It just got easier for transitioning service members to compete for civilian sector IT jobs.

The IT Training and Certification Partnership, a newly-created public-private initiative, provides a way for service members to earn industry-recognized IT certifications before they separate from the military.  Most importantly, the certifications are nationally recognized by civilian hiring managers.

Despite their skills and asset of a security clearance, many service members competing for civilian IT jobs have found their experience and skills sometimes misunderstood by civilian hiring managers demanding specific IT certifications.  Earning those certifications after separating from the service has meant delays in the job hunt. That won’t be the case in the future.

The announcement of the new partnership was made by First Lady Michelle Obama, April 29, 2013, on behalf of the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force.  The task force estimates that the partnership will increase opportunities for service members to attain nationally recognized certifications in 12 in-demand technology professions.  These include certifications for computer programmers, quality assurance engineers, network administration, program design and IT security analysts.

Since last summer, members of the task force have been working on identifying military occupational specialties that meet high-demand IT civilian sector requirements.  In addition, the task force has been working with civilian credentialing and licensing groups to address gaps and increase service members’ access to the exams necessary to meet civilian credentialing requirements. The collaborative effort has included leaders in all branches of the service, IT corporations and credentialing associations.  According to the announcement, those efforts now mean 1.8 million job opportunities by 2020, and salary expectations of above $80,000 annually.

As the program gets underway, it will include a pilot phase, and will target both service members who are in the process of transitioning into the civilian workforce, and those who are in the early to middle stages of their military careers.

Among the bigger companies participating in the program are Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Oracle, NetApp, HP, Global Knowledge and Futures, Inc.

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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: