Will USAF Be There For My DS At The End?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by John41057, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. John41057

    John41057 Member

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    Hi
    Reading some of the most recent posts brings me to a question. I have been around the patch a time or two but from the post I read it could be a very real possibility that upon graduation from the academy there may not be a spot for my DS, what with all the mandated cutbacks and more officers staying in due to the job market.
    How real is this possibility? Is there any chance that if he is doing good at the academy that he will not be allowed to graduate? All this talk concerns me as he has turned down some very fine universities to follow his dream of an academy education and career.
    What is the likelihood that after graduation he may be told to just enter the reserves? All this talk about separations and such concerns me as I confess to not having much faith in my government following through on promises. I guess the old enlisted in me comes out.
    Regards
    John
     
  2. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    During parents weekend, the head of the engineering department talked to the parents. During that conversation he addressed future cutbacks. His personal recommendation was to pick a more technical degree. He reasoned that in his humble opinion, the more technical disciplines would be the last to be cut. In other words, engineering majors were more marketable in the years to come.

    It was hard to argue with that logic. I'm not saying that business administrative majors are not needed. But the technical degrees will have less to worry about.
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Not sure anyone can truly answser the first question, although it's probably more likely that, while all will graduate and serve, there will be increased thinning of the officer ranks meaning that your opportunity to serve 20 yrs will be VERY difficult absent a stellar career.

    That said, a USAFA degree will ALWAYS stand him in great stead wherever he ends up in life. Do not worry that it will pale in any way to a degree from a civilian college. As you know, many SA grads end up leaving the military and doing extremely well, based on their degrees, their SA experience and their military experience.

    What I'm saying is that no one can predict how the military will shake out another 5-10 years from now and beyond. What you can be sure of is that a USAFA education will only help your son and that very few, if any, SA grads regret their decision to attend a SA.
     
  4. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    The old enlisted man in you is wise. Based on "needs of the service" and the "pleasure of the President", the military will do anything it wants. And there have been times in history when Academy grads were GRADUATED but not COMMISSIONED----there is a big difference. The worst that could possibly happen is your son graduates with a free education from one of the world's best leadership schools with a top tier academic major and he goes into civilian life as a primo job applicant. Don't worry, he won't be so lucky......Uncle Sam will want his body. Good luck to him in any case.

    Interestingly, on another thread the Pentagon is whining about losing all their junior officers at the 5 year mark.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    As spud mentioned; what's the WORST thing that can happen? Your son graduates from the academy, and immediately is told: "Never mind. Don't worry about the $400,000+ education. That's free. You don't have any student loans. You got a degree from a Top-10 university. Go have a nice life".

    Not too shabby. Yes, he might not get the initial career he wanted, but there was no guarantee of him getting a job if he graduates from a traditional University either. The difference is; with a traditional university, even with a scholarship, there's a lot more expense than there is by going to a military academy.

    As far as your major goes; I sort of disagree that a technical degree will be last to be cut. You can be a pilot with a degree in English. And if you make it to being a pilot, that additional cost for training is going to make you the last to be cut. The major you choose, you should choose based on what you are interested in and want to do years from now. If they are going to tell a person the day after graduating the academy; "No thanks, have a nice life"; it won't matter if you're an aero engineering major or english major. It cost them the say amount of money to get you through the academy. Now; additional training after graduating is a totally different subject.

    Personally; the academy isn't that stupid. This is not the first time there's been cutbacks. Pilots make up usually 50% of the graduating class; YET, there have been years where the academy told the cadets; NONE OF YOU ARE GOING TO BE PILOTS!!! So, I see the academies taking in fewer cadets. I see them limiting certain career fields from what the cadets can choose from. I see certain jobs in certain year groups not being allowed to stay in the military. But I don't see a lot of problems for those who are actually attending the academy and for the first 5 years after graduating. Even the air force doesn't intentionally spend that much money for a college degree just to let the person walk out. They'd rather bring in less initially.
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    So someone from the engineering department said "get an engineering degree"... well now, couldn't have predicted that.



    In all seriousness, odds are in his favor there will be a job with the U.S. Air Force at the end of the road... or we should close AFA now.

    Worst thing that could happen? He graduates and doesn't have a commission. Instead he enters the large group of unemployeed folks, looking for jobs. He doesn't have any experience, but he did go to a good school. It may not be the pay he's hoping for, by it's a pay check IF he finds a job.

    He'll have 5 point veteran preferance (why, I have no idea) but that won't be a HUGE help in a federal government that isn't hiring, and the competition with 10-point vets that will be flooding the market.

    Save. Figure out what he wants to do IF it's not USAF.... but I'm willing to bet all of that concern is for nothing, and he has a Zoomie job at the end of the day.
     
  7. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    idk LITH quite a few of the people I know that graduated from regular schools in the last 2-9 years have great jobs. Those that spent time in the mil but got out after their years required are in a not the right job and still looking or need a job. Its like HR doesn't want them.
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You can get a degree from the greatest school in the country. If it's not a degree in a major that you can excel at or has a large job market, then it doesn't matter. I don't buy the excuse that ex-military can't get a good job because HR doesn't want them. That's just an excuse by people who didn't excel; have an education but no marketable skills; or don't know how to apply for a job. Remember; whether you're talking about Harvard, Yale, Air Force, Stanford, or any other high end university; there are still those who graduated at the BOTTOM of their class. And coming out of the military, there will still be those who have very few skills.

    While being an air force pilot can be a very prestigious and exciting career in the military, unless you plan on pursuing a civilian career as a pilot, what other skills do you have? What if your undergraduate degree from the academy was in English? What if you got a degree in Military Studies and became an infantry officer? What other skills are you going to bring to the job search? No; if an ex-military has a problem finding a job, it's not because of the education they got at the academy. Or because they were in the military. It's the limitations on skills that they learned. Skills and education are 2 different things.
     
  9. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Allow me to tell a personal story...

    In 1986, the tech market in MN was TERRIBLE. Control Data, Unisys, and Honeywell had massive layoffs. Technician and engineering unemployment was somewhere around 25%-30% in the Twin Cities.

    So the options for the unemployed were: move, get another job, charge careers, or start a new business. Hundreds of tech type people started there own business and many flourished. Those business turned into a mini Silicon Valley and put MN on the tech map.

    In the mid 90's, I got laid off from Honeywell when the division went from 2000 to 280 people. It forced me to rethink what I wanted so I started my own business. Since then, I've never had an urge to lay myself off.:wink:

    There is no shortage of Academy grads that start their own business. In today's market, even if you don't want to start your own business, you simply need to outperform 90% of the other workers (unemployment is under 10%). Simply put, make sure you outperform the others. The Academy lessons are to work under sever pressure and recognize that failure isn't an option. IMHO, 10% unemployment shouldn't be a concern for an Academy grad.
     
  10. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    Great story Dad (25-30%?, wow). I also seen (know) other AFAs succeed at starting up (or taking over a company). Including the others (MMA, etc).


    Always agree with you Christcorp, great post! idk, there are some in private sector that I keep on the low about mil life. Yes, the ones having trouble seem like the ones lacking 'skills' and as Dad says that 'do it' factor. Some seem like thay went in for the wrong reasons. I have though seen a lot succeed with an English or Bus Mgt degree, Dad gave a great example.
     
  11. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    The AFA academy has a few crown jewel programs that are ripe for starting a business in the private sector. For instance, consider http://www.usafa.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123252942 . The USAFA always finishes high in the cyber warfare competition world-wide. Do you know how much money there is to be made for a company that designs highend firewalls for banks etc?:eek: If I had that skill set and was on that team, I'd be looking at my AFA classmates to start a business as a group of consultants. It's extremely lucrative if your resume includes being on that prestigious CyberWarfare team. :cool: They have some serous brainiacs on that team.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Probably not the best example or story, but here goes. First, for those who don't know me personally, I retired from the air force as an enlisted NCO. So no, I didn't have an academy degree. (Yes, I do have degrees, just clarifying that it wasn't from a military academy). Anyway, when I was retiring, we went through a TAP briefing. (Transition Assistance Program). There were enlisted and officers going through this. Some retiring and some leaving after 4, 6, 8... years. Arrogance aside, I consider my "Skill" level very high. Long story short. 3 of us; me and 2 officers (Both retiring after 20 years of service), wound up getting hired by the same company. The position I got there was a much higher paid salary job than both of them. And a few years later when the company we worked for merged with another competitor company, and there were layoffs because of consolidations, BOTH of those retired officers were let go. I still had my job there, along with a promotion and pay raise.

    What was the difference? Skills!!! Both officers were basically trained to be managers. They worked their way up from being administrative type officers, to executive officers, to commanding officers. As a senior NCO, I too had "Management Skills". The employer didn't see a big difference. However; I also had skills as an engineer, designer, and technician in the telecommunication field. I had hands on skills. I also had a lot more skills with computers, mechanics, electrical, electronics, etc... Besides degrees, "Which I have 3 of", I also had FCC licenses, electrical licenses, RF certifications, etc... This is why I was much more desirable in the work force.

    This is not to say that all military officers are destined to only have the skills as an executive. On the contrary. I have many friends who are retired military officers who developed many additional skills during their careers. Many skills developed through hobbies and interests. Some for financial gains. E.g. Certain F-15 pilot friend of mine loved working on fixing up homes. He became an excellent carpenter, plumber, electrician; and even got his real estate license. Another pilot friend of mine got into the computer bug with me back starting in 1980 when they were really new. By the time we both retired in 1999, there wasn't anything he and I couldn't really do with a computer. Networking, wiring, hardware, software, operating systems, etc... He too had no problem finding a good job. On the other hand, another retired Communications Officers had no additional skills. All he ever knew was how to be an administrative type officer. The skill set of many of these officers are the same, no matter what their job was. In other words, a communication officer doesn't know how to install satellite equipment, microwave equipment, radio equipment, telephone equipment, etc... They know how to be an executive. Many officer jobs are that way.

    So basically, if a person develops a good set of "SKILLS", they can definitely find a good job. 20+ years in the military; college degrees; top universities like the academies; etc... show that you have the discipline and have the academic skills to succeed. That's why college grads and ex-military are looked at so seriously. The employer knows they are probably getting an employee with work ethics who doesn't quit something they've started. But that isn't enough. You have to have skills. I.e. An individual with a degree from a community college with many years of practical skills and experience will have better employment opportunities than the Harvard grad with a master's degree and very little skills or experience. And just because you are a military officer doesn't mean that you can't develop many useful skills that will help you when you get out of the military. The majority do it every day. And if you have skills and experiences; which you can stack on top of an academy education; then you get the best of all worlds. You are then part of the top-10%. You'll never have a problem finding a job.
     
  13. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Say an academy grad with an engineering degree gets out after 5 years. What kind of an engineering position would they be looking for? They may not have been doing a lot of engineering work as a junior officer so their engineering skills may be a bit stale compared to a new engineering grad. Since they have not been practicing engineering daily they are probably less experienced in engineering than the 5 year civilian graduate. They have probably learned how to work and get things done under pressure as well as manage multiple responsibilities and people.

    Looking for a little insight into where they are likely to be a good fit in the civilian world.
     
  14. catchthefever

    catchthefever Member

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    I agree with Christcorp on all counts. And as for HR not being interested ... I would say that in my experience, quite the opposite is true:

    With other major employers, J.P. Morgan Chase launched the 100,000 Jobs Mission with the goal to collectively hire 100,000 veterans by 2020. Since its launch in March 2011, the coalition has grown to 91 participating organizations who have collectively hired 28,186 veterans through September 30, 2012. For more information, visit http://www.100000jobsmission.com or http://www.Facebook.com/100000JobsMission.

    IMPO, there is nothing to lose and everything to be gained by having a degree from a service academy on your resume.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Assuming this is a serious question... managing engineers somewhere? You don't need to be at the absolute top of your technical game to manage technical folks. You need to be able to make rational assessments of the workload and know when someone is giving you a snow job. Assessment of others, directing available resources, assessing the current status/situation, and making decisions under stress (or no stress) is far more important. At least it was when I managed software engineers.

    Actually, as engineers are problem solvers I would think a 5 and dive could get a job leading any technical group and not just engineers.

    Of course if your question was in reference to the economy, then who knows? 5 years from now the best jobs available might be selling apples on the street corner.
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm a little mixed.

    If you think an academy education is a sure ticket, this job market could be painful. That said, academies are great networks, so it can certainly open doors.

    The industry you're in also matters. I served in the Coast Guard for five years. I responded to a big PR mess. I had a TS clearance, and when I got out I well on my way to a master's degree.

    People told me I was set. I had five interviews my first week on terminal leave.

    I found it far more difficult in the end, than I had originally imagined. First, a TS clearance isn't what employers want, they want TS-SCI. Second, there are plenty of veterans out there, and many senior to me.

    No everyone knows with a service academy is. Not everyone thinks it's a big deal. Finally, not everyone is comfortable hiring a dumb ole veteran.

    After giving up on GS jobs (during a hiring slow down and freeze in 2011), I started looking at the private sector.

    There are entire industries built around the federal government. So, there ARE contractors willing to gobble up officers and senior enlisted. Booz Allen Hamilton called me the day after I applied. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I had received an offer from a small PR firm before Booz came around with an offer. My boss at the firm was a CGA grad from the 1980s. I was on a Dept. of Homeland Security account.... why? Because I had worked in the fed. govt. in DHS since 2003 (yes, as a cadet for some of that, but I still got the pin! :wink:) Not sure I would have had the same appeal if my entire experience came from my time as a cadet. (and this was in DC....which is a bit of a hiring bubble!)

    After six months with a miserable fed boss who oversaw our contract, I was recruited somewhere else, and I took that offer.

    Where I work now isn't associated with the military. While there are some veterans, it isn't veteran-heavy. It's in an entirely different industry.



    So, yes, you graduate and serve, you'll have options, but we CAN overstate how many options or how quickly they come.

    In some industries, there is a stigma surrounding veterans.

    In some industries, they can't get enough veterans.

    Graduating from USAFA will allow for some doors to be opened, but you have to be the one to open them. It's not an easy job market, and if you're coming straight out, all you have to rest on is a diploma (and lots of people looking for jobs have one or more diplomas).
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  17. dcmom3

    dcmom3 Member

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    I find these posts very interesting as my DD makes her decision between USAFA and USMMA. We have discussed many of the things mentioned in this thread.
     
  18. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Agree with this but in most of the places I have been 5 years is still a bit green for management and in the current economic climate I wonder how many of those positions there are. The former AFA graduates I know have not struggled to find employment but I do not personally know any that have gotten out during the current economic downturn.
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    You may be right but then there is already some level of management experience here. Maybe a staff job for starters? I certainly agree that this economy makes is an upstream swim against a strong current.
     
  20. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    I work in the Engineering/Construction world. Most likely after a 5 and dive, they would start out at a Project Engineer position. They could end up as a Project Manager, maybe even start out as one, but with out practical engineering experience, they most likely won't start as an engineering manager.
     

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