Getting Military Veterans on the Right Path to Success
Today, as millions of Americans celebrate Veterans Day, the cable industry joins in by honoring its employees who have not only served in various branches of the military, but who have found new success and second careers at cable operators and networks across the country. The industry recognizes the value that these men and women bring to the workforce through their diverse set of skills and experience that they acquired during their service. "Veterans are not monolithic. They have a set of distinct attributes, which is a part of why businesses seek them out. They are team players, they have highly developed leadership skills, and they are self sacrificing. All of these are desirable qualities in job candidates,” said David Pierce, NCTA Vice President of Public Affairs and Veterans Advisory Council member.
Through hiring and recruitment efforts, cable companies partner with various organizations to locate veteran talent, and offer professional development programs to help veterans not only find new interests to pursue in the industry, but to build the skills they need to move forward. Mission Media, the industry-wide consortium dedicated to highlighting best practices in veteran hiring, recruitment and retention, continues to assist cable companies in their quest to give veterans the pathways they need to succeed in the industry. This past September, the group held its first virtual job fair in which hundreds of military veterans from across the country participated. They connected with and had the opportunity to share resumes and interview with companies including Comcast, Charter, Cox, Mediacom, Vyve, ESPN, Midco, and NBCUniversal. Mission Media looks forward to hosting future events that encourage upward mobility for veterans in the cable industry.
Below are a few snapshots of the types of programs and initiatives that cable companies offer year-round in their efforts to promote veteran hiring and retention.
Comcast remains committed to hiring 21,000 veterans, military spouses, and National Guard and Reserve members between 2015 and 2021. The company's renowned Internet Essentials program expanded last year to include more than one million low-income veterans within Comcast's footprint. Under the program, two new computer labs opened in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, with a dozen more scheduled to open next year, where veterans are welcome to use computers and take internet training programs for free as they prepare to search for jobs and hone their skills. Comcast also partnered with the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation to develop the Veterans at Work Certificate as a way to empower employers to engage with the military community, as well as with the PsychArmor Institute to expand free, online courses to assist organizations in creating a welcoming work culture for veteran and military employees.
Charter makes hiring and advancing veterans within its workforce a priority. In fact, at the end of 2018, 11% of the organization's workforce was comprised of veterans. The programs they run include various recruitment and retention programs for hiring veterans, and a Broadband Technician Apprenticeship Program which gives veterans transition training that expands their skillsets. Enrollees go through thousands of hours of instruction over four years, allowing them to launch successful second careers at Charter and to build on the technical skills they first learned in the military.
Cox offers transition training to recruiters to better support veterans through the change from military to civilian careers, as well as on-base military recruitment and mentoring initiatives such as resume writing assistance and mock-interview opportunities. The ISP also partners with RecruitMilitary, a career website that connects employers with veterans.
GCI regularly takes part in job fairs for veterans to recruit talents across Alaska. The largest ISP in the state also participates in the Solider for Life Transition Assistance Program and Executive Transition Assistance Program in efforts to help military members adapt to new civilian careers. Counseling for soldiers and airmen is also part of the program.
Mediacom's workforce is comprised of hundreds of veterans, and the ISP proudly showcases its veteran employees' work. The company offers transition help to veterans considering jobs in the industry, and also participates in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring our Heroes Job Fair Events.
A+E hosts its Take a Veteran to School Day every year, organized by the HISTORY Channel. On this day, veterans visit with students in schools to share their stories of service and active duty. The network's Sgro Fellowship for Veterans in Media Technology program provides veterans with the opportunity to explore a career in media technology, complete with mentoring and job training support.
ESPN has dedicated a week of multiplatform content in honor of veterans, along with volunteer efforts, as part of their annual America's Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative. Content features stories of veterans who served and continue to serve, including ESPN employees. ESPN also supports Disabled American Vets, an organization that provides free professional assistance to veterans and their families. The network is also proud to have more than 60 employees mentor veterans through American Corporate Partners, a program that connects post 9/11 veterans to business professionals.
Discovery Communications' "Discover Your Skills" initiative provides resources and programs to help veterans locate and access training and resources to translate military skills and experience into civilian job opportunities. "Veteran Humans of Discovery" profiles the complimentary nature of several employees' military experience and Discovery career tracks on Discovery Careers social media platforms. Through the Discovery Veterans Association, the network commemorates veterans by celebrating the birthdays of different branches of the military through activities such as cake-cutting ceremonies, social media sharing, and donation drives.