Jason Kelley: Proud Veteran and Proud to be an IBMer Who Supports Them

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We all honor those who serve our country—not just on Veteran’s Day, but every day. Our United States veterans embody American resiliency and commitment to service, during both times of war and peace. This selfless service is what continues to give strength and security to our great nation.

I can only think of one honor greater than to have served as an U.S. Army Airborne Ranger and that is to have had the privilege to have served next to the men and women in uniform around me at that time.

Today I continue to have the honor to serve our veterans as a Corporate America Supports You (CASY) board member, a nationwide nonprofit offering employment assistance to current and former military personnel as well as their spouses, supported by IBM.

I am proud that we as IBMers, along with so many other organizations, honor and support our veterans. Here are a few highlights on how IBM is demonstrating its commitment to veterans and their families:

  • IBM will hire 2,000 U.S. veterans over the next four years as part of its broader pledge to hire 25,000 US workers through 2020—many in new collar job areas such as data analytics and cybersecurity, which don’t always require a four-year college degree
  • IBM is also expanding its relationships with other companies who hire veterans, and broadening its collaboration with veteran recruiting experts and training organizations such as the National Cyber-Forensics Training Alliance, and Corporate America Supports You (CASY) with the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network.
  • In addition, since 2016, IBM launched a nationwide program to train and certify U.S. veterans in i2 Analysts’ Notebook, analytics software that’s widely used in the defense and law enforcement industries. IBM provides five-day sessions at no cost, offering hands-on and classroom training with IBM software that prepares participants to take an industry-standard data analyst certification exam. Participants also receive job placement assistance upon completing the training. To date, IBM has trained more than 500 veterans, and placed 70 veterans in positions with corporate or government employers.

As I meet and connect with fellow veterans regularly, I am repeatedly reminded of the rich pool of talent we have in our veterans community — professionals who bring a disciplined work ethic and strong collaboration and communications skills acquired through military service — all capabilities that IBM values highly.

This year alone, IBM has expanded its professional development and hiring initiatives for U.S. veterans, including our regularly referenced new-collar jobs initiative. New collar jobs reach beyond the typical college degree programs and reside in fast-growing fields, where it’s more important to have the right skills than to have a bachelor’s degree. The required skills can be acquired and honed through coding camps, community colleges, apprenticeships and other non-traditional methods. These skills include emerging technology areas such as blockchain, where the demand for this expertise is exceeding supply. Areas such as this go across industries, and require a ready to learn mindset with creative curiosity.

Jason KelleyIf these new collar job opportunities and exciting new areas like blockchain interest you, or a veteran you may know, please check out the following resources:

  • For veterans interested in the no-cost national training program described above, please visit the Citizen IBM blog for more information.
  • More information on the IBM Academic Initiative providing Blockchain training resources to students and educators can be found in this blog post.
  • Also, please encourage current or soon-to-be veterans to learn more about IBM employment opportunities on our veteran jobs portal.

-Jason Kelley, General Manager, IBM Blockchain Services

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