Technology council program is aimed at finding talent
Technology jobs, some with high-pay potential, are among the most sought after in the commonwealth, and Northern Virginia is the state’s technology hub.
The Herndon-based Northern Virginia Technology Council, the largest regional tech group in the U.S., wants qualified veterans to know — please apply.
Since 2013, the council has led an innovative business-driven Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI). The program is designed to help veterans find jobs and to assist technology companies in filling vacancies with veterans who are already qualified or can be trained.
Seven hundred to 1,000 service members from military bases and installations in the D.C. area transition into civilian life every month. That tide of veterans is not going to get any smaller, says Steve Jordon, VEI’s program manager.
“Companies need talent, and this provides another recourse,” says Jordon, a former Navy captain who retired after 30 years of service.
Stephen Fuller of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis has forecast that during the current decade (ending in 2020), 41 percent of the more than 124,000 new jobs in Northern Virginia will be created in the professional, scientific and technical-services sectors.
The technology council says that finding qualified employees for those new jobs is difficult, adding that workforce development is one of the biggest long-term challenges facing the industry.
The council and Monster.com, one of the most visited employment websites in the world, have formed an online community. It includes a vast, searchable database of jobs at council member firms.
Every council member — about 1,000 companies — can post jobs for free on NoVaTechVets.org and related sites. They also can access Monster’s database of thousands of veterans’ résumés.
NoVaTechVets.org also has “a military skills translator” that can help veterans match their skills with civilian jobs.
Other tools on the site help vets build their résumés and review opportunities for further education. All of these features are designed to help veterans make the sometimes bumpy transition to the civilian workforce a little smoother.
Jordon says that VEI and Virginia Values Veterans began about the same time, and they have close links. “We’re mutually supportive,” he says. “It’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Tech council companies that also are V3-certified have reported hiring 4,000 veterans since VEI began.
But Jordon says that number probably underestimates the number of veterans who have actually found employment, because not every company is V3-certified and reports its hires.
A series of special events established by VEI is called “recruiting days.”
Unlike traditional job fairs where applicants looking for jobs circulate between tables, recruiting days allow employers to pre-screen veterans’ résumés before speaking with them in small groups.
Jordon says an applicant can get up to 20 minutes of face time with a potential employer. “Career speed-dating,” he says.
To aid companies, monthly VEI webinars also provide tips on best practices in hiring, training and retaining veterans.
Although Jordon describes the VEI as “philanthropic and patriotic,” that’s not the bottom line.
“At the end of the day, the decision to bring a veteran on board is a business decision,” he says.
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