Tuesday, April 30, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama announces partnership that creates good jobs for vets

First Lady Michelle Obama announces partnership that creates good jobs for vets, In the ongoing effort to help service members in their transition from active duty service to the civilian job market, the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday invited leaders from the private sector, the military services, industry trade associations, unions, educational institutions, state legislatures, veteran service organizations, and state licensing boards for a forum on military credentialing and licensing.

A public-private partnership at its best.

In addressing the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, the First Lady laid out the problem that "in the coming years, more than one million servicemembers will be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning to civilian life. And that’s on top of the hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses already out there looking for work."

In making the argument for service members as they transition into civilian life, Michelle Obama told the forum, that "they are medics and engineers, they're drivers, welders. They’re folks like Sergeant Hall, with years of experience at the highest levels of our military. And they are eminently qualified to do the very jobs that employers across this country are desperate to fill."

Michelle Obama pointed out that "too often, because of red tape, or outdated rules, or simple lack of coordination, our men and women in uniform come home only to find that the training and experience they’ve gotten during their time in uniform simply doesn’t count. Or they discover that the credits that they’ve earned in military courses don’t actually transfer when they enroll in college, so they’re turned away from jobs that they’re more than qualified to do. Or they wind up paying to do the same coursework over again, and all that training, all that education, all that expertise that they have devoted their lives to attain, it all goes to waste."

Michelle Obama pointed out the inequity in not training and certifying veterans in fields that they are already qualified, but lack credentials. "And this is unfair to the men and women who have served this country so bravely. They deserve a fair shot at a good job when they come home. But it’s also unfair to their families who have sacrificed probably more in some instances so that these men and women can do their job. And they deserve some financial security once they return to civilian life. It is also unfair to this country, because when we don’t take advantage of the skills and talents of our veterans and military spouses, jobs go unfilled and, far worse, human potential goes untapped. And that’s bad for our economy, as we all know."

The result was that the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing came a new public-private partnership that will enable thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized information technology (IT) certifications before they transition from military service. The Administration also announced a new grant program through the Department of Health and Human Services that will help veterans with health care experience pursue professional nursing careers and earn a nursing license.

Additionally, the event featured four roundtables that will laid plans for the launch of additional public-private initiatives that will streamline the ability of service members and veterans to earn the civilian certifications and licenses required for high-demand jobs in emergency medical services, healthcare, and transportation sectors as well as streamline the ability for service members and veterans to translate military experience into academic credit. Key stakeholders from the private sector, the military services, industry trade associations, unions, educational institutions, state legislatures, veteran service organizations, and state licensing boards will participate in the sector-specific roundtables.

Last June, the Department of Defense (DoD), at the President’s direction, established a Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force. The Task Force has focused its initial efforts on: (1) identifying military specialties that readily transfer to high-demand jobs; (2) working with civilian credentialing and licensing associations to address gaps between military training programs and certification and licensing requirements; and (3) providing service members and veterans with greater access to necessary certification and licensing exams. The Task Force’s work is focused on industries that have an identified need for more skilled workers and stand to benefit from military expertise and training, including manufacturing, first responders, healthcare, information technology, and transportation and logistics.

The announcement yesterday is the second major partnership developed through the Task Force, and will provide opportunities for up to 161,000 service members to gain industry-recognized, nationally-portable certifications necessary for 12 high-demand technology professions, including computer programmers, quality assurance engineers, and IT security analysts. The technology professions targeted through this partnership are expected to generate more than 1.8 million job opportunities by 2020, and have an average annual salary of more than $81,000. Due to the high-quality of their military training, our veterans have the skill sets that employers demand to fill these positions.

Through the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps have worked with Cisco and a broad consortium of IT corporations and credentialing associations to expand the availability of certifications to military personnel with skills in high-demand areas such as computer programming, information assurance, network administration, and program design. Through this partnership, service members will be able to partake in a gap analysis of their IT skills and then test for and earn civilian credentials above and beyond those required for their military occupation. Additionally, during the pilot phase of this program, service members will be able to participate in bridge training programs, free of cost, if the gap analysis indicates it is needed for the service member to obtain his or her civilian credential. This partnership targets service members who are in the process of transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce as well as service members at early- and mid-stages of their military careers. Participating service members who are in the process of transitioning to the civilian workforce will be connected to resources that can link those service members with employers ready to hire by state and region

Although the majority of IT specialists in the military receive training equivalent to their civilian IT counterparts, few, on their own, seek additional off-duty industry training that can lead towards additional IT certifications above and beyond those required for their military occupation. For example, training for the Navy's Information Technology and Information Technology Submarines occupations match up 100 percent with the CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications that are necessary for a variety of IT jobs. However, the IT Training and Certification Partnership can be used to leverage additional training opportunities that can directly contribute towards service members attaining civilian IT-related certifications beyond those that are provided in-service.

Industry leaders have committed support to this initiative in the following ways:

• As part of this initiative, Cisco Systems, along with Futures, Inc., developed the IT Training and Certification Program that will match Military Occupation Codes (MOCs) with private sector core technology career paths. In an effort to leverage the unique skills, experience, and qualifications that military personnel possess, Cisco also worked with its partners, Global Knowledge and Pearson VUE, to provide ANSI-accredited Cisco training courses that will allow transitioning military personnel to prepare for Cisco CCNA certification exams and other globally recognized industry certifications at no cost to participants. Through the opportunities provided by the training program, participants will receive fast track training and IT certifications that can help address the nation’s workforce gap in IT jobs. Cisco is also one of several IT companies that have agreed to send a letter to its more than 15,000 U.S. channel partners and suppliers encouraging them to hire and train veterans.

• Microsoft Corporation, in partnership with Global Knowledge and Prometric, will donate 500 exam vouchers and partially underwrite the cost of training for service members to receive Microsoft official skills training. Service members participating in the program will have the opportunity to attain the skills needed to get hired in today’s competitive IT job market. The training and exam vouchers are designed to help service members meet the criteria and pass the exams to achieve industry-recognized Microsoft Certification credentials that can help support a transition from the military to frontline jobs in the field of Information Technology. By earning a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) credential, service members will have access to MCP benefits, such as MCP job boards, networking opportunities and certification credentials.

• Oracle is proud to work with the White House, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and community colleges across the United States to help service members transition their skills for integration into the civilian IT workforce. Through its Oracle Academy and Oracle University Workforce Development programs, Oracle is committed to delivering technology, courseware, career-readiness and computer science resources for Database Design, SQL, and Java. Service members may participate in these Oracle education programs in a variety of formats, including online and in-class training, as standalone classes or as part of degree-granting programs. For transitioning military, Oracle University is also providing support for its industry-recognized certifications and career pathways. In partnership with Cisco and Futures, Oracle is contacting its more than 20,000 U.S. channel partners and suppliers encouraging them to hire and train veterans.

• As part of the IT Training and Certification Program, CompTIA is donating vouchers for certification exams, such as CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Security+, to program participants. This continues CompTIA’s longstanding commitment to the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces. CompTIA participates in the DoD Information Assurance Program and contributes to the Wounded Warriors Project through its foundation, Creating IT Futures. Beyond these activities, CompTIA has previously committed to train and certify 35,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013, and 92,000 by 2016, with an IT certification through its Troops to Tech Careers initiative.

• NetApp is pleased to work with the White House to offer web-based training and a storage certification to military service personnel. The NetApp Certified Storage Associate certification (NCSA) is an entry-level certification designed to familiarize participants with storage technology and terminology. Via its Academic Alliances Program, NetApp will provide veterans and service personnel with NetApp Learning Accounts, access to web-based training classes, the ability to complete hands-on lab exercises through a virtual lab environment, and test vouchers for a local Pearson Vue testing center.

• HP has collaborated with the White House and the military services to assist U.S. service members in their transition to civilian IT jobs. Through the HP ExpertOne program, U.S. service members can earn industry-recognized certifications and achieve job-ready IT skills through hands-on experience. HP ExpertOne working with HP Education Services, an approved US military services training provider, will be contributing HP web based training and exam vouchers targeting Cloud or Converged Infrastructure administration to the IT Training and Credentialing Program. Additionally, HP ExpertOne will provide community memberships for the pilot population, giving service members access to free learning opportunities, personalized certification recommendations, and a global community of IT professionals and HP experts.

• Futures Inc. is providing the IT Pipeline platform that will be the centralized hub for matching and connecting transitioning and Reserve Component personnel with civilian training, certification, and employment opportunities. IT Pipeline is designed to address the assessment, training, credentialing and hiring challenges faced by our military personnel as they transition to civilian employment. The IT Pipeline platform will also enable employers to match their jobs with transitioning personnel based on their military training, experience, education, and credentials.

• A key partner in this effort is Global Knowledge, a leader in IT and business training. The company is providing training scholarships to exiting military, enabling them to obtain the gap training needed to gain the industry-recognized IT certifications civilian employers value and often require. The program courses are mapped to the most in-demand IT jobs such as application development, network security, and IT project management.

• GogoTraining is providing access to their online self-paced Information Technology training platform to help transitioning military personnel prepare for careers in the private sector. With the help of GogoTraining’s learning platform, experts bring their classroom courses to life online enabling service members to fit training into their schedule while still receiving the same high quality classroom content and support. GogoTraining courses and programs will help exiting personnel prepare for careers in computer programming, database administration, software and mobile application development, and obtain key certifications in areas such as CompTIA and Oracle.

• SANS Institute and Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) are proud to be part of this pilot program, helping to train and certify service members returning to the civilian workforce. SANS and GIAC are providing training and certification scholarships to the pilot program. SANS is the largest source for information security training in the world and GIAC is the leading provider of technical, job-duty-specific information security certifications and its exams validate the hands-on ability of practitioners around the world.

Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions to johnpresta@att.net.

John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.

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