U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

05/17/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/17/2024 08:36

VA and Salesforce help Veterans translate military experience into civilian careers

Veterans are up to 38% more likely to be underemployed than the general population, though the unemployment rate for Veterans has improved compared to non-Veterans, at 2.9% and 4.1% respectively. Military spouse unemployment rates have recently increased from 22% to 38%, due in large part to frequent relocations, and 88% of surveyed military spouses agree that the military lifestyle results in underemployment.

Employment insecurity can be detrimental to health, and quality employment is an essential condition for health equity. This is why VA's National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships (HAP) partners with organizations that support employment and career development to improve the health and well-being of Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.

VA, in a partnership facilitated by HAP, collaborates with Salesforce to provide resources and tools for transitioning service members (TSMs), Veterans and their spouses pursuing careers in technology. Military community members can use Trailhead, Salesforce's free online learning platform, and Salesforce Military 's free training resources to advance current careers or pursue new career paths outside of the military. They can also access the Trailblazer community to join groups and grow professional networks.

"Through collaboration with community partners like Salesforce, HAP helps Veterans and their spouses find fulfilling careers outside of the military," said Christine Eickhoff, HAP health system specialist. "Community partners are a force multiplier that contribute new resources in addition to what VA already provides in the effort to address unemployment and underemployment rates for Veterans and military spouses."

Translating military skills for a civilian workforce

Due to differences in job classification systems and difficulty translating military experience and job titles, TSMs, Veterans and even civilian employers face challenges during the hiring process. These challenges can lead Veterans to obtain duplicative skills and certifications or facing periods of unemployment or underemployment.

"Salesforce encourages its employees to 'be your true self' at work,'" said Mike Nolan, senior manager, Military Recruiting. "It's because of our culture that we strongly encourage TSMs, Veterans and spouses to build their personal brands and make connections with other employees from the military community. Leveraging the shared military bond encourages conversations, which lead to friendships that help translate how military experience aligns with the civilian workforce."

Salesforce fellowship

Salesforce partners with Hiring Our Heroes to provide Veterans and military spouses with paid, hands-on experience through 12-week fellowships. Fellows are encouraged to network extensively, building connections with future colleagues and increasing hiring chances after fellowships end.

Shannon Allena, a recent Salesforce Fellow, had a successful career as a consultant before becoming a military spouse. Allena struggled to continue pursuing her career goals due to the frequent moves and finally decided to pursue a Salesforce administrator certification. Through networking, Allena found the Salesforce Fellowship program and was matched with the Military Recruiting Program.

"The Fellowship program has been a great success," said Nolan. "We hosted 47 fellows last year, which was also the first year we offered the program internally, and we have plans to host 100 Fellows in 2024. We're excited to be able to give Shannon a position where she can shine and do things we've never done in the Military Recruiting Program."

Salesforce's Military Recruiting Program

Allena was the first fellow hosted by Salesforce's Military Recruiting Program, and she recently accepted a full-time position as Military Recruiting Program manager, Marketing and Operations.

When asked about challenges faced in her new role, Allena said, "With the skills I learned during my fellowship I was able to smoothly transition into a full-time position with Salesforce. Knowing the tools, networking with many people in the organization, and learning about the Military Recruiting Program's future goals allowed me to hit the ground running."

The team values her organizational skills and her background in digital marketing, and Allena will be involved in several future program updates, such as a fellowship mentor initiative and scaling the program beyond the U.S.

"I'm passionate about the cause of helping military spouses find careers and career advancement," said Allena. "Even though losing my career as a consultant was devastating, I had to go through that journey to get where I am now. I feel like I'm finally in a place where I belong."

Additional VA and Salesforce resources

In addition to helping TSMs, Veterans and their spouses advance their careers, VA and Salesforce make it easy to learn about VA benefits and mental health resiliency resources. The Veteran Mental Health and Resiliency Resources and VA Benefits for Veterans Trailhead modules help Veterans and military spouses quickly learn about and access these benefits.

TSMs, Veterans and military spouses interested in transitioning to careers in technology can learn more about technology careers and more at VA or visit Hiring Our Heroes to learn more about the Salesforce Fellowship.

For more information about VHA partnerships, visit HAP.

For more information about careers in technology, visit Salesforce.