By Michael George, CEO, Continuum
For many of us, Independence Day triggers visions of fireworks, baseball games and barbeques. But for military veterans transitioning to civilian life, “independence” has been more of a euphemism for unemployment recently. While the numbers are improving, roughly 7.3 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans remain jobless, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To help combat this discouraging situation, some channel companies have implemented veteran re-employment programs specifically for the IT industry. From training and education to financial assistance, technology leaders including Cisco Systems, Continuum, CompTIA, Ingram Micro, Microsoft and others, are enabling veterans to apply the skills learned during their service at high-paying civilian positions.
When you consider that our military personnel have access to some of the most advanced technology on the planet, it makes perfect sense that they would also be some of the most qualified professionals leading technology companies should employ. This is one of the many key reasons why Continuum makes every effort to support our nation’s heroes as they transition to civilian technology careers.
Initiatives like the Continuum Veterans Foundation fund training, certification, and job placement activities of former military personnel. Our executive team introduced the program last year by parachuting from a plane. You can check out the video here.
Over the next 12 months, the company plans to distribute more than $100,000 in financial support to non-profit organizations focused on helping veterans find employment – starting at home. Since the program’s inception last year, Continuum has hired eight veterans into its existing Pittsburgh Service Desk operation, more than 20 percent of which is staffed by our nation’s veterans. The company actively recruits former military personnel because it believes their training, motivation and commitment to serving others helps distinguish it as an industry leader.
“It’s completely evident from the moment you meet the Continuum management team that they value the contributions veterans have to offer private corporations,” said Matt Tardivo, Continuum Service Desk engineer, and former U.S. Army private, microwave communications. “From the first day I walked in the door, Michael and the other executives were quick to ask questions on ways to improve partner service levels, and other opportunities to leverage our experiences.”
CompTIA’s Troops to Techs Careers, help ensure that returning veterans and their spouses can pursue IT careers by receiving the education, certifications and job placement resources that support their goals. Since early 2012, CompTIA claims more than 8,000 veterans have taken advantage of the service.
It’s part of a larger strategy to support both the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces through the association’s Creating IT Futures program. CompTIA has also committed to training and certifying roughly 35,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of this year, and 92,000 by 2016.
From a federal perspective, First Lady Michelle Obama recently announced a new private-public partnership to fill the need for more skilled workers while connecting veterans with high-tech jobs. The program is expected to help up to 161,000 service members convert training received during military service into industry-recognized certifications across high-demand IT professions. By 2020, the initiative is expected to generate roughly 1.8 million employment opportunities with an average annual salary of more than $81,000.
“I think those of us who are called to serve do so because we feel a very strong, personal obligation to support a cause bigger than ourselves,” said Dominic Carpini, Service Desk engineer for Continuum, and former U.S. Navy petty officer, second class, electronics technician. “It’s the duty each of us has to consider the big picture, the greater good, and work together to build a brighter future. I’m proud to work for a company like Continuum that shares this vision and commitment to give back to its employees, partners and community.”
During the July 4th holiday, I encourage you to think about ways you and your company can make a difference in the lives of our veterans. They fought for our freedom, now it is our turn to fight for more opportunities so they can enjoy the benefits of a country that owes them a great deal of gratitude.
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Michael George is the chief executive officer of Boston-based Continuum Managed Services, the industry's only unified managed services solution encompassing remote monitoring and management, backup and disaster recovery, a network operations center and a U.S.-based service desk.