The pathway to a civilian career in behavioral health
“At a point in my career, after 27 years in the Army living on five out of seven continents, I knew I didn’t want to move again so I made the decision that it was time to retire,” said retired Col. Patrick Walsh, human performance account manager. “But I had never done anything or thought about a job outside of the military since I was 18 years old.”
“I knew what I would like to do, but I had no idea how I was going to get there.”
Walsh’s transition to civilian life was not dissimilar to many veterans, he explained. “There’s no trial period after you leave the military.” Luckily for Walsh, he was accepted into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes corporate fellowship program, which he considers a “12-week learning event.” The program offers professional training, job search guidance, and hands-on experience to transitioning service members and military spouses. Leidos serves as a partner of the Hiring Our Heroes program, reinforcing our commitment to hiring veterans and military spouses.
Nearly 20% of our employees are military veterans and the number is always growing, as we strive to hire 20 military spouses and 2,000 veterans in 2021 through Operation MVP. We’ve even been named a military-friendly company and military-friendly spouse employer by Military Friendly. With such commitment to the military in our business and our workforce, it’s no wonder that MilitaryTimes considers us a Best for Vets Employer. “I’m appreciative that I can say ‘I know one of the spouses hired through the military spouse employment program’ or ‘I know a veteran that was hired.’ Because whether you served or not, cultural fit factors into the decision of joining a company,” Walsh explained. “Culture is important and so is the Leidos platform in the military-veteran population.”
Our work in behavioral health
Our affinity with the military doesn’t end with our workforce. Military readiness is a core part of the business, too. We’re focused on human performance – supporting the readiness, performance, resilience, and wellness of service members – and preparing them and their families for success throughout their life cycle of service and their transition to civilian life. Furthermore, with our partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) through the Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC) program, we provide nonmedical counseling to service members and their families to ease the unique stresses of military life. “Through the MFLC program, we help service members and their families both behaviorally and psychologically to keep their families strong,” said Walsh.
Military Alliance Group community
In addition to Walsh’s involvement in Leidos' human performance programs, he is a member of the Military Alliance Group (MAG) employee resource group at Leidos. “What I like about being a member of an employee resource group is you are surrounded by people who are similar to who you are as a person and your own values, beliefs, and culture, and that nurtures the Leidos value of inclusion,” said Walsh. “The MAG makes me feel connected to a community tied to my Army roots and I never want to lose that community.”
For Walsh, the idea of losing the community of like-minded veterans around him creates a fear of losing an identity, making him question his background and beliefs. In his final role in the Army, he was responsible for the Army’s suicide prevention, substance abuse, comprehensive soldier fitness, and resiliency programs. He balanced this assignment while recovering from his own trauma and concussive injuries caused by blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). His experience inspired his passion in finding solutions for behavioral health performance programs. “I realized I can’t live that life (in the Army) forever, I was wound tighter than a rubber band,” Walsh chuckled. “Mental health is one of the components of your total fitness, as are nutrition, sleep, and physical activity, amongst others, and like many people, I needed to balance and limit my stress.”
Patrick Walsh is one of the 7,700 valued employees that have served in the military and many more are pursuing challenging and rewarding civilian career every day. So although May is Military Appreciation Month, Leidos appreciates the military and veteran community year-round.
Happy Memorial Day and Military Appreciation Month.