumgarten.

Military members who are considering participating, can visit the Ball Aerospace SkillBridge Program page to learn more and search our careers site to see what positions may be of interest. Then, please submit your online application for those positions and include a reference to the SkillBridge Program. Finally, fill out this SkillBridge application form with all of the requested information.

A Culture of Comradery

At Ball, the transition process for veterans does not end upon finding civilian employment. Our Veterans Ball Network was established to provide opportunities to build community and camaraderie for veterans and non-veterans within our organization. This is done through advocacy, engagement, education and community outreach. To learn more about the Ball Networks and Interest Groups, click here.

Thank you to all members of our nation’s Armed Forces past and present for your service and sacrifice!