Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON – First lady Michelle Obama on Monday unveiled the new Information Technology Training and Certification Partnership to put thousands of service members to work with industry-recognized IT certifications in hand before leaving the military.
Obama, who made the announcement at the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing at the White House, said a public-private partnership will offer the certification program.
“This new partnership will provide up to 161,000 service members with the chance to gain the certifications they need for 12 different high-demand, high-paying technology careers … from IT security analysts to computer programmers to quality assurance engineers,” she noted.
The program is expected to garner more than 1.8 million jobs by 2020, with salaries of more than $81,000, a White House fact sheet indicated.
“More than 1 million service members will be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning to civilian life … on top of the hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses already out there looking for work,” the first lady said.
Obama said that too often, men and women in uniform come home to find that the training and experience they have received in the military does not count toward civilian employment, “or they discover that the credits they’ve earned in military courses don’t transfer when they enroll in college, so they’re turned away from jobs that they’re more than qualified to do.”
Obama called military members highly skilled, hard-working and dedicated people.
The new credentialing initiative is in line with President Barack Obama’s partnerships with the manufacturing sector for service members to gain high-demand advanced certifications. It also ties in with the recently developed DOD Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, and the first lady’s February challenge to governors to take executive or legislative action for service members to get the credentials they need to transition to the civilian workforce by the end of 2015.
“We’re here today … not just for our veterans and our military Families, but for our economy and for the future of our country,” Obama told members of four roundtables who will work to streamline the credentialing program.
Members of the roundtables represented DOD, military services, private sector, industry trade associations, unions, educational institutions, state legislatures, veterans service organizations and state licensing boards.
“In recent months, we’ve seen leaders across this country starting to solve this problem,” Obama said of veteran unemployment. “We have seen dozens of governors and state legislators passing laws that clear away all the red tape so that veterans and military spouses can get the licenses they need for the jobs they’re qualified for.”
Obama said changing laws is just the beginning, and “even the best laws in the world won’t make a difference until companies are actually making those job offers, schools are accepting those credits, and our veterans and military spouses are actually collecting those paychecks that they need to take care of their Families.”
The first lady encouraged roundtable members to work together to find the gaps in the veterans unemployment system and find ways to close them.
“If you have a program or a curriculum that’s working at your school, hospital or company, we want you to share the information here. Tell people about it, ... because we have to be prepared to accept our military members, our veterans and service members wherever they land in this country after their service,” she said.
Industry leaders that will help support the initiative are Cisco Systems, Microsoft Corp., Oracle, CompTIA NetApp, Hewlett-Packard, Futures, Global Knowledge, Gogo Training and SANS Institute and Global Information assurance Certification, according to White House officials.
“We are not going to stop until all our veterans and military Families have good jobs … jobs they deserve … jobs that they've earned, jobs that will help them build their careers and create a better future for their children,” Obama said.