It launched in San Francisco this summer, but Vets in Tech is making big headlines this Veteran’s Day. The platform aims to connect returning veterans with the technology community and offer support for education, entrepreneurship and employment.
Specifically, Vets in Tech aims to give back with a tech-specific network, resources and programs for U.S. veterans interested in pursuing technology careers. It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative that’s getting high praise from government officials.
“Vets in Tech is a much-needed veteran entrepreneurship initiative here in the ‘Innovation Capital of the World,’ combining three of my priorities: jobs, vets, and technology,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “Returning men and woman who have served our country deserve a chance to get the good jobs in our new innovation economy.”
Staggering Vet Unemployment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), returning servicemen and women face difficulties finding jobs when they return from the field. Indeed, the BLS reports that jobless rates for veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq era are much higher than jobless rates for the rest of the nation -- and even worse for younger veterans. Vets younger than 25 are posting a 30 percent unemployment rate.
All told, that translates to nearly 1 million veterans currently unemployed. “But the tech industry is hiring like crazy right now,” said Katherine Webster, founder of Vets in Tech and Tech Central SF. “There are 8,000 tech jobs open in San Francisco alone, and some tech companies are hiring in the thousands.”
As Webster describes it, the mission of Vets in Tech is to bring these veterans together with the tech community, fill some of those open jobs and start building relationships. She says vets and technology are a perfect fit.
“The current generation of veterans has had more exposure to technology than any other,” she says. “They have amazing leadership, problem solving skills and discipline, but they also have a great understanding of social media, technologies and more. Many are poised to take on careers in the technology industry and we need to support them.”
Life After the Military
Vets in Tech helps vets address skills gaps and transition into tech careers, whether they choose to enter existing tech companies or follow a more entrepreneurial path and create their own startups.
We asked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, for his reaction to the new platform. He told us Webster’s arguments are valid and the platform can be successful if the concept is executed properly.
“A lot of folks in the military are trained to use technology in strategy and logistics in observation and certainly in repair. Very often it’s very hard for them to locate jobs in the private sector because they are so used to the military establishment and the way of doing things. They need some help cycling through to the private sector,” Enderle said.
“Setting up a site that bridges the military to the private would seem to have a tremendous amount of value to both sides. There are shortages in certain types of technology jobs that these military guys can fill. And of course these [veterans] need a life after the military,” he added.
Jim P White:
Posted: 2013-11-11 @ 7:37pm PT
Super article and Best read of this Veteran Day!! Transition now has a friend in Tech; Vets in Tech an original concept, the right place, the right time, right now.