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High-tech tools help veterans find tech careers

Rae Garcia served on active duty in the Air Force for six years as a staff sergeant and intelligence analyst, where she had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and programs ranging from cyber security to National Defense.

This experience led her to explore a career in technology, and Amazon’s veteran hiring programs are helping her find her career path.

“Prior to joining the Air Force, I hadn’t envisioned a future in technology, but through my active duty experiences and the opportunity to participate in this rotational learning with Amazon, I definitely see a future in this space,” Garcia said.

She participates in the AWS Intelligence Initiative, part of Amazon’s Technical Apprenticeship Program, or ATAP, which helps veterans transition into entry-level technical roles in cloud computing. She was matched to the position of dedicated cloud analyst apprentice using the Amazon Military Skills Translator, or MST, program which launched in February 2022.

According to Beau Higgins, senior director of military talent acquisition at Amazon, the company is improving the lives of military veterans and their families around the world by offering a range of programs to address the critical challenges facing the military community in emphasizing employment, employee development and caring. for veterans in need – including ATAP, the SkillBridge program, the Diversity and Hiring program, and others.

“Last year, we pledged to hire more than 100,000 U.S. military veterans and spouses by 2024, building on our commitment to military families after significantly exceeding our pledge to hire 25,000 ‘by 2021,” Higgins said.

In early August 2022, Amazon used the MST platform to hire 128 veterans and their spouses. The platform’s artificial intelligence capabilities help easily translate military occupational specialties into tangible skills that match roles at Amazon, Higgins said.

As a leader in technical staffing solutions, Oplign, whose mission is to “Make America Work,” was a natural partner in helping Amazon achieve this goal. “They’ve developed a custom skills mapping platform unique to Amazon that matches eligible candidates with vacancies across the company,” Higgins said.

Michael Grow, CEO of Oplign, said, “Amazon recognizes the important role veterans play in their operation, but due to the huge volume of applicants, their talent acquisition staff would be overwhelmed on a daily basis. In our first conversations, Senior Director of Military Affairs Beau Higgins asked for a ‘people sorter’, and we assume that’s what we gave him via our AI-powered tool, which we continue to optimize for Amazon. »

Veteran-owned and operated Oplign works because it works for everyone, service member or not, Grow said. “However, transitioning veterans and service members have an additional challenge beyond that of civilians in that their skills, experiences and certifications are similar to what you would find in the civilian workforce, but are worded differently or use technology systems that do not. exist in the civilian world.

“It’s a huge challenge for companies and veterans to face and it’s often easier for companies to just ignore veterans,” he said. “All of the company founders have struggled with our military transition in one way or another, so we understand the stress this puts on veterans and their families.”

“The transition from active duty to civilian can be daunting,” Garcia said, “but Amazon created a process that helped me go from job seeker to job offer in about three weeks. – it’s been invaluable to me. I’m proud to be part of a positive work environment where people look forward to going to work every day. It makes me happy to be here, and I look forward to be an advocate for other veterans to join the program.

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