White House Makes Push for Veterans in High Tech Jobs

The face of technology is about to change- literally.

Adrian Anderson, a U.S. Army Veteran, attends the Hiring Our Heroes job fair this past March; photo taken from www.businessweek.com

Last week, the White House announced an initiative to bolster the presence of veterans in the IT sector, a move welcome by both sides of the political isle. Details are forthcoming, but at the VFW National Convention in St. Louis, Vice President Joe Biden offered an overview of the plan. Biden said that part of the push will be to target communities with high veterans unemployment rates, and to rapidly retrain them in high-demand programming languages and technology trades.

As reported by the Navy Times, veterans will be a large part of closing that gap and ensuring the United States boasts “the most highly skilled, sophisticated job force in the world.”

Over the next few years, the U.S. department of labor estimates that more than one million service members will leave the military for jobs in the private sector.

Fortunately, their arrival offers a pipeline of highly skilled potential employees candidates.  Especially in the IT sector, which will reportedly experience a skills gap and need to fill nearly 1.4 million jobs.

Veterans are adept at building and leading teams, experienced handling confidential information and able to handle uncertainty.  If the IT industry takes advantage of veterans’ ability to lead, set goals and accomplish their objectives, and if those businesses provide an environment for their success, society will reap the benefits of this era’s veterans.

According to a 2013 report from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, veterans currently possess many of the skills required to work in highly competitive industries.  But what most sets them apart are the intangible skills learned by virtue of living and working in the armed forces.

In addition to leadership and loyalty (two terms traits that are top-of-mind), veterans possess many valuable traits that are acquired during service.  These include:

  • Communication–Having the ability to effectively communicate in business is a must.  In addition to being trained in technical writing, former military personnel often speak more than one language, have traveled extensively and understand the nuances of international communications.
  • Teamwork–Because veterans have spent years not only cooperating with, but also relying on others to stay safe and complete crucial tasks, they are the ultimate team members.  Teamwork and collaboration is also known to give birth to innovation- an added bonus for employers.
  • Managing under stress – Regardless of industry, every employee experiences stress on the job.  But great employees are those who can mange through with ease.  Having been in situations that are different from civilian life, veterans have mastered the ability to perform their jobs under unexpected circumstances.
  • High ethical standards – Every year, unethical employee conduct costs many businesses financially and otherwise. Through service, training, and lifestyle, former military personnel will typically have the type of strong work ethic that reflects maturity and a high level professionalism.  Yet, another benefit to potential employers.

Clearly, veterans have many intangible traits at their disposal – something that can make them a valuable asset in any workplace.

Though not easy to implement, the White House has a taken on an important task:  to create more good paying jobs for the men and women who served America.  With so many veterans transitioning from military to civilian life, the IT industry can benefit from bringing them into the fold.

Whether it’s teaching vets to write code, network security or project management, any program that takes an innovative approach to increasing veteran employment is a cause we can all get behind.  So, what are your thoughts on the increasing presence of Veterans in high tech sectors? Let us know below. We’re listening!

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