Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



August/September 2018

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Diversity/Careers August/September 2018

Government & defense
Healthcare tech
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Native Americans
Dr Bernard Harris
Grace Hopper preview
GMiS HENAAC preview
New director at NSBE

WBEs in technology
WBENC conference
News & Views
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views
Veterans in action

Veterans in Action

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 emailed 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.

VetsinTech launches new VetCap program for entrepreneurs

San Francisco, CA – VetsinTech, a nonprofit organization of technology industry leaders and veterans, recently kicked off a new program for veterans.

Expanding its mission to help train, connect and find jobs for veterans interested in technology careers, VetsinTech launched VetCap, an innovative national program to help veteran entrepreneurs. The kickoff took place during Military Appreciation Month and National Small Business Week in May.

VetCap plans a national series of workshops to help train veteran entrepreneurs on where and how to raise capital, and to connect them to a network of financing sources. VetsinTech hosted the inaugural VetCap workshop at the offices of venture capital firm Next World Capital in San Francisco. A panel of expert investors and lenders from the major capital categories led discussions on where to raise capital and how to pitch to investors. The audience consisted of about fifty veteran entrepreneurs from around the country, including veterans who pitched their startups to the panel of experts.

“VetsinTech is proud to launch the first workshop of what we hope will be a nationwide series of workshops and a network to connect veterans to capital providers,” said Katherine Webster, founder and executive director of VetsinTech.

The VetCap initiative grew out of board members’ participation in a White House and Joining Forces veterans entrepreneurship workshop, which brought together private sector innovators and entrepreneurs to brainstorm and accelerate the development of new programs to help veterans find and grow their businesses.

“Veterans represent some of our nation’s brightest and most dedicated entrepreneurs. A big hurdle for them, however, can be determining where and how to raise the capital they need to grow. VetCap is an innovative initiative inspired by a White House call to help veteran entrepreneurs,” said Craig Hanson, general partner and co-founder of Next World Capital and co-founder of VetCap.

Visit www.vetsintech.co for further information.

Military personnel and veterans see value in professional certifications

Washington, DC – An overwhelming majority of active duty military personnel anticipate needing additional education and training to ensure career stability and growth, according to new research by CompTIA, the information and communications technology (ICT) industry trade association.

While most active duty personnel are generally satisfied with where they are in their careers, fewer than one in ten are completely confident that their existing skill sets will sustain them throughout the remainder of their working lives.

“Men and women in our armed forces have a clear understanding that lifelong learning is essential for their career satisfaction, whether they continue in the military or move to the private sector,” said Elizabeth Hyman, executive vice president of public advocacy at CompTIA. “It’s our duty and responsibility as a nation to provide them with the resources and support necessary for ongoing career education, training and credentialing.”

CompTIA’s Military Career Path Study examines issues related to career planning and professional development for active duty military personnel and service members entering civilian life.

Four key factors stand out among possible options for improving training and education: more time set aside for training; more refresher training to reinforce past learning and stay current with skills; more cross-training with other units or branches of the military; and more follow-up after training to ensure proper alignment with career goals.

Military personnel and veterans alike also see value in professional certifications as a means to validate skills and expertise, resulting in a stronger resume, more job opportunities and higher pay.

CompTIA’s Military Career Path Study is the result of a January 2018 online survey of 865 active duty U.S. military personnel and military veterans who now work in a civilian capacity.

This study and all CompTIA research are examples of how the association invests its resources to help ICT businesses expand and grow. Visit www.comptia.org for additional information.


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