While the government shutdown has stopped the Bureau of Labor Statistics from issuing new employment reports, ADP’s labor report points to Texas as the top spot for jobs, including those for cleared veterans.

There’s much to be said about cleared careers along the east coast.  But the flip side is also the down side – high cost of living and congested commutes.  Out west, the picture may be more appealing.  In addition to a strong economy that added 22,330 jobs in September, an increasing number of Texas employers are interested in veteran skills and security clearances.

Texas is fourth in the nation among the fastest growing technology employment states, according to TechAmerica Foundation.  It also ranks second for the most high tech jobs.  The largest sector of the economy is currently in oil and gas.  But that’s closely followed by the defense and military sector.  Given the size of the state, there are plenty of options for geography and industry.

San Antonio

Talk about military friendly.  San Antonio is home to Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio Military Medical Center (formerly Brook Army Medical Center) and Brooks City Base.  Their presence has spawned a massive defense community that has built Port San Antonio, an aerospace industrial complex of 70 organizations tailor made for security cleared personnel.  From government agencies to contractors and businesses, the list of names includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Standard Aero, Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics and GSA.

The most recent study of San Antonio’s aerospace industry put the economic impact figure at $5.4 billion, with $678 million paid in wages to 13,600 employees.  Cleared job opportunities also include Kelly Aviation Center, Gore Design Completions, Cessna, M7 Aerospace and Southwest Research Institute.

San Antonio is home to 76,000 veterans and 46,000 returning wounded warriors.  According to the Military Warriors Support Foundation, 60 percent of service members who leave the military while based in San Antonio choose to stay there.  Increasingly, the city is working to ensure that remains the case.  Currently, the city council is considering approval of The Valor Club, an initiative largely aimed at providing veterans with affordable housing, rehabilitation and recreational facilities, the only community of its kind in the nation.

Hot jobs for cleared personnel: Database developers, programmers, systems administrators and IT support.


The Silicon Hills of the west is now ranked by Forbes as the number one city for employment growth and one of the hottest places for new technology jobs.  The concentration of semiconductor companies includes Silicon Laboratories and AMD.  Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple have impacted the city’s technology growth in a major way, but there are plenty of employers looking for tech skills and security clearances: CACI, BAE Systems, Parsons Corporation, KForce Government Solutions and IBM.

Currently, Austin’s cost of living is about seven percent below the national average.  It’s also considered one of the best cities in the nation for entrepreneurs.

Hot jobs for cleared personnel: Enterprise architects, application analysts and cloud system administrators.


It’s not a city – it’s a region spanning Fort Worth, Plano, Grand Prairie and surrounding towns and counties.  It’s known locally as Silicon Prairie.

Cleared job seekers have opportunities at Vought Corporation, Raytheon, L-3 Communications and DRS Technologies.  Then there’s Perot Systems in Plano and two Lockheed Martin divisions in Fort Worth, along with Bell Helicopter Textron.  The Defense Contract Audit Agency has a regional office in Irving, and additional defense contractors include DynCorp, AECOM and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Hot jobs for cleared personnel: Field technicians, contracts managers, software engineers and software analysts.

Salaries may be somewhat lower in Texas compared to the east coast.  On the other hand, the paycheck is elastic.  For example, a cleared software developer in San Antonio earns an average of $78,000 per year.  That same cleared professional in Northern Virginia earns $114,000.  But then there’s the ratio of median home price to median income.  San Antonio’s median home price is $152,000.  In Arlington, it’s $524,000.

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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: Tranette@Ledfordllc.com.