NorthBridge Blog

Pat DuganFrankly, there can never be enough support given to our military veterans as they adjust to civilian life, try to launch careers, and are otherwise rewarded with the same kind of opportunities so many of the rest of us take for granted.

That’s why this program, Code Platoon, needs to be recognized for the good work it’s doing on behalf of those vets in the Chicagoland area.

Intended exclusively for vets, the program is an accelerated curriculum that teaches the basics of the Ruby full-stack programming language over the course of 20 weeks of combined remote and in-person training. As a code “boot camp,” it immerses students who have very little or no tech background in both instruction and actual programming, and also supplies them with job counseling, interview prep and employer matching.

technology-1283624_640It’s a necessarily initiative, because post-9/11 veterans find it harder than other jobseekers to land full-time work.

A survey of 1,300 Chicago-area vets conducted by Loyola University Chicago and the University of Southern California found that 65% of post-9/11 veterans left the service without having a job lined up. And for those who did land a job, only 54% said it was full-time.

Veterans were ranked third on employers’ list for priority recruitment, behind women and candidates with advanced degrees, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program. But what hurts them is a lack of the skills needed by prospective employers.

In an economy that increasingly depends on very specific skillsets, like those needed in the IT sector, getting trained in coding and other tech areas is crucial to landing a good job and securing a solid future.

“Veterans step forward to serve our country, they deserve our help,” said Rodrigo Levy, founder and executive director of Code Platoon.

Code Platoon is generously sponsored by various organizations, especially technology firms that advise on what skills it should focus on teaching. That’s because those companies are interested in hiring Code Platoon graduates, who typically see a sizable jump in income when they land those roles.

For those companies, it’s more than about doing good on behalf of vets. There’s a growing need for IT talent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a shortfall of 1 million computer-related workers by 2010, thanks to a 17% yearly growth rate between 2014 and 2024.

So let’s salute Code Platoon and the enterprises behind it for helping Chicagoland vets take advantage of the opportunity. And let’s hope this program serves as a beacon for other employers and communities around the nation, too, in helping vets find rewarding work.

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