Google has had a difficult few months, particularly as it concerns relations with “Middle America” and those right-of-center.
Recent ‘Google No-No’s’ range from dropping a Department of Defense cloud-computing contract at around the same time it expands a censored search engine version into China. It includes a leaked internal video of Google executives disappointed over the election results to emails showing Google staff discussing potentially manipulating search results to fight Trump Administration policies.
Even the middle-of-the-road conservative PragerU has seemingly seen pervasive censorship on Google platforms as President Trump a few weeks ago himself intervened into all the controversies, calling out Google for its alleged search bias.
All of this is why it’s important to acknowledge when Google actually does something that is an example of real assistance to patriotic Americans. Just like how Starbucks’ veterans-hiring spree last year amid its own then-controversies was worthy of praise, so Google recently modifying its search engine functionality to assist veterans exiting the military with their civilian job search is an excellent move that addresses a very important problem in ways that companies like Google are well-positioned to do.
The way it basically seems to work is like this, based on my testing and reading news reports – one enters some variation of the core phrase ‘jobs for veterans’ or whatnot into Google search and it comes up with an extra search bar. This search bar allows one to enter one’s “MOS” code, which specifies what particular occupational specialty one was assigned to in the military.
Upon entering a MOS, Google then takes one to its job opening aggregator database and shows those jobs that specifically aligned with the MOS. For example, in entering “35T,” MOS for “Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer/Integrator,” I see job applications pop up for “Engineering Manager, “ as well as a listing of some general civilian job types that are similar to the MOS such as “Management Analyst” and “Information Security Analyst.” When I enter “11B” for “Infantry,” I see jobs ranging from “Training Manager” to “Supervisor,” and so on and so forth.
In entering a variety of MOS classifications I found just about every MOS I entered returned a substantial amount of results, with additional filters for usability and relevance such as location. Though as with any system it took some getting used to nonetheless I also found it very easy to learn and use for a newly rolled out online system.
Google’s action here is well timed and well done. Among the biggest public policy problems we have in our country today is the extraordinary disruption and difficulty for many veterans after they exit the services and now have to find new work and careers as a civilian.
Often our service-members’ skills in the armed forces are extremely specific and narrow as well as often times being inapplicable, at least directly, to civilian jobs of the same caliber. For example, one may be really good at repairing fighter planes or driving a tank through an urban zone but those skills may only be marketable in civilian life with certain licenses and retraining, which can be harder and more complicated to find and adjust to than it initially seems.
That’s where companies like Google can and should step in. Many companies are extraordinarily well positioned to provide training and assistance through relatively little effort that then makes the military-civilian transition far easier than the shock many veterans report experiencing after leaving the highly regimented military life for the wild chaos of civilian life.
It is not to say that Google is doing this as a charitable service. They are clearly making money off of this, as this drives more traffic to their search engine and provides them with more data collection as well. Nonetheless, that is the theory of capitalism – where profit seeking generally creates the products and services that lift all of us up.
Google has its issues and many are rightly raising concerns in the public discourse over some of their actions and policies, as I myself too have. Yet when I saw news about this veterans’ jobs function it gave me some relief and reminded me again that we are not too far gone from one another to still see initiatives like it.