A new nonprofit program aims to help veterans and returning service members find jobs in wireless telecommunications, as part of a broader goal to have 5,000 vets employed in the expanding industry by the year 2015, according to officials from the Department of Defense.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and private sector partners from the telecommunications industry launched the "Warriors 4 Wireless" program last week. The coalition, which includes the federal government, the U.S. military, private industry stakeholders and industry trade associations, will work together to provide civilian IT training for veterans interested in working in the wireless telecommunications industry.
"The administration is committed to the care of all service members, veterans, and their families," Army Col. Rich Morales, executive director of Joining Forces, a national initiative that provides support to military members and their families, said in a statement. [7 Technologies That Transformed Warfare]
Joining Forces is participating in the Warriors 4 Wireless program, and Morales spoke about the importance of supporting efforts that "play a critical role in connecting members of the armed forces leaving military service to the jobs training and certification necessary to obtain many high-tech, high-skilled jobs in the private sector."
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama appealed to industries to make civilian training programs more accessible to military service members and veterans. The so-called Veterans IT Training and Certification program was set up as a result.
The military employs a range of IT specialists, and while they receive training similar to that of their civilian counterparts, service members oftentimes do not have industry-recognized certifications.
"Our men and women in the armed forces are uniquely positioned with the knowledge and drive to succeed, but may lack certain industry qualifications," Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said in a statement. "We applaud this initiative aimed at enabling thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized credentials and translate their military experience into private-sector careers."
Connecting veterans with jobs in the growing wireless telecommunications industry will have far-reaching benefits, said Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler.
"It's a win for the increasing number of Americans across our nation who rely on wireless networks at work and at home, and the exciting new opportunities that these networks are helping create in health care, education and every corner of our economy," Wheeler said in a statement.
A pilot version of the Warriors 4 Wireless program was started in Washington, D.C., in 2012, with more than 50 participating veterans. Officials said the early initiative resulted in an 86 percent job-placement rate. The program will now be expanded into a nationwide effort with industry partners, including Cisco, PricewaterhouseCoopers and T-Mobile.