Veterans

The Story Behind IBM’s Veterans Training Week

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After separating from the military, U.S. service members deserve much more than our thanks. They deserve our support.

Companies and organizations across the country should develop quality, no-cost training to help our service members develop in-demand skills – skills that can smooth the transition from military to civilian life and open doors of opportunity.

By 2020, we estimate there will be 1.8 million open jobs in cybersecurity. That’s one of the reasons our citizenship team two years ago began offering no-cost, career-path skills training to veterans to help them enter this increasingly relevant space.

The initiative provides former service members with a week of intensive training, free certification, and employment assistance. It’s designed to build in-demand technology skills to prepare veterans for “new collar” careers, such as data analysts, that do not always require four-year college degrees.

Today IBM kicks off its first 2018 training class in Tampa. Over the course of the week participating veterans will become certified in i2 Analyst’s Notebook – IBM software on which law enforcement agencies, cybersecurity professionals and national security agencies rely heavily.

IBM this year will offer at least a dozen i2 classes, as well three QRadar classes, in cities across the U.S. – from San Diego to Boston. Each class enrolls about a dozen military veterans.

These training classes are under the auspices of the Veterans Employment Initiative, spearheaded by IBM Citizenship and our nonprofit partners, including Corporate America Supports You (CASY).

Beyond the software training, CASY also uses IBM’s Kenexa Brass Ring, cloud talent recruiting tools that we donate to them to help all types of job-seeking veterans find employment.

Through efforts like these, IBM and our partners have helped place 33,000 military veterans over the last eight years.

As I noted in my Nov. 28 blog, “Hiring the Vet in the 21st Century,” about a quarter of a million enlisted service members end their service each year. IBM works hard to assist in their transition to civilian life, including quality training and career opportunities.

If you’re a veteran or if you’re soon to separate from military service, please visit our Veterans homepage.

As the Veterans Administration makes clear – and as many U.S. employers know well – U.S. military veterans often are cross-trained in multiple skills, have a unique ability to focus, and possess a strong work ethic and leadership. Many have extensive training in in-demand skills highly relevant in today’s disruptive markets. And the rigors of military training foster the discipline and collaboration essential to developing and implementing technological solutions to our clients’ IT challenges.

The discipline and strong work ethic begin in boot camp or officer candidate school. Incoming service members are introduced to military discipline and, from the first moment, the process instills the vital imperative of teamwork to achieve a common goal – first, to survive your drill instructors; later, to achieve a military objective. When service members move on to their first command, the mission (and therefore the work ethic) become laser-focused. It’s all about the team, everyone pulling their weight for their compatriots. That mindset, of course, is tremendously valuable to IBM as we go to market as “one IBM” to help address our clients’ most pressing issues.

Cross-training in multiple skills is a key component of military training designed to promote flexibility in responding to rapidly changing challenges on the battlefield. As with our commercial clients, the importance of cyberspace, data science, advanced analytics and machine learning is becoming increasingly critical to success. The agility required on the battlefield fosters the same innovation, discipline and collaboration essential to developing and implementing technological solutions to our clients’ business challenges.

Finally, nothing breeds the unique ability to focus as when someone is shooting at you or your buddies. Whether we’re hiring a combat veteran or a veteran who supported those in combat, we’re hiring someone who truly understands and has experienced what it means to have to perform when lives are on the line. You quickly figure out what is important and critical to mission success. That experience will serve IBM and its clients in the same way that it did the military.

General Manager, IBM US Federal and Government Industries

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