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Business as a Platform for Change

How Veterans and Military Spouses Secured Employment in the Salesforce Ecosystem During Uncertain Times

Veteran unemployment rate is about 2x higher than the previous year — Here’s what Salesforce Military and its partners are doing to help open new career paths in tech

After years of unanswered job applications, Travis Malott, a military spouse with zero tech background, was recently hired by ICIX as a full-time Salesforce solutions engineer at a starting salary beyond anything he could have dreamed of. 

Travis is just one of the many military spouses and veterans that recently graduated from the Salesforce Fellowship Program with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH). We launched this fellowship earlier in the year as unemployment soared due to COVID — it provides paid, hands-on tech experience for veterans and military spouses to work at Salesforce customer and partner companies for 12 weeks, with the opportunity to be hired full time at the end of the program. To date, 70% of our participants have received full time employment with an average salary of $92K, and more are expected to receive their offers soon.

Today on Veterans Day as we reflect, thank and honor military veterans around the globe, we are excited to share that we are extending the fellowship program into 2021 to help create more meaningful careers for this deserving community. As an army veteran myself who understands first hand the hardships individuals go through entering civilian life, I am excited to continue this program to provide the skills and job placement to those who need and deserve it.

Guiding the military community through the last mile to successful employment 

IDC estimates that the demand for Salesforce talent will grow to 4.2 million new jobs by 2024. 

Veterans and military spouses offer employers unique skills that make them exemplary employees and have the proven ability to learn new trades and concepts. In addition, they can enter the workforce with identifiable and transferable skills, proven in real-world situations. Yet, they face many obstacles to employment everyday. This has only been compounded during the pandemic. Today, the military spouse unemployment rate is four times higher than the national rate and unemployment rates for veterans are at least two times higher than the previous year

Through this new virtual fellowship program, we brought together a diverse group of military veterans and spouses from around the U.S., along with 30 customers and partners, to change these statistics. We are helping candidates land their first job, and partners like Freedom Learning Group, Capgemini, Slalom Consulting and USAA gain access to great talent. 

Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth O’Brien at Freedom Learning Group shared the value she has already experienced with this fellowship program: “The Freedom Learning Group hosted two military spouse fellows who immediately added value and offered real solutions to a fast growing service-disabled veteran-owned small business. This was only possible because Salesforce is out in front making connections between non-profit, public and private companies who all share the same mission to connect the military community to meaningful employment. Salesforce continues to demonstrate their commitment to upskilling the military community with high demand jobs and providing partners in their ecosystem with a trained and motivated talent pipeline.”

Another key partner, James Hutcherson, Salesforce practice lead, with Capgemini emphasized the importance of partnerships and working together to support strong military talent: ”Capgemini has been able to establish a strong partnership with Salesforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hiring Our Heroes to find and hire veterans and military spouses. The caliber of our veteran teammates signifies the character, persistence and excellence they bring from a diversity of backgrounds forged by serving their country. As a veteran myself, I understand the sacrifice each individual has made and I am grateful this Veterans Day for their service and am hopeful for the continued success.”

Creating a path to meaningful careers, even in tough times 

Travis Malott has a master’s degree and solid work experience. But, like so many military spouses, he found himself unemployed after a move to Texas for his wife’s military career. He decided to pivot his career to the tech industry, but with no experience he found himself struggling to find a job — for 540 days.  

After a mentor mentioned the opportunities as a Salesforce administrator, Travis began exploring Trailhead and joined the Salesforce Military Fellowship. Upon graduation from the program, Travis accepted a full-time position at ICIX — a job that will travel with him if he has to move again for his wife. 

“For the first time, I find myself in a position of power instead of desperation. Salesforce as a platform offers something incredibly unique and valuable to the military community: adaptability,” said Travis after securing his first job in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Watch the video to learn more about Travis:

Travis isn’t the only one. Other fellowship graduates have recently found impactful job opportunities in the Salesforce ecosystem. 

In 2012 after four years in the Marine Corps, Omar Pena left the service. He received his accounting degree and joined Salesforce Military. Within a year, he joined Prudential but lost that job when the pandemic hit. He then joined the Salesforce Military Fellowship program and is now happily employed at Capgemini. 

“I tell everyone I know about the opportunity that Salesforce Military offers. I feel I need to pay it back in any way I can”

Omar Pena, Salesforce Military fellowship alumnus

Omar got his severance package from his last job on Friday and received his offer letter from Capgemini two hours later. “I tell everyone I know about the opportunity that Salesforce Military offers. I feel I need to pay it back in any way I can,” Omar shared. 

Omar Pena
Omar Pena joined the Salesforce Military Fellowship and now works at CapGemini

Eudora Savage is also a military spouse who participated in the Salesforce Fellowship Program. She chose Freedom Learning Group for her 12 week hands-on internship because of the company’s mission and culture. Eudora has two Master of Business Administrations — one in International Business and the other in Marketing, and has been an operations manager in hospitality and small business industries. 

Post graduation, Eudora secured a Salesforce administrator role at Freedom Learning Group. The Salesforce profession is a great fit for her as it is versatile, there are more learning opportunities, and she has the flexibility to work remotely.

Putting money directly into the pockets of veterans and military spouses through tech jobs 

As an Army veteran, I have the first hand understanding of the skills that those who’ve served in the military bring to corporate America. Each member of my team has a personal connection to the military — it’s why we do what we do every day. 

Since its launch in 2014, Salesforce Military has upskilled and reskilled a growing community of military Trailblazers, and helped thousands of veterans and military spouses get Salesforce ecosystem roles. Twenty percent of our members currently working in the Salesforce ecosystem have been placed in jobs during the pandemic. This fellowship builds on the Salesforce Talent Alliance, which we launched last year that helps bring even more new Trailblazers into the Salesforce ecosystem through training and job placement. 

While we know there is more work to be done, we are thankful that this fellowship has already put money directly into the pockets of veterans and military spouses who were previously unemployed, during a stressful time of uncertainty. 

All of our strategies, programs and focus on the military has resulted in being named a Military Friendly Employer as we are fostering a culture of inclusion and democratizing learning for all by providing a pathway to get our veteran heroes and their spouses to where they want to be.