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5/1/2013
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Veterans Program Offers IT Certifications

Military, business community team up to give service members ways to earn private sector IT certifications.

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As many as 161,000 members of the U.S. military will have an opportunity to earn IT credentials that will help them find private sector jobs as part of a new White House program.

The program, called the IT Training and Certification Partnership, was launched Monday by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Too often, military veterans "discover that the credentials that they've earned in military courses don't actually transfer when they enroll in college, so they're turned away from jobs that they're more than qualified to do," she said. "Or they wind up paying to do the same coursework over again, and all that training, all that education, all that expertise that they have devoted their lives to attain, it all goes to waste."

[ Local governments could use the skills offered by vets. Read Big Data Will Stymie Local Government. ]

About a dozen tech companies are participating in the initiative. Cisco worked with talent management software vendor Futures Inc. to develop an IT certification program that matches military occupation codes with private sector careers. HP, Microsoft, NetApp and Oracle are offering training and certification for their respective technologies, while SANS Institute and Global Information Assurance Certification are doing the same in the area of IT security.

Service members who participate in the program can receive a gap analysis of their IT skills to determine where to focus their training efforts. Training and certification are geared to 12 technology professions, including computer programming, quality assurance engineering and IT security analysis.

In some cases, military occupations already match up well with private sector requirements. For instance, the training for the Navy's IT and IT Submarines occupation codes correspond fully to CompTIA's A+ and Security+ certifications. In such situations, military veterans can use the program for additional training to qualify for other certifications.

The IT Training and Certification Partnership is an outgrowth of a military credentials task force formed last year by the Department of Defense and is part of a broader push by the Obama administration to help military personnel find jobs when they return to the private sector. Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, in a column on Whitehouse.gov, wrote that U.S. companies have hired or trained 290,000 military veterans and spouses and committed to hiring or training another 435,000 over the next five years.

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