IBM’s Plan To Hire 2,000 Veterans By 2020

By Amit Chowdhry ● November 11, 2018

Today is Veterans Day, which is a day that honors military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces. Many technology companies usually hire veterans because of what those candidates can bring to the table rather than seeing it as the right thing to do.

For example, Orion Talent conducted a 2018 survey where it learned that 79% of companies pointed to excellent qualifications, composure, productivity, skills, and leadership as the reasons why military veterans are hired.

IBM has been looking to hire 2,000 veterans by 2020 and the company is already 60% of the way there. This program is about the special good skills and capabilities that veterans would bring to IBM. To learn more about this program, I connected with IBM to learn more about how veterans successfully transfer their skills from the military to serving cybersecurity roles in the technology sector.

There are going to be an estimated 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. To help fulfill this demand, IBM set up i2 and QRadar training with its NGO partner Corporate America Supports You (CASY) to train veterans in order to fulfill these high-paying “new collar” jobs.

Many of those jobs require technical skills and a four-year college degree is not necessary. And IBM and its enterprise and non-profit partners have certified hundreds of veterans in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Many of them have been placed into jobs following the certification programs. Here are some stories about the program:

Aaron Pait

Pait served 12 years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps (first in the infantry and then in counterintelligence/human intelligence). Starting out as a radio operator, Pait quickly became the go-to for IT and security help. In his spare time, Pait built his own computers and rode motorcycles.

One of Pait’s friends worked for IBM and told him about the company’s cybersecurity training programs. After learning about it, Pait aimed to become an executive so he completed a QRadar training course in West Virginia in February 2018.

Shortly after that, he was hired by U-Haul in Richmond, Virginia as a cybersecurity administrator. At a data center in Richmond, he became the fifth hire and managed and supported a solid team.

Chris Greifenberger

Greifenberger ended his Army career with a job at IBM. Prior to joining IBM, Greifenberger had Army Strong experience as a field artillery forward observer. And his first venture into the civilian workforce was as a sheriff’s deputy in Pasco County, Florida. After that, he pursued higher learning with a cyber intelligence focus.

Last year, Greifenberger was advised by his school counselor to apply for IBM’s free training program focused on equipping veterans with software skills widely used in defense and law enforcement.

Greifenberger completed the i2 Analyst’s Notebook training and the IBM QRadar training. And now he applies those skills as a law enforcement Intelligence Analyst with IBM.

Felicia Barnett

Barnett served in the U.S. Air Force for eight years as a staff sergeant where she conducted combat communications, tactical communications, and IT work. In the last four years of her service, Barnett worked in special operations with the Navy and the Army Special Forces. And Barnett traveled around the world programming to make sure that pilots can communicate with control centers on the ground.

Barnett left the military in 2010 to focus on her family and pursue a career in the private sector. While attending a career fair hosted by TD Bank, Barnett learned about IBM’s i2 Analyst’s Notebook training and certification.

This program helps train candidates in detecting and fighting fraud at financial institutions. After she signed up for the program, Barnett became a certified data analyst and now she has a role within TD Bank’s North American Fraud Analytics team. Plus she is also spearheading the implementation of a new IBM cloud analytics platform.