American companies and industry organizations are ramping up efforts that began last year to help employ returning veterans and meet growing IT workforce needs.
Private training and mentoring programs are bridging the knowledge and training gaps for veterans as federal agencies begin to process the influx of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Private efforts aimed at training for private industry and government jobs are also in response to President Barack Obama’s call last year for American firms and associations to help 100,000 veterans re-enter the workforce by the end of 2013.
The programs are making a difference.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Derek LeMay worked in database administration and data migration in the Marines. Upon his discharge in 2008, LeMay figured his military experience and training would lead to civilian employment in a short period.
LeMay, 27, enrolled in community college on the G.I. Bill, but found CompTIA’s Troops to Tech program was a more efficient path to employment that made use of his existing skills. The program provides education, credentialing and job placement for IT careers. Now, LeMay works as a technical support engineer for Symantec, supporting a global back-up product that customers such as banks and hospitals use to back up data.
“The path to a degree was taking too long” LeMay said in the video above. “It felt great to get the chance to work for Symantec. … I see myself in IT for a long time. It’s growing and I’d like to grow with it.”
Another program, the Advanced Medical Technology Association’s MVP, links job-seeking veterans to mentors and recruiters in the medical technology industry and sponsors a year-long training program that pairs returning military veterans with MedTech field mentors. The MedTech field is another growing opportunity for returning veterans as they or their comrades have experienced grievous wounds that require prosthetics and other kinds of medical devices.
Mike Minogue founded MVP after being inspired by Army Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, who lost both legs through a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Minogue, West Point grad and former Army Ranger, is now president and CEO of Abiomed, Inc. and sits on the board of Emerging Growth Council at AdvaMed, a trade organization for companies that produce medical devices. He said MVP works with older, military retirees as well as newly returned vets with war-related disabilities.
The programs help veterans and fill workforce gaps, but also provide tax incentives for private firms. Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits are available for firms that hire unemployed veterans and wounded veterans. Businesses can get credits of up to $2,400 for every short-term unemployed vet hire and $4,800 for every long-term unemployed vet hire, along with credits for hiring vets with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed long-term (maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran) and continue the existing credit for all other veterans with a service-connected disability (maximum credit of $4,800).