“What is steering the national push to hire Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans isn’t just statistics. It’s also an emotional need on the part of many Americans to connect with the 1 percent of the population that volunteered to serve during the longest stretch of war in American history.
This impulse has led corporate America to make some massive promises. The US Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program has collected pledges from businesses to hire 409,000 veterans on its way to a goal of 500,000. Wal-Mart has said it plans to hire 100,000 vets. Home Depot wants to take on 55,000; McDonald’s 100,000; Starbucks, 10,000 more.
‘These young men and women who are coming home from multiple deployments are not coming home to a parade,’ Howard Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, said in a recent television interview. ‘They’re coming home to an American public that really doesn’t understand, and never embraced, what these people have done.’
Add up all the pledges, and they total more than 1 million jobs for a population of unemployed post-Sept. 11-era veterans that is estimated most months by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 210,000. The math is overwhelming: There are now about five pledged jobs for every unemployed service member who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan. It also raises some questions: If there really are more than 1 million jobs out there, why isn’t every Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran employed? Is there a problem with what the companies are doing? Might it have something to do with the veterans themselves?
–After the Wars, Washington Post
HIMSS is addressing this need. On April 12 in Chicago, HIMSS is holding a day-long career boot camp in which speakers, subject matter experts, and fellow veterans will share their experiences on transitioning from a military career into the health IT field. Below is a brief overview of the agenda.
The lunchtime keynote speaker is two-term Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), an Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. She was re-elected to represent Illinois’ 8th Congressional District in 2014 and was sworn in for her second term on January 6, 2015.
In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. When her helicopter was hit by an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) on November 12, 2004, Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. She was awarded a Purple Heart and has been a champion for military veterans ever since, now taking her fight up as a congresswoman.
The keynote will be delivered by Dawn Halfaker, founder and CEO of Halfaker and Associates, an award winning professional services and technology solutions firm. Headquartered in Arlington, Va., Halfaker and Associates is a worldwide provider of leading-edge, innovative solutions in information technology for government organizations on issues of national and global significance. Halfaker held several leadership positions and deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division, where she commanded a military police platoon in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was subsequently wounded during a combat patrol near Baghdad in 2004, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for her service. She remains active supporting numerous civic, cultural and business organizations.
The event is being sponsored by Epic Systems, Cerner, Hitachi and Trend Micro, and is being coordinated through the effort of the EN-Abled Vet and HIMSS Veterans Career Services.
Below is the program agenda:
- Overview of HIMSS Veterans Career Initiative
- Veterans Internship Case Study
- Transitioning Roundtable
- A Veterans Guide to Navigating the Health IT Marketing Place
- Health IT education degrees and certification
- Employer Panel
There is still time to sign up for the event. Eligible veterans may be able to attend free of charge. Please check the website for details.
In the meantime, the EN-Abled Vet Program continues to grow. We have placed 8 individuals in the Chicagoland marketplace. By rebuilding résumés, refining interview skills, and learning how to deploy virtual desktops, job recruiters are chomping at the bit for more veterans.
Their testimonials say it all:
I’m extremely grateful to you, and your entire staff!!! It would’ve not have [happened] without the faith and teaching you gave me. I am forever grateful
– Mark T.
I think one of the major reasons I have had so many calls and offers is because of the VDI roll-out we did at Rush and a lot of the other things I was able to put on my resume from there. So thank you again for that opportunity because is definitely boosted my resume a lot and that’s mainly what I wanted to get out of the entire thing.
– Ken M.
The EN-Abled Veterans Program was the ticket needed to launch my post-military retirement career. Right now, I see the sky as being the limit,” This is a gateway; now it’s up to me. If someone is extending their hand to help you, humble yourself, take it and move up
– James W.
Come to the Veterans Career Services Boot Camp at HIMSS 15 to watch the many different veterans’ based presentations, meet the veterans and learn about all the opportunities available to help our military veterans’ transition to successful IT careers.