Women in IT: New Program Helps Female Vets Land IT Careers

Career Advice

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Good news for cleared women veterans with technical skills.  A partnership between the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW) is designed to help women veterans better their chances of success in landing IT jobs.

“The partnership with NCWIT is a means to help women veterans tap into resources they don’t otherwise have, and connect with mentors who can help them identify and define their career goals in IT,” said Karen Montagne, BPW spokesperson.  “It isn’t a placement service.  The program works to fill some of the gaps many women veterans face when they leave the military and begin to think about civilian jobs.  And because so many women leave the military with technical skills, this particular program targets IT.”

The partnership’s goal is to assist women veterans interested in competing for the pool of 1.4 million computer-related jobs projected over the next six years.   Employment statistics show that even with a clearance and technical training, many women veterans still struggle to find jobs that match their experience.

The new partnership addresses that challenge by providing women veterans with access to NCWIT’s library of information technology, subject matter experts, career resources and personal coaching through mentors.

For example, when cleared women veterans want to start looking for IT jobs requiring a clearance, they can sign up to find mentors who are cleared professionals already working in IT.  Through their mentoring relationships, they receive coaching in navigating the job hunt, identifying career goals, translating their military skills on a resume and preparing for interviews.  In addition, they learn more about industry opportunities.  BPW partners in the program include  Booz Allen Hamilton, Dell, Intel and others.

The partnership was announced in September during the Colorado Women Veterans Conference in Denver.  The program is free and utilizes both an online platform and one-on-one mentoring.

While the new partnership specifically targets women veterans interested in IT jobs, it is part of BPW’s broader program, Joining Forces Mentoring Plus, a free, national program that connects women veterans with mentors and resources in a variety of career fields.  The program is available to women in all ranks and all eras, and also includes military spouses.

One case study provided by BPW, highlights the effectiveness of women veteran mentoring programs; the story of an eight-year veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  A terminal operations manager, she was responsible for processing and loading more than 7,000 passengers and hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo.  After returning home, she could only find work in a low level government job, despite her military service and the fact she had two master’s degrees.  After working with BPW’s mentoring program, she landed another government job at twice the salary of her previous job.

“There are numerous case studies that indicate the success of the program, because it’s about working women helping women work,” said Montagne.

To sign up or learn more: www.bpwfoundation.org

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: Tranette@Ledfordllc.com.

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