Winter 2018/Spring 2015

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Diversity/Careers Winter 2018/Spring 2015 Issue

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News & Views
Veterans in action

Veterans in Action

Freddie Mac welcomes second VETS squad to company

McLean, VA � The transition to civilian life can be a challenge for new veterans who, after serving their country in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, face higher unemployment rates than non-veterans. Through the new VETS program, Freddie Mac (McLean, VA) provides IT jobs that can help launch civilian careers for veterans.

The New York company Sharp Decisions (New York, NY) recently launched Vocations, Education and Training for Service Members (VETS) after a year-long pilot program that trained and placed veterans in tech positions at companies like Freddie Mac. During an intensive month of training on software testing, veterans are paid by Sharp as salaried employees with benefits.

At a recent training session, VP Tim Snyder, Freddie Mac�s head of software testing, welcomed the second group of veterans to Freddie Mac. Snyder himself is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. �We�re delighted to hire even more veterans through this program to give them an opportunity to launch new careers,� says Snyder. �Our first team of vets hit the deck running to help us deliver a major software project ahead of schedule.�

The vets hired are deployed as a squad when they join Freddie Mac. For the first four months on the job they work together as a team, with a unit leader, on one large project. This aspect of the VETS program provides a built-in support system that helps the veterans acclimate to a new work environment. �The vets are focused and understand what they have to learn and do to get the job done,� Snyder says.

Sharp Decisions CEO and program founder Karen Ross says, �Military veterans are tech-savvy. They have experience with the technology of warfare. They�ve worked on command control systems and platforms that are transferable into the strategic software technology industry.

�We�re excited to expand our partnership with Freddie Mac to continue the success of an innovative model to provide jobs for veterans.�

iHeartRadio Show Your Stripes Alliance helps veterans find jobs at military-friendly businesses

San Antonio, TX � The iHeartRadio Alliance has brought in more than 150,000 job applications to a wide variety of companies through website showyourstripes.org.

The website offers veterans access to 70,000 military-friendly jobs and offers businesses the opportunity to post jobs specifically geared toward veterans� skills.

iHeartRadio is an Internet radio platform owned by Clear Channel Broadcasting, Inc (San Antonio, TX). iHeartRadio�s Show Your Stripes website showcases stories of veterans successfully finding employment with vet-friendly companies. The campaign also draws on Clear Channel�s outdoor, radio and digital platforms to draw national attention to the crisis of veteran unemployment.

iHeartRadio Show Your Stripes has been supported by more than $100 million worth of Clear Channel media since June 2013.

The iHeartRadio Show Your Stripes Alliance is a coalition of businesses that have been identified as being military- friendly and have already experienced success in hiring veterans. Approximately 3,000 national and local businesses have signed up with the alliance. Among the participating national companies are Coca-Cola, Walmart, Target, GE and FedEx.

�According to Monster.com�s 2018 Veterans Talent Index, the top twentyfive most popular jobs include several in key technical and engineering industries that require advanced training and a technical focus. iHeartRadio Show Your Stripes uses the power of radio, digital and out-of-home advertising to help connect veteran-friendly businesses in these fields and beyond with job-seeking veterans who want to put their skills to work,� says Kevin Wong, Clear Channel senior associate for marketing and communications.

Clear Channel Outdoor is one of the world�s largest outdoor advertising companies, with more than 750,000 displays in over forty countries across five continents. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment serves 150 markets through 840 owned radio stations, which reach 245 million listeners monthly. iHeartRadio is Clear Channel�s digital radio service with more than 345 million downloads.

Clear Channel has engaged artists across all music and entertainment genres to record a series of public service announcements that showcase stories from veterans who have successfully found jobs. The celebrities have also provided personal input on the importance of hiring veterans, and have been featured in a series of digital displays with the same theme across the U.S., including one at New York�s Times Square.

St Jude honored for supporting military personnel

Memphis, TN � St. Jude Children�s Research Hospital has been named one of fifteen recipients of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom award. The awards are presented annually by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense, and honors employers for their exceptional support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

�We deeply appreciate our employees who serve in the military for their contributions to the St. Jude mission and to our country,� said James R. Downing, MD, St. Jude president and CEO. �We are honored to receive this recognition and gratified to know that our employees appreciate our support of them and their families during times of deployment.�

Among the 2018 honorees, in addition to St. Jude, were Arizona Public Service, AT&T;, Capital One, General Mills, PNC Bank and several local and regional businesses and civic organizations.

The fifteen honorees were selected from among 2,864 U.S. corporations that were nominated by their employees who serve in the guard or reserve, or their family members. Senior Department of Defense officials, business leaders and prior awardees then selected the top recipients. The fifteen award recipients were honored at a ceremony at the Pentagon in September.

In 2010, St. Jude created an internal military support resource group. The group hosts events for veterans, active- duty military personnel, reservists and those who have immediate family members in the military. It also provides family-member assistance, recognizes and celebrates achievements within the group, and organizes calls with employees and family members of those who are deployed.

In 2012, the hospital unveiled a Military Tribute Wall, which recognizes hospital employees who are current service members and veterans. The wall features military awards and highlights military-related events. St. Jude also recruits veterans, guardsmen and reservists for employment through hiring events and the Department of Defense�s Hero2Hired program. The hospital has received past ESGR awards for its support of military employees, including the Patriotic Employer award, the Pro Patria award and the Above and Beyond award. In 1996, the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom award was instituted under the auspices of ESGR, which was established as a Department of Defense agency in 1972. ESGR�s mission is to gain and maintain employer support for guard and reserve service.

Veterans learn entrepreneurship and self-employment at Boots to Business: Reboot

Washington, DC � In July, 100 veterans gathered at the White House for two days of intensive training on entrepreneurship, led by experts and instructors from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Syracuse University�s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF, Syracuse, NY).

The program, named Reboot, is an expansion of the training programs developed by IVMF over the last several years for transitioning service members, veterans of all eras and their spouses. Participants in Reboot learned the basics of self-employment and small business ownership. Instructors led them through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and developing a business plan, and introduced them to a network of business support available locally across the U.S. from the SBA�s network of veteran business outreach centers, women�s business centers, small business development centers and SCORE counselors.

After its launch at the White House, Boots to Business: Reboot traveled to eleven more cities across the country. It was open to both veterans and their spouses. In all, 896 veterans and spouses attended the twelve Reboot classes.

�I can�t think of a better way to show support for veterans� career and business goals than by hosting them at the White House,� said Ray Toenniessen, managing director of development and external relations at IVMF. �We know veterans make the best entrepreneurs and we know veterans hire veterans. That�s why IVMF and the SBA are so committed to training and educating veterans about entrepreneurship and small business ownership.� Today, there are nearly 2.5 million small businesses owned by veterans, employing more than 5.7 million people and contributing close to $1.7 trillion to the nation�s GDP, according to the SBA.

�Veterans are a natural fit for entrepreneurship,� said Rhett Jeppson, SBA associate administrator for the Office of Veteran Business Development. �The SBA is committed to ensuring veterans have every opportunity to build the foundations of a successful small business. IVMF is an essential partner in delivering this program to service members, veterans and spouses.�

The training was free for participants, and veterans and spouses from all eras of service were eligible for the classes. For info on Boots to Business and other SBA services for veterans, see www.sba.gov/vets. To learn more about IVMF, visit vets.syr.edu.

USAA VetFIT offers veterans training and internships as Java software developers

San Antonio, TX � Twenty-one military veterans have new skills that could lead them to careers as Java software developers, thanks to a program pioneered by USAA.

The USAA VetFIT program was developed in partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission, Northeast Lakeview College (Universal City, TX) and Marathon Technology (Dallas, TX).

The twenty-two-week program includes twelve weeks of Java developer training and a ten-week internship. Veterans are paid throughout each stage of the program, with the possibility of employment as Java developers with USAA after the successful completion of the program.

The first cohort of veterans graduated from the education and training portion, and in July were performing as interns.

Participant Levar �Rob� Robinson served seven and a half years in the Army, deploying twice. After separating from the military, he moved his family to Atlanta, GA. Unable to find a job at a living wage as a civilian, he volunteered to deploy as a civilian and completed five deployments as a contractor.

During his final deployment in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a friend e-mailed him a link to an advertisement for USAA�s VetFIT program. He couldn�t fly to San Antonio for the interview because he was deployed, so USAA set up an online interview. Just before the interview was scheduled to start, he had to take cover in a concrete shelter because the base came under enemy attack. The all-clear signal came just in time for him to emerge from the shelter and log on to his computer for the USAA interview. A few months later he was joining the other veterans as a member of the first VetFIT cohort.

During the education and training phase of the program, Robinson and his fellow interns learned a semester�s worth of Java development skills every week.

A USAA spokesperson notes, �USAA believes this is a great program that demonstrates the learning agility, skills and dedication that veterans bring to the civilian workforce.�

USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 10 million members of the U.S. military and their families.

VDOT joins Virginia Values Veterans program to boost veteran hiring, retention

Richmond, VA � Early in 2018, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) became a member of the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program as part of its continuing effort to hire and retain more veterans.

The Virginia Department of Veteran Services (DVS) launched V3 to help employers across the commonwealth learn how to effectively recruit transitioning veterans and serving guard and reservists. The program shows employers how to activate their own military recruiting networks by utilizing available resources and connecting directly to military job seekers. DVS also provides services that help translate military experience and titles, and relate military experience to VDOT work and responsibilities.

According to V3, Virginia has the youngest veteran population in the country and the fastest-growing veteran labor force. Since its inception in 2012, V3 has grown to include hundreds of companies that have hired nearly 3,800 veterans.

Chris Burks of VDOT central office human resources notes that joining the program is only one way VDOT has committed to recruiting, hiring, training and retaining Virginia�s veterans. VDOT recently participated in the Naval Air Station Oceana Fleet and Family Support Center Job Fair in Norfolk, VA.

�We have vacant positions throughout the state, so we see this as an excellent opportunity to hire veterans who are looking for employment throughout the commonwealth. This certainly makes us a more attractive employment option because our positions are not limited to one location in the state. We will be attending several additional veteran- focused job fairs throughout the year,� said Burks. VDOT has approximately 7,500 employees.

Burks said that VDOT joined V3 for a variety of reasons. One was to support the Virginia governor�s initiative to hire and retain more veterans. Another was to increase the VDOT�s position-filled rate by tapping into a market that is already highly skilled and trained.


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