In the next five years, over 1 million service men and women are going to transition out of the military and it is unknown how many will have jobs available for them to join. In 2014, Salesforce set up a program called Vetforce as a way for veterans to transfer the skills that they learned in the military to technology careers. Vetforce is Salesforce’s free job training and accelerator program for military service members, veterans, and spouses. Salesforce’s goal is to train, certify, and employ them in Salesforce skills in order to build the connections between the company’s ecosystem and the military community.
Now the Vetforce program has more than 12,000 members around the world and a number of success stories have resulted from the program. Salesforce connects virtual learnings to free training, classes, and career opportunities within the Salesforce ecosystem. And the classes offer comprehensive content ranging from Salesforce basics to civilian business skills with the intent of connecting learners to opportunities within the Salesforce ecosystem.
As the fastest growing customer relationship management (CRM) and fastest growing enterprise software company, Salesforce’s core values include equality. And the Vetforce program impacts larger issues such as increasing diversity, inclusion, and equality in the technology sector. And the program helps connect the military community with employers who may not be familiar with military talent by offering a Military-talent focused Trailhead module. Plus it provides a forum for Salesforce employees to connect with the military community and share the mutual culture of volunteerism.
Once participants complete their training, they will be able to find careers on the Salesforce platform distributed around the globe. And it is established in industries ranging from manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and nonprofits. And Salesforce’s certifications are globally recognized and follows the participants in the careers that they want to lead.
To learn more about the Vetforce program, I connected with Ann Weeby — who is the head of the program. Between 2003 and 2004, Weeby was in active duty of the Michigan Army National Guard in Mosul and Kirkuk, Iraq where she managed a staff of over 40 Iraqi citizens at an International Department of Public Works. After returning home, she was the project manager for a new of social impact organizations such as Climb Kalamazoo, Planet Granite, KaBoom! In 2011, Weeby became the school account manager of Revolution Foods where she managed the relationship with 28 schools and non-profits to ensure a successful implementation of their healthy school lunch program for over 2,000 students and all the interactions were documented through Salesforce. Several years later, Weeby became the Director of Workforce Innovation at Salesforce.
Weeby said that Vetforce’s “mission is to train 35,000 people in Salesforce skills.” These skills are in high demand and usually lead to high salary careers. “And we help fill a need at companies,” added Weeby.
Salesforce’s guided learning paths are centralized in a platform called Trailhead. And as people go through training on Trailhead, they receive badges. The cost of the Administration Essentials training program for a 5-day virtual instructor-led classroom is free for military service members.
And Weeby told me that Salesforce’s offices in the US showcased the company’s military community earlier this week in conjunction with Veterans’ Day:
All @salesforce offices in the US are showcasing our incredible military community today. At HQ we asked our employees to sign up at https://t.co/J6A0KUPibw to be a mentor and join our employee resource group as an ally. #neverforget #ThankYouVeterans pic.twitter.com/wi0lRRtih3
— Veteran Trailblazers (@Vetforce) November 12, 2018
One of the inspirational stories that Weeby shared with me is about Merivis Foundation (a Vetforce partner) graduate Sheldon Simmons. Simmons had served eight years in the Navy as an Aviation Boatswain Mate. After Simmons left the military, he was working on an assembly line night shift for between $10-$12 per hour. When he started taking the Salesforce Administration course with Merivis, Simmons actually slept in his car to do week-long Merivis class in person and then work on the assembly line after. Once he completed the Salesforce Administration course, he received a job offer paying substantially higher than his assembly line job:
Salesforce and its ecosystem of customers and partners are expected to create 2 million jobs and generate $389 billion in GDP worldwide. And the Salesforce ecosystem currently generates 2.8 times the revenue of Salesforce itself and is expected to grow about 3.7 times as large as Salesforce.