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VSO trains veterans for new-collar jobs with IBM Cloud

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VSO veterans IBM CloudEvery year, approximately 250,000 veterans leave the US military. Of this huge workforce, only about 10 percent are officers.

Officers, who are typically older and more experienced, get out of the military and often transition right into civilian life, making very similar salaries to what they made as officers.

However, many enlisted service members joined the military right out of high school and do not have college degrees. The most difficult part for these veterans is that they go from doing something that they know is important every day — people count on them and trust them with their lives — into a new career where it’s difficult to rationalize how it actually matters, especially if it’s a low-paying retail job.

These veterans are the most underrated and untapped workforce in America.

Virtual Service Operations (VSO) has figured out how to provide them with “new-collar” jobs, positions that require specialized education, typically in a technical field, but not a four-year college degree.

VSO has found an opportunity within this workforce. Recruiting from within existing training programs and in partnership with organizations such as Paralyzed Veterans of America’s P.A.V.E. program, VSO has found that it can offer starting salaries that are 30 percent higher than average.

These veterans universally exhibit traits of persistence, reliability, conscientiousness, attention to detail, ability to follow procedure and consistency of execution. These happen to be the traits most useful to IT managed service and large-scale migration services. VSO has found a labor demographic that consistently provides better service at a better price.

The VSO staffing approach

VSO was designed from the ground up as a premier provider of hybrid service management for hybrid and multicloud environments. The company’s staffing approach, which is called “military service to managed service,” offers a US-based team of military veterans that are dedicated and mission focused.

VSO has developed ICap, which maps, at great depth, the skills one needs in IT to perform up to an expert level. Upon application to VSO, prospective employees take a technical aptitude survey and are mapped to their current functional level. Upon hire, all employees, not just veterans, are consistently “mapped” and guided on what to do to move up in their expertise.

This takes the form of “micro-training” — videos, recommended reading material, guided blog subscriptions, brown bag teaching lunches — coupled with traditional industry training and certification courses.

VSO has adopted this approach to mimic the frequent recognition and guidance provided to soldiers in the military and has found that this “gamification” of skills advancement benefits even their non-veteran employees.

Engagement with IBM

VSO is an IBM Strategic Partner. The company’s founders have deep IBM roots. They have been executives of IBM and collaborated with IBM at other companies. VSO teams with IBM, which also has a long-standing commitment to veterans, to guide companies on their transitions to cloud and has a proven process for migrating, building and maintaining cloud and hybrid environments.

Perhaps the most exciting work VSO and IBM are doing together is transforming a marquee healthcare provider to a highly secure, flexible cloud infrastructure. At the end of the project VSO and IBM will have moved more than 2,000 virtual machines to the IBM Cloud, dramatically reducing cost, exceeding HIPAA compliance standards and having full control over capabilities. Throughout the transformation, VSO and IBM provided around-the-clock support. The environment will be managed by US military veterans ensuring the most secure operating environment in the industry.

As our CEO Steve O’Keefe says, “IBM and VSO take security seriously. When it comes to regulated workloads and patient records, who else would you want to protect them? The team that protected the country and its most sensitive information: American servicemen and women.”

Freedom to maneuver

Veterans are used to working 20 hours on, then 10 hours off, without complaint. And they take their work very personally: a server down is like a man down. The military commitment and attitude that “we are going to do whatever it takes to get this thing back up” means that every VSO team, no matter how junior level, has a stronger sense of dedication and personal responsibility when it comes to answering that 3 AM call than anywhere else in the managed services marketplace.

VSO believes that veterans represent an inherently secure, best-of-value labor force that provides a dramatically better managed service.

Learn more about IBM Cloud solutions.

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