IBM is a multinational technology corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York. In their more than 100 years of existence, the company has expanded its operations to 170 countries and has achieved ground breaking success in the technology sector.
We asked Heather Howell, Diversity and Inclusion Leader and Manager of U.S. and Global Constituency Programs, what it means for IBM to have earned the Military Friendly® designation, and how their overall strategy to recruit, retain and empower military veterans has continued to push the company forward.
- How does your company uniquely serve the military community?
IBM has a nationwide program, the Veteran Employment Accelerator, provided by our Corporate Citizenship team that offers free software training and certification to any current or former military service member. The program is designed to lead them to be hireable for open positions as data analysts in corporate America, defense and law enforcement industries. Since January 2016, IBM has hosted one of these training sessions per month. Participating veterans get side by side training from IBM experts, to learn advanced skills in the use of i2 Analysts’ Notebook, which is industry leading fraud analytics software used extensively in the military, banks, retail corporations and law enforcement .
Recent training sessions have taken place in Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Las Vegas, with upcoming sessions in Philadelphia, Fort Drum, and Houston. More than 500 veterans have been trained to date, and hundreds more will participate in the program this year. The program is offered free to Veterans through IBM’s Corporate Citizenship team as grant program, and in partnership with Corporate America Supports You (CASY).
The completion of the training is followed-up with career placement services provided by the CASY team, and their national job placement network, which use IBM’s Smarter Workforce solutions such as Kenexa, also donated by IBM, to assist these current and former military personnel in securing new careers. Through this partnership, CASY has placed over 20,000 Veteran job seekers in new positions over the last five years.
IBM Watson Health is partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and has launched a public-private partnership to help doctors scale access to precision medicine for 10,000 American veterans with cancer over the next two years. As America’s largest integrated health system, VA provides care to 3.5 percent of the nation’s cancer patients – the largest group of cancer patients in the country.
IBM will provide Watson for Genomics, which has been trained for genomic analysis, to scientists and pathologists that have sequenced DNA for VA cancer patients to help them identify the likely cancer-causing mutations and treatment options that target those specific mutations – a data-intensive process that has been time consuming and difficult to scale in the past. Watson is expected to help VA clinicians give veterans rapid access to precision medicine options, particularly for patients with advanced cancer. The collaboration with VA is also expected to advance genomic research.
IBM has collaborated with Vet Friendly, an initiative to bring 100,000 Jobs for Veterans by 2020. IBM has embraced this challenge and joined this mission. Our connection to Vet Friendly will provide IBM access to highly qualified veteran talent seeking employment. Veterans will see IBM as a company that hires and supports their career success.
- What does being a Military Friendly® Employer mean to you?
IBM is honored to be known as a company that respects military service and values the broad range of transferable skills that they bring to the workplace. We believe in the successful transition of veterans into the workforce and we provide a supportive environment which is conducive to helping veterans achieve their career goals.
- How has earning the Military Friendly® designation benefited you?
Earning the Military Friendly® designation shines a spotlight on recruitment opportunities IBM is eager to fill. Announced in March 2017, IBM committed to hiring 2,000 U.S. veterans over the next four years. These positions are part of the company’s broader pledge to hire 25,000 U.S. workers through 2020, and many are “new collar jobs” that do not always require a four-year college degree. What’s most important in these roles is having the right mix of skills and experience that our clients need in fast-growing areas like cloud computing, cybersecurity, network management, and digital design. Veterans bring a disciplined work ethic as well as strong collaboration and communications skills acquired through their military service, all capabilities that IBM values highly.
- Why do you think it’s important to earn the Military Friendly® designation?
IBM is proud of our long history of diversity and inclusion from hiring our first women and black employees in 1899 to employment and training program in the 1940’s for individuals with disabilities and veterans returning from World War II. We also understand that we can never rest on our past laurels, and that we must continue to press forward with our leadership in diversity. That’s why we are pleased to be recognized with the Military Friendly® Employer gold award designation in 2017. We realize that for our company to be competitive, innovative and a great place to work, we must continue to maintain IBM as a welcoming and inclusive environment.
Additionally, IBM believes it is important to strengthen our company brand in the military / veteran community as an employer who values the skills, education and experiences which are gained from military service.
- If you’ve advertised in G.I. Jobs® print or digital media, how has it helped your veteran recruiting?
We understand GI Jobs® is a respected source and this advertising platform has helped veterans become better aware of the many benefits IBM is able to offer as an employer of choice as well as a leading edge company working to help solve global challenges through the use of advanced and innovative technology.
Veterans interested in learning more about how their skills and experiences may fit at IBM should consider using the IBM Find Your Fit Tool. The tool utilizes the information in your resumé and matches your credentials immediately with open positions.
This 2 minute video features IBM veterans discussing the transferable skill set they acquired in the military coupled with their experiences working at IBM.