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Inclusion Case Study: Providing Different Pathways into the Digital Infrastructure Industry

Based on an interview with Lee Kirby, Chairman & Co-Founder of Salute

Salute specializes in bringing ex-Armed Forces and military spouses into the industry, can you share a bit more about what you do?

In the US alone, 250,000 veterans transition out of active duty each year and continue to face the challenges of finding meaningful employment.

Unfortunately, only about 20 to 30% of those possess the technical skill set that aligns with the opportunities offered within the data center industry. This leaves a substantial portion of under-skilled veterans searching for pathways into the industry.

This is where Salute rises to meet the challenge. Our mission is to re-skill these veterans where necessary, providing them with the technical know-how, guidance, and mentorship to thrive in the industry. Our sustaining goal is to facilitate their integration into the workforce, enriching the industry and providing lasting, meaningful employment opportunities.

The discipline, problem-solving and leadership skills gained in the military are the basis of the Salute culture and drive the quality and efficiency of our solutions. As a leading global provider of comprehensive data center services, we provide end-to-end solutions to hyperscale, colocation, and edge leaders around the world. At Salute, we specialize in critical facility management, ensuring the sustainable operation of data centers with unparalleled precision derived from our collective mission critical pedigree.

By entrusting us as their sole partner for outsourcing these services, our clients can significantly reduce OpEx while mitigating risks. Through our expertise and commitment to excellence, we enable organizations to optimize their data center operations and achieve greater efficiency.

What benefits does it bring to hire ex-Armed Forces?

At the forefront of our advocacy for hiring veterans is the exceptional value they bring to the industry through their invaluable experience and extensive leadership training.

Veterans acquire a distinctive and unparalleled skill set during their military careers, encompassing traits such as discipline, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. Veterans also show greater levels of diversity than traditional talent pipelines and, because they have a different background than most in the industry, they bring creative and innovative perspectives to the challenges the industry faces.

What do you do to attract candidates from the Armed Forces to the industry?

Our primary objective has always been to achieve a population that consists of a majority of the military community.

This is how we prioritize hiring the military community:

  • Dedicated Veteran and Military Spouse Recruitment Programs: We have established targeted recruitment programs designed to attract and hire veterans and military spouses. These programs often include partnerships with veteran-focused organizations, attending military job fairs, and hosting recruitment events specifically tailored to the veteran community.
  • Skill Translation and Training: We recognize the valuable skills and experiences that veterans and military spouses bring to the table. We invest in programs to help translate military skills into civilian equivalents and provide additional training or support to ease the transition into the corporate environment.
  • Resource Networks and Affinity Groups: We have created networks and affinity groups for veterans and military spouses within the company that foster a sense of community and support. These groups offer mentorship, networking opportunities, and a platform for sharing experiences and knowledge.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Recognizing the unique challenges faced by military spouses, we offer flexible work arrangements such as remote work options, flexible scheduling, or accommodating frequent relocations.
  • Recognition and Awards: We actively participate in veteran recognition programs, awards, and rankings to showcase our commitment to hiring and supporting veterans and military spouses. These accolades can attract and retain top veteran talent.

Can you say a bit more about what you do to integrate ex-Armed Forces people into the industry?

We have partnered with the DOD SkillBridge program to support the military community by facilitating a successful transition from military service to civilian careers. This invaluable initiative enables active-duty service members to engage in civilian job training and apprenticeship programs during the final phase of their military service.

When people then join us, our progressive workforce development model is key to equipping our team members for success. An integrated training program includes both common core and a graduate curriculum based on individual skills and experience. Some join us with minimal technical expertise, as they have been in non-technical roles in the military and our training accommodates remedial steps to gain the required knowledge to proceed through the training. The curriculum encompasses all aspects of data center safety, equipment, facilities, security, operations, maintenance, incident handling and response, deployment, and decommissioning.

Next, every junior-level candidate looking to serve as a data center technician completes a 90-day foundational program. That’s in addition to the continuous development of our people throughout their career with us. In every case, our training programs are purpose-built to develop specific technical competencies, augmenting our culture and the foundational skill sets our veterans build in the military.

What results have you achieved in attracting ex-Armed Forces?

We have trained and supported over 4,000 military community members in their career search and are now in more than 11 countries as we continue to develop new global operations in support of our client’s continued expansion. Our outreach program has raised the visibility of our industry in the military community and contributed to tens of thousands of veterans and military spouses entering our industry. Our clients deeply appreciate the program as it not only provides them with exceptional service quality but also allows them to make a positive impact on society simultaneously.  

“We take great pride in the inclusivity of our program and have the privilege of empowering veterans and military spouses from over 14 countries across our workforce.”

Salute Mission Critical is a global Data Center services company that delivers a new operating model that is agile, resilient, and scalable. Salute delivers world-class services to the fastest-growing data center companies in the industry. 
Salute Mission Critical is an iMasons Strategic Partner.

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