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December 2018/January 2015

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Diversity/Careers December 2018/January 2015




From the publisher & editor
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Veterans in action







Veterans in Action


New training program prepares veterans, others to enter advanced manufacturing workforce

Oak Ridge, TN – Twenty-six-year-old wounded veteran Joseph Grabianowski may someday be nationally known for building highly efficient exhaust systems for cars and trucks using 3-D printing technology. Grabianowski was part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s inaugural Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) advanced manufacturing internship.

The six-week pilot program is designed to provide accelerated, hands-on career training for veterans and next-generation engineers, specifically to prepare them to work in the growing advanced manufacturing industry. It is offered by the Energy Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), Pellissippi State Community College (Knoxville, TN) and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL, TN).

The first twenty-four participants received certificates in August at a ceremony at Pellissippi State Community College. The program, which began in early July, included a combination of classroom courses taught at Pellissippi State and hands-on laboratory activities at ORNL’s manufacturing demonstration facility. Participants learned to design for advanced manufacturing, including work with 3-D printers, fabrication techniques, and materials including titanium, carbon fiber, ABS plastics and other composites.

Grabianowski stepped on an IED in May 2012 while deployed with the U.S. Army unit in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Damage from the blast required a rare, radical amputation of his lower body.

He had long dreamed of being a U.S. Marshal, but that was no longer a path he could follow. In a December 2013 interview with USA Today, Grabianowski said, “I still love my country… even though I can’t go be a Marshal now, I can still go do something that would be a good service to my country.”

His successful recovery, in barely two years, is a testament to his personal will and determination. He now sees a career for himself in additive manufacturing, also known as 3-D printing. Through the EERE internship, Grabianowski is receiving training that will prepare him to succeed in the additive manufacturing world. “This industry is going to boom right here in Oak Ridge,” said Grabianowski, “and the best engineers in the field are available through this program to teach me.”

According to Dr Robert Ivester, deputy director in the energy department’s advanced manufacturing office, this program is the first part of an effort to provide veterans with training opportunities that give them a competitive advantage when they return to the workforce.

The program also meets a national need. “There is a skills gap in advanced manufacturing,” said Ivester. “Programs like this will provide trained workers quickly to meet our national priorities and support the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States. They will also leverage the existing pool of transitioning service members. This program is only the first step, and we are actively seeking partners for a broader effort.”

“The response to the program was more than we had hoped,” said Dean Evasius, senior vice president of ORAU’s workforce development programs. A diverse group was selected for the pilot program, including fifteen Army, Navy or Marine veterans, three active duty personnel, two reservists, three FIRST Robotics students, and two undergraduate engineering students.


Citi business competition accepting business plans for second round of funding

San Antonio, TX – Citi (New York, NY) and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF, NY) recently announced the second round of the “Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream Business Competition.” Citi is looking for veterans who are established or aspiring entrepreneurs to submit formal small business plans in hopes of receiving a share of $130,000 in seed funding.

The announcement was made in November at the first national conference for graduates of the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program, a collaborative partnership between the IVMF, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Sam’s Club.

“Starting small businesses continues to be a draw for transitioning service members, veterans and their spouses, with increasing numbers choosing entrepreneurship after the military,” said Suni Harford, Citi’s regional head of markets for North America. “We are pleased to partner again with IVMF to support a program that fosters the entrepreneurial spirit in those who have proudly served our nation.”

The business competition is a part of Citi Salutes, a companywide initiative that supports veteran consumers and job seekers. The effort supports veterans by connecting them with a range of Citi services geared to the veteran community, including career opportunities, partnerships with leading veteran service organizations and useful banking services.

“We are thrilled to partner with Citi for the second year of this competition. Even though the economy is recovering, access to capital continues to be a challenge for new entrepreneurs. This collaborative effort with Citi will help fund new businesses and provide a learning opportunity for all the participants,” said James Schmeling, IVMF managing director and co-founder.

Graduates of V-WISE and Boots to Business, another IVMF and SBA-sponsored entrepreneurship training program, are eligible to submit business plans for small businesses in which they have at least 51 percent ownership. The graduate with the best plan will receive $25,000 in seed funding, with lesser amounts awarded for second and third place, as well as awards for best social venture, best technology venture, and best venture that impacts veterans.

The Accion U.S. Network, a nonprofit provider of small business coaching and capital, will also offer veteran entrepreneurs who graduate from IVMF’s training programs an opportunity to be considered for business capital access opportunities.

For more about the programs, see businessplan.vets.syr.edu.


SDVOSB Vector receives awards from two top staffing associations for dedication to diverse IT talent

Vienna, VA – Vector Technical Resources, a service-disabled veteran owned IT staffing firm, received two awards in October from top staffing associations, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) and the American Staffing Association (ASA).

Vector joins the 2018 list of the nation’s top diversity staffing firms that have received awards from the SIA. This year’s list includes 176 firms that represent women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and HUBZone businesses that provide a variety of clients with IT talent.

Vector also received an honorable mention from the ASA during its 2018 Staffing Voice award ceremony, which honors staffing companies’ communications efforts. Vector was recognized for its work in the media relations category.

“We are honored to be acknowledged by the SIA and ASA,” said Marc Berman, Vector’s president. “These recognitions are a testament to Vector’s ongoing expertise and dedication to provide top talent to private and public entities in the Washington, DC region.”

The company recently sponsored SmartCEO magazine’s Washington, DC GovStar awards program. The program took place in November and honored Washington, DC government contractors for technology innovation, workplace environment, growth, veteran support and contributions to the industry and the marketplace.

Founded in 2007, service-disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) Vector provides small to mid-size government contractors and commercial entities with top IT and professional talent on a contract, contract-to-hire or direct hire basis.



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