Quick take: Head of Salesforce Military Katherine Clark is passionate about supporting veterans as they transition into their second careers. This Veterans Day, she explains why, and offers resources to companies seeking to do the same.
Before I married an active duty service member, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much about what it was like to serve in the military.
Coming from the Midwest, I was raised to have respect for someone risking their safety for the security of others, of course. But beyond that, my knowledge of what it meant to serve largely came from television, books, and movies. I didn’t know about the long separations, uncertainty, risk, or constant relocation.
I also didn’t realize how difficult it is for service members to transition from a career in the military into a new civilian career. Even though support programs are in place to assist, this transition remains a difficult journey for many.
Salesforce recognized the opportunity to be a part of the solution in 2014, when it committed to enabling 10,000 veterans and military spouses to transition to Salesforce-related roles. Since then, 55,000 military members and their spouses have joined Salesforce Military — a free reskilling program for the military community – tracking well ahead of its goal of 80,000 by 2026.
Salesforce Military offers in-demand skills and certifications at no cost
Salesforce Military enables active duty, reserve, guard, veterans, and military spouses in five countries to learn in-demand skills and earn Salesforce certifications at no cost. It also sets up automatic interviews with partners in the Salesforce ecosystem, which is expected to add 9.3 million new jobs by 2026.
Salesforce Military doesn’t require members to have a bachelor’s degree, years of experience, or a particular specialty — it’s a way for anyone in the military community to pave the way to their next chapter.
Salesforce Military also extends its work with the help of community partners. For example, in the last two years, Salesforce has contributed more than $2 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative to fund a new Salesforce Fellowship Program for veterans and military spouses.
The Fellowship allows Salesforce Military members to get hands-on experience with Salesforce’s customers and partners, while allowing employers to test the waters with new hires — at no cost. More than 95% of fellows receive job offers when their fellowship ends, with an average starting salary of $90,000. The program has generated $22 million in salaries to date for more than 250 fellows.
Military service members and veterans blaze new trails with Salesforce
Salesforce programs like these have had a real impact. I’m personally inspired by the story of Sibusiso “Siso” Ntuli, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. After becoming a Salesforce Certified Administrator in 2018, he took on roles as a Salesforce manager and administrator at a healthcare tech company and an aviation firm. He went on to earn two additional Salesforce certifications, and since 2020, has been a principal solutions engineer at an IT services and consulting firm.
Siso has become a leader in the Salesforce Military community, lending time and insight to help members who have questions or are struggling. Siso is the recipient of the 2022 Salesforce Military Leadership Award.
Hayley Tuller was an aircrewman and cryptologist in the U.S. Navy for two decades, rising to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer, a leadership position held by only a very small percentage of enlisted service members.
When transitioning into a civilian career, she was sure that employers would be interested in hiring someone with vast experience in senior leadership, operating in dynamic and high pressure war zones, and possessing unique skills. Unfortunately, that was not her experience.
Hayley worked as a pool cleaner, a receptionist, and performed data entry before becoming a Salesforce Certified Administrator in 2017. Since then, she has earned two additional certifications and held roles as a Salesforce solution engineer and senior administrator at multiple companies and nonprofits. This year, she founded her own Salesforce consulting business, Navigators, which has pledged to donate 1% of its time, services, and profits to charitable causes. Hayley is one recipient of the shared 2022 Salesforce Military Impact Entrepreneur Award.
A steady pipeline of talent
Siso and Hayley are just two examples of veterans that built thriving careers in the Salesforce ecosystem, and made an impact with the employers who saw their potential.
I know from experience that it can be daunting for veterans and their spouses to transition into a tech career. And, employers can find it difficult to access this talent pool and train them on the latest tools.
Programs like Salesforce Military can help ensure that companies have access to this steady pipeline of qualified talent. Companies of any size, and in any industry can get started by:
- Hosting a certified Salesforce Fellow for 12 weeks at no cost through Hiring Our Heroes.
- Learning how to diversify their workforce with military veterans on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform.
- Pledging to interview certified talent through the Salesforce Talent Alliance.
- Facilitating mentorship through programs like Veterati or American Corporate Partners.
- Connecting with veterans and military spouses to learn more about their experiences.
Our customers and partners who find talent in our military community invariably come back and ask to recruit others. I hope these collective experiences serve as inspiration for organizations who have not yet tapped into this incredible talent pool — and challenge them to learn more.