White House, Industry Team Up To Prep Veterans for IT Careers

By 2020, the initiative is expected to generate more than 1.8 million job opportunities, with salaries averaging more than $81,000.

Several private companies are teaming up with the federal government to help thousands of service members earn certifications in information technology before they transition from military service.

The new IT Training and Certification Partnership will enable up to 161,000 service members to gain industry-recognized certifications for 12 high-demand technology professions, such as computer programming, quality assurance engineering and cybersecurity.

First Lady Michelle Obama is slated to announce the IT program, as well as other programs in health care and transportation, at the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing on Tuesday. The first lady noted that too often, because of red tape or outdated rules, service members return to civilian life to find that the training and experience they’ve earned does not count or transfer when they enroll in college, often causing them to be turned away for jobs “that they’re more than qualified to do.”

“This is unfair to the men and women who have served this country so bravely,” the first lady said. “They deserve a fair shot at a good job when they come home.”

By 2020, the initiative is expected to generate more than 1.8 million job opportunities, with salaries averaging more than $81,000.

The IT partnership came out of recommendations made last June by the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, which recommended pairing up the unique contributions veterans bring with their military expertise and training with the need in the IT industry for more highly-skilled workers.

The task force also found that while the majority of IT specialists in the military receive training similar or equal to their civilian IT counterparts, very few seek additional off-duty industry training that can lead to additional IT certifications.

Service members participating in the program will gain access to training, certification and career matching opportunities once they register on the U.S. IT Pipeline, a cloud-based talent exchange platform created by Futures Inc. that matches military skills with private sector core technology career paths. Cisco also teamed up with its partners, Global Knowledge and Pearson VUE, to provide IT certification preparation courses.

Service members who are in the process of transitioning to the civilian workforce also will have access to resources that can link them with employers with open IT jobs in their state or region.

Other organizations involved in the program -- Microsoft, Oracle, CompTIA, NetApp, HP, GogoTraining and the SANS Institute – will be providing exam vouchers, Web-based training courses, scholarships, access to industry experts and several other perks to participants.

 “We know that veterans have valuable skills, experiences and qualifications that are highly sought after in today’s workforce,” John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, wrote in a blog post. “Our goal is for this program to help take their skills – like teamwork and leadership, the ability to learn quickly, a strong work ethic, dedication and the ability to work under pressure – and help quickly translate them into successful career opportunities in the civilian workforce.”