IBM Impact Grants

Training Canadian Veterans for New Collar Opportunities

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For many Canadian military veterans, transitioning from service into the civilian workforce can be challenging; as such, they are often looking for different ways to apply their expertise and skills to new careers. At IBM, we have recognized this challenge and have created a program to engage and assist those who have served by creating paths to learn the skills necessary for the new collar jobs of tomorrow.

IBM’s Veterans Employment Initiative is designed to help local veterans translate their military experience into high-skilled civilian jobs. The week-long intensive software training sessions, which include free certification and employment assistance, are being held at various locations across Canada and led by IBM experts. Since the pilot class in 2015, more than 90 Canadian veterans have participated. A graduate of the Toronto program held in March has recently been hired by IBM Canada and has now started his civilian career in security services.

The training is offered at no-charge to the participants through an IBM Impact Grant that is provided to the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFWMS)/Support Troops Fund and co-partners with the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Services. While each session can be unique, participants have the opportunity to meet local IBMers, hear from technical experts, and learn more about civilian hiring practices and strategies to complement the software skills training they are receiving.

“We truly appreciate and recognize the work, time and resources that IBM is investing in our members and veterans. The recent first hiring by IBM of a graduate from this program is indicative of the transferable skills that military members and veterans bring to technical and security occupations.” – Col. Kevin Cameron, Canadian Armed Forces Director of Transition Services and Policy

Demand for skilled security professionals is one of the biggest challenges facing industries today; experts predict a shortage of 1.5 million open and unfilled security positions by 2020. To help address this skills shortage for cybersecurity positions, we are now expanding our Veterans program to include IBM QRadar training sessions, starting in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where IBM has a large global team focused on the development and support of the solution.

Training on QRadar, an industry-leading cybersecurity solution, is well suited for transitioning veterans who are professional, security cleared and live daily with a security mindset. Also, this training should allow for transitioning CAF members and veterans to move into meaningful and fulfilling roles at the conclusion of their military service. This is one part of IBM’s new collar approach to meet demand in growing technology areas.

“This combination of outstanding individuals made it one of my favourite, if not best, training experiences in a very long time! Thank you!” – Toronto 2017 Participant

The upcoming 2018 Veterans Employment Initiative schedule is:

  • Winnipeg – September 24-28 – IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook
  • Ottawa – November 26-30 – IBM QRadar

If you are a Canadian veteran, or transitioning CAF member, and are seeking assistance in transitioning into a civilian career in data analytics or cybersecurity, please reach out to for details on how to enroll for an upcoming session.

This grant program is also being offered by IBM in the United States and United Kingdom. You can visit the IBM Veterans Employment Initiative website for details.

David Robitaille is the Corporate Citizenship Executive for IBM in Canada.

Corporate Citizenship Executive, IBM Canada

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