At Capgemini’s Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG), it is one of our greatest honors to help find and recruit veterans who have the experience, skillset, and drive that will make them successful as they transition from the military to corporate America. Members of the VERG collaborate with each other across the country in order to host events as well as reach out to our fellow veterans in order to provide them with an opportunity to become part of the rapidly growing tech industry. Recently, VERG members Nolan Melson, Ken Nuehs, Lee Lopez, Scott Edwards, Michael Lockhart, and Merivis Foundation President Hector Perez were fortunate enough to attend the SXSW Job Market and technology conference in Austin, TX.
SXSW Job Market
The VERG team was able to meet with many veterans, military spouses, and non-veterans looking for employment at the Job Market with the goal being not only to recruit, but also to provide them with technical training recommendations like Merivis Foundation (Salesforce Administration), St. Michael's Learning Academy (SAP TERP 10), and others so that these veterans and military spouses would be best prepared to transition into the tech industry. Ken Nuehs, VERG NA Co-Lead and Marine Corps Veteran only had great things to say, “while attending the SXSW Job Market with members of the Veteran Employee Resource Group (VERG) and Merivis Foundation we met and spoke with over 300 candidates with the technology background we are looking for in our Consultants at Capgemini.” Ken and Nolan were also able to interview (click link for video) transitioning Army Officer Michael Cuccaro and discuss what he was looking for at the Job Market, and what an organization like the VERG could do to help him with his transition.
Hector Perez, goes on to say “It was great to meet many veterans interested in careers in technology. The passion and in-depth conversations had at the SXSW booth with the local veteran community were inspiring.” Capgemini VERG member, Lee Lopez, discussed how great it was to see potential candidates at SXSW; “I was excited by the level of interest displayed by potential candidates that came by the Capgemini booth. I felt our partnership with Merivis Foundation, that focuses on providing veterans from all branches with access to Salesforce.com cloud certifications at no cost, helped Capgemini stand out from other recruitment booths.”
During the Interactive / Technology part of the conference, VERG’s NA Co-Lead Nolan Melson, met with SXSW Keynote speaker, Senator Cory Booker (NJ) regarding the administration of veteran's programs in New Jersey. Senator Booker discussed his bill to help veterans with traumatic injuries involving the brain (TBI). From this amendment, veterans had more healthcare options in their communities since some did not have access to quality healthcare.
Senator Booker's bill also involved increasing veterans access to funding for small businesses by introducing the Strengthening Technical Assistance, Resources, and Training to Unleash the Potential of Veterans Act (STARTUP-Vets). The VERG team is currently in contact with his office to develop a plan to collaborate on veteran community initiatives in the State of New Jersey.
Another SXSW Keynote speaker was Former Vice President Joe Biden who discussed his new cancer fighting initiative, The Biden Foundation. The Foundation plans to leverage the data from the Veterans Administration and other government agencies to take a more collaborative approach to the fight against cancer.
Aside from keynotes, SXSW also has a lot of panels on various topics cross multiple industries. One of the attended panels was entitled, Cyberhunters for Business: New Battle for Veterans. The main focus of discussion for this panel was:
Cyber threats continue to grow as criminal organizations, adversarial governments and terrorist groups increase their attacks to steal the financial assets, intellectual property and customer data of businesses. The estimated impact of their criminal activity to the global economy is $445 billion! We need to rapidly increase the talent pool of "cyberhunters" with the skills to prevent future data breaches like those at Target, Sony and Anthem and the rising number of ransomeware attacks. The unemployment rate in the cybersecurity sector is -6% due to the severe talent shortage. The solution requires collaboration between business, educators, public policy makers and our veteran community.
After the conference, Nolan met with the Mayor of Austin Steve Adler, where they discussed “net-ended” veteran homelessness in Austin, in addition to creating many other programs and services to assist veterans in the community. SXSW also brings a plethora of industry titans across film, music, tech, and entertainment, therefore another highlight of the conference was attending the Buzz Aldrin panel, meeting entrepreneur Gary Vee and even getting WWE champion and Veteran advocate, John Cena to say a motivational, “Go Army, Beat Navy” for the camera. Furthermore, this SXSW was definitely one for the books.
With Austin Mayor Adler
Buzz Aldrin panel
With entrepreneur Gary "Vee" Vaynerchuk
With Veteran advocate, WWE star, and actor John Cena
With Astronaut Jessica Meir
A special thanks to the VERG team for taking time out of their daily activities in order to help veterans throughout the nation and uphold Capgemini’s core values. With VERG, Capgemini is trying to help our local community of veterans find their place in corporate America by continuously expanding nationally with one common goal. The SXSW conference was only a small step to give back to our veterans and understand their needs. Veterans of America have worked hard to protect us and our country and the VERG is trying to ensure that veterans and their families can be protected as well once their fight to protect us is over.