WASHINGTON – The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy joined with a coalition of private-sector partners from the telecommunications industry to launch "Warriors 4 Wireless," a new nonprofit program aimed at connecting veterans and returning service members to jobs in the rapidly growing wireless telecommunications industry.
A White House release said the program includes stakeholders from Joining Forces – a national initiative that provides opportunities and support to military members and their families -- as well as from the private sector, the federal government, the U.S. military, and industry trade associations committed to scaling successful training models for veterans with wireless-relevant skills.
Warriors 4 Wireless builds on a Veterans IT Training and Certification program, launched at the White House in April 2013 in response to a call to action by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama asking industries to make it easier for military service members and veterans to receive civilian training and certifications, according to the release.
Although the majority of IT specialists in the military receive training that is equivalent to their civilian IT counterparts, they typically do not have industry-recognized certifications that reflect the IT skills and expertise gained during service, the release said.
"The administration is committed to the care of all service members, veterans, and their families," Army Col. Rich Morales, executive director of Joining Forces, said in the release. "We are proud to support initiatives like Warriors for Wireless that play a critical role in connecting members of the armed forces leaving military service to the jobs training and certification necessary to obtain many high-tech, high-skilled jobs in the private sector."
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in the release, "I wholeheartedly salute the Warriors for Wireless initiative aimed at connecting our Nation's veterans and returning service members to jobs in the rapidly growing wireless telecommunications industry. It's a win for the increasing number of Americans across our nation who rely on wireless networks at work and at home, and the exciting new opportunities that these networks are helping create in health care, education and every corner of our economy. Let's work together to make it a success."
The Warriors 4 Wireless program is designed to help address the shortage of skilled jobs for returning veterans while satisfying the wireless industry's immediate need for skilled tower-climbers to rapidly, efficiently, and safely deploy wireless telecommunications equipment and facilities.
The Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program was launched in Washington, D.C., in 2012, achieving an 86 percent job-placement rate for the more than 50 participating veterans, according to the release. Today's event will expand the pilot program to a nationwide initiative, with the launch of new partners and industry commitments.
Industry partners – including Cisco, American Tower, Dynis, and PCIA – are supporting Warriors 4 Wireless in a number of ways, including by providing industry-recognized technical and safety training and certifications to veterans, developing new curricula and skills-training modules, and connecting transitioning service members to available wireless-industry jobs across the country, the release said.
Among the new commitments announced at today's event:
- Dynis has trained and employed more than 50 servicemen and women through the Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program over the past year. Dynis will continue to support an expanded Warriors 4 Wireless program through equipment contributions and curriculum development and by providing training opportunities, training instructors, and funding.
- MasTec is providing training facilities and instructors to support Warriors 4 Wireless, and has committed to connect 1,500-plus expected MasTec job openings in the first half of 2014 to veterans and service members participating in the Warriors 4 Wireless program.
- American Tower Company is partnering with Warriors 4 Wireless to help launch careers in the wireless industry for returning service members. ATC will provide participants access to select assets in the ATC tower portfolio for training and certification and it is working to help connect program graduates with potential employment opportunities at ATC. Additionally, ATC is supporting the design and implementation of the Warriors 4 Wireless Training Program at Aiken Technical College in South Carolina.
- Futures, Inc. is providing the "US IT Pipeline" online platform, originally developed for the IT Training and Certification Program launched last April, which will be the centralized hub for matching and connecting service members with civilian training, certifications, and employment opportunities as part of the Warriors 4 Wireless program.
- Cisco is committed to helping train, connect and hire veterans as they transition from the military to the private sector. Through support of the US IT Pipeline, Cisco will continue to work with Futures, Inc., and other Warriors 4 Wireless partners to provide training and access to high-skilled job opportunities to servicemen and women. Additionally, Cisco will provide support to help enable wireless employers and veteran job applicants conduct virtual interviews from anywhere around the globe.
- Outside Planet Magazine, a telecommunications industry publication, is supporting the mission of Warriors 4 Wireless by donating media and advertising support to raise awareness about these efforts.
- In addition, Pricewaterhouse Cooper, T-Mobile, Novation, PCIA, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, CTIA, the Wireless Association, and the Competitive Carriers Association will also provide additional support and financial assistance to the initiative.
Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said, "Today's employers require a workforce equipped with 21st-century skills and training. Our men and women in the armed forces are uniquely positioned with the knowledge and drive to succeed, but may lack certain industry qualifications. We applaud this initiative aimed at enabling thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized credentials and translate their military experience into private-sector careers."
William Towery, a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 who received Fiber Optics Installer/Technician certifications and other certifications through the Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program has a blog post which can be viewed here.