Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rise to the Challenge: Help Those Who Served

by Todd Thibodeaux on March 6, 2012

"On Veterans Day last November, we saw a number of stories about the state of unemployment among the veterans community. It was startling enough to learn the unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans was 33 percent higher than the overall population, but if you dig a little deeper, you realize the picture gets far darker.

"As the jobs picture improves for more Americans, among our youngest veterans, those 18 to 24 years old, the jobless rate continues to hover near 30 percent, up from 18 to 20 percent the prior year. The numbers add up to a challenge twice as daunting as the 15-percent unemployment rate for non-veterans in the same age range. I think it’s pretty fair to say that if something isn’t done soon, the level of disenfranchisement among our veterans will be almost impossible to recover from. Read more on the analysis from Business Week.

"CompTIA is trying to do its part through our new Troops to Tech Careers (T2TC) Program. This skills retraining effort is designed to ease the transition from military to civilian employment through outreach, education, training and certification by providing a pathway to a successful career in IT.  With the accelerated return of our veterans from Afghanistan beginning in earnest this year and next, and the anticipated discharge of tens of thousands of Iraqi vets, the public workforce system will be taxed like never before.

"This crucial infrastructure, providing funding to unemployed individuals through the Workforce Investment Act for career training and industry credentials, has dedicated staff at each OneStop Center for returning vets. CompTIA has worked closely with the Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration, at both the Federal and local levels, representing the IT industry and advocating the important role of IT credentials in workforce development, employability and family sustaining wages.

"Beginning with a partnership with New Horizons Computer Learning Centers and the OneStop Centers, CompTIA hopes to assist these returning vets in filling one of the more than 300,000 open IT jobs that exist today.  CompTIA and New Horizons already have begun working with OneStop Centers in 31 areas, including Chicago, southern California, Austin, Detroit, Jacksonville and Nashville, and will be expanding these efforts in the future.
"The underlying goal is to work with the public workforce system to ensure that any returning veteran with the aptitude and interest in a technical IT career can receive the training and credentialing provided through CompTIA’s industry-recognized, vendor-neutral certifications such as CompTIA A+Network+ orSecurity+, in order to obtain employment in the high growth IT Industry.
"There are three main components to T2TC: education and training, credentialing and employment.
"Education is focused on community colleges with long-standing relationships with local OneStop Centers for the training and education of unemployed veterans who qualify for WIA funds. Additionally, we will be reaching out to four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, that offer IT degree programs for veterans.
"Credentials are traditionally the starting point for individuals wanting to pursue a career as computer technician or network or security administrator.  In addition, participating veterans with higher level skills and experience in IT can pursue CompTIA’s Project+, Health IT Technician Certificate, or the CompTIA Advanced Security Professional (CASP) certification.
"Employment is the key metric to the success of this program aimed at linking as many veterans as possible to the 300,000+ open IT jobs in our country today.  That being said, we are reaching out to IT employers of all sizes, large, medium and small to create registry of corporations ready to hire veterans.
"The challenge won’t be solved with empty promises and half-hearted commitments. We need some of the largest IT employers enjoying record profits to step up to the plate and look for ways to give those who served a chance for a new start. CompTIA stands prepared to help them understand how they can get engaged and be part of the solution.  Find out how you can become part of the solution to by checking out our new T2TC website."

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