Sandia Labs News Releases

Veterans hired at Sandia Labs triples over past year

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The number of military veterans hired at Sandia tripled the last fiscal year, and marked the highest veteran hiring rate in the history of Sandia National Laboratories.

As part of a broader laboratories recruiting strategy, Sandia engaged in a new deliberate and strategic military veteran hiring initiative that paid off. Sandia hired about 240 military veterans between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018, a total of about 13 percent of all hires, said David Martinez, manager of Sandia’s recruiting and student internship programs. Last year, Sandia hired about 70 veterans, a total of about 5 percent of all hires.

“Veteran hiring is a tremendous opportunity for the laboratories as we pursue excellence in our missions,” said Associate Labs Director Michael Burns. “They have dedicated themselves to national security, have tremendous teamworking skills, have proven success in a myriad of skills needed by the laboratories and often possess applicable security clearances.”

The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance established a military hiring goal of 6.7 percent of all people hired, Martinez said. The last time Sandia met the goal, which is not a federal requirement, was in 2015.

“It takes a vibrant community to get these kinds of results and this has been a labswide effort. We’ve had a lot of support, engagement and focus,” Martinez said.

Veteran recruiting initiative takes shape

Marine Corps veteran Bennie Yazza was honored with all Sandia veterans at an annual celebration at Sandia National Laboratories on Monday. Yazza served in the Marines from 1974 to 1995 and has been a labs employee for 38 years. While Sandia has long attempted to recruit military veterans, the labs developed a strategic hiring initiative that led to triple the number of veterans hired in the last fiscal year. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

“In the broadest sense, hiring more veterans brings diversity of perspective, experience and skills to the labs,” Martinez said. “Diversity is an essential element of Sandia’s workforce and it needs to be a vital part of our future. Veterans are an essential part of that.”

While Sandia has long attempted to recruit military veterans, Martinez said, there wasn’t a formal strategy associated with these efforts. Beginning in early February, Sandia started working on the veteran hiring initiative.

“When I learned we had increased our veterans hiring by such a high margin, I was thrilled,” said Carol Manzanares, senior manager of Talent Acquisition. “Our veteran hiring strategy will be vital to our ability to meet the current and future workforce needs of Sandia.”

The strategy includes several areas of focus:

  • Local engagement: Sandia works with military bases around the state to recruit veterans. New Mexico has a rich military presence at Kirtland, Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases, the White Sands Missile Range, and the 1st Armored Division in El Paso, Texas. The Army National Guard and Reserve are represented throughout New Mexico as well. There is also a large veteran population who retired or separated from the military.
  • National reach: Sandia teams with other military sites around the nation to place talent. Each military branch has a service academy and all service men and women graduate with a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field. Some military members later obtain master’s degrees and doctorates, and most have security clearances, which are required for most jobs at Sandia, and years of applicable technical and leadership experience. Job placement conferences take place around the country to help veterans find employment after individual service commitments are satisfied. Sandia recruiting specialists partnered with service academy alumni who work at the labs to build teams to attract veterans and attend conferences.
  • Academic focus: Colleges have Veterans Resource Offices that assist veterans with academic goals. Veteran students often have previous education, experience and clearances as well. Sandia recruiters worked with these offices and attended the annual Student Veterans of America Conference.

‘An employer of choice for veterans’

Veterans looking to work at Sandia can visit the Labs’ Careers website to view all job postings. Within the application process, they can disclose military service. Martinez said veterans should try to make sure their resumes reflect the experiences and skills they gained while serving the country and highlight applicable education and training.

Burns added, “Sandia can provide veterans the prospect of continued contributions to the nation in an exciting technical environment that has long been associated with the military community. We hope to be an employer of choice for veterans.”

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

Sandia news media contact: Manette Fisher,, 505-844-1742