Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Twenty information technology scholarships worth at least $430,00 are going to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in a unique collaborative program sponsored by wireless giant Qualcomm Inc. and Manpower San Diego.
“Strategies for Success” is a 26 –week program designed to give vets a leg up pursuing high-tech careers in an effort to drive down the high unemployment rate among younger veterans.
The first class for veterans is scheduled to start in January. Entry knowledge in IT is required for scholarship consideration.
“If you think you have the right skills, submit a resume,” said Phil Blair, the CEO of Manpower San Diego. “There is nothing to lose.”
Apparently veterans agree. Less than half a day after publication of the program, 122 veterans had already applied.
Nationwide the official unemployment rate among all veterans is about 10 percent, compared to just below 8 percent for the rest of the population, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The rate, however, among veterans 18 to 24 is nearly 24 percent, according to BLS figures.
Knocking these numbers down is especially important in San Diego, home to the largest number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the United States at more than 30,000.
After two weeks of training at the staffing agency Manpower of San Diego, where post 9-11 military veterans will learn skills to better acclimate into the civilian workforce, they’ll start six-months of IT training at Qualcomm.
Strategies for Success started nearly a decade ago to help disadvantaged youth. The program is being tweaked to help veterans.
The edition of the class for former service members will train students to translate their military skills into language that civilian employers can understand, as well as office etiquette.
"If you just came in from the military and went to a company like Qualcomm, you're going to flounder," Blair said. "I’m going to have Manpower civilianize you."
At Qualcomm, the veterans will work in temporary IT positions with the intent of capturing permanent employment. Throughout the time of their scholarship, selected veterans will make $15 to $24 an hour working 40-hour weeks.
“With so many of the fine men and women serving our country in this military town, we are honored as one of the largest employers in the region to support their return to civilian life,” Dan Sullivan, executive vice president for human resources at Qualcomm said in a statement.
“Our goal is to provide them with opportunity to gain experience and sharpen their skillset so they can flourish in the private sector.”