With veterans returning home in record numbers from ongoing conflicts abroad, Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU) announced today the expansion of its veteran training and employment program run by Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS). The VETalent program is now available in partnership with Rutgers University, Penn State University-Abington, and the University of North Florida.
In 2009 Prudential partnered with WOS, a nonprofit organization, and Rutgers University-Newark to develop a unique program called VETalent that would train Iraq and Afghanistan war-era veterans for jobs in information technology. The first class of veterans began training in early 2010 and graduated in July 2011. A second information technology class is now underway. Veterans who successfully complete the WOS academic component can be hired as consultants by sponsor companies, and ultimately considered for full-time employment.According to the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics Report, there are now two million post-9/11 veterans who are faced with an unemployment rate of 20.9% for veterans ages 18 to 24, and 12.6% for those between 25 and 34.
"The unfortunate reality is unemployment rates for veterans are higher than the national average for non veterans. This is a challenge corporate America should and can help address," said Ray Weeks, vice president of Veterans Initiatives for Prudential Financial, Inc. "Veterans offer a distinct set of qualities and skills that can easily translate to the corporate workforce and add value to the organization."
With the benefit of the ongoing success of the information technology program in Newark, a business operations support class has been launched in both Prudential's Ft. Washington, PA and Jacksonville, FL operations centers. Veterans successfully completing the VETalent work-study certificate program receive a certificate awarded by the partnering four year college or university.
"VETalent is a systemic approach to transitioning Veterans back into the workforce. We not only train Veterans for a new career, but we provide them with professional development and career guidance”something that other programs are not doing," said Dr. Arthur Langer, founder and chairman of WOS. "We feel it is important to give something back to those who have given us so much."
"We're delighted to expand the program to new cities aligned with where we have employees and business operations. Our collaboration with Workforce Opportunity Services and these two prestigious universities will help ensure our veteran participants receive top notch training coupled with on-the-job experience at Prudential," said Weeks. "While this year our three VETalent classes will prepare as many as 45 veterans for new careers in the corporate workplace, we recognize that we can't solve this challenge for veterans on our own. Our program is a best practice model and we are actively working to share our insights with other corporations. We also seek ways to partner with businesses and government entities to address this challenge more broadly."
VETalent is a program run by Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS), a nonprofit 501Â©(3) organization with a proven track record. The program is sponsored by Prudential Financial, Inc. WOS has a mission to partner with the academic and corporate sectors to provide work/study programs for enlisted Veterans. For more information, visit www.prudential.com/veterans.
Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS), a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization, helps provide veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war eras with career and educational opportunities through unique work-study programs. Working with sponsor companies and university partners, WOS creates customized academic certificate programs that help military veterans make effective transitions into the civilian workforce. For more information, please visit: http://www.wforce.org/.