By Lisa Fasold
Last October, more than 100 active duty female marines and sailors got equipped for their transition into the civilian workforce with the help of Working Wardrobes, in partnership with the Personal & Professional Development Branch of Career Services at Camp Pendleton. The Southern Californian charity provided the women with head-to-toe professional attire and accessories, massage therapy services and professional head shots for LinkedIn profiles or professional pages.
With more than a half million tech jobs open every day, CompTIA understands that we need more skilled candidates to fill those jobs. Military veterans like the ones helped by Working Wardrobes can make excellent prospects for those jobs. They just need a little assistance to get there.
Working Wardrobes was just one of more than 100 charities CompTIA’s Tech Leaders Giving Circle helped to fund last year. As part of CompTIA Giving, the Tech Leaders Giving Circle works with tech industry leaders to identify worthwhile charities and make a $1000 donation in those leaders’ names. Leaders invited into the Giving Circle simply name which charity they want CompTIA to give to, and CompTIA sends $1000 to the charity. Many of these leaders go well beyond giving money to the charities but volunteer their time as well.
Chuck Lennon, executive vice president of TeamLogic IT, chose Working Wardrobes for his 2017 donation. “I’m passionate about Working Wardrobes because I have seen the incredible impact they have had on a wide array of people – good people who wanted to work and be self-sufficient but needed help to get there. Single moms and returning veterans are the primary groups that Working Wardrobes helps every day. And they don’t just give these people clothes. It’s much more than that. They give them career coaching, fitness and nutrition help, resume tips and tricks, interviewing assistance, and even complete haircuts and makeovers.”
“Most importantly, Working Wardrobes gives these people hope and encouragement that they can get a good job, and it’s this sort of support that matters most. So, it goes way beyond just a new dress or a new suit and tie,” added Lennon.
Since its founding in 1990, Working Wardrobes has changed the lives of nearly 95,000 men, women, veterans and young adults overcoming difficult challenges – alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, incarceration, homelessness, catastrophic illness and traumatic financial loss. Orange County in California has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 4.2 percent. With an abundance of jobs that often beg for talent, there is a strong need for well-trained candidates to fill these positions, and Working Wardrobes helps get those candidates job-ready.
“I wish I could do far more to help Working Wardrobes than I do, but beyond CompTIA’s Tech Leaders Giving Circle, I also serve as a collection point for many friends and family who donate clothes,” said Lennon. “My wife and I make quarterly visits and my SUV is typically packed with clothes, shoes, handbags, etc. We try to attend all their fundraisers which are not only fun gatherings, but they always highlight people who have been positively impacted by Working Wardrobes, so we can hear incredible stories of how these people’s lives have changed due to the help they received.”
As part of the Tech Leaders Giving Circle, Lennon’s not alone in choosing a charity with a personal meaning for him. Scott Tyson, global head of sales for Inbay Limited, selected Oxford Radcliffe Hospital’s Cystic Fibrosis Department.
“My wife has this genetic condition and is in the fantastic and expert care of the doctors and nursing staff at this hospital. She has been a patient there since 2010,” said Tyson. “People with cystic fibrosis sometimes spend long periods of time in hospital – sometimes as long as six months. Money donated to the department not only goes toward medical equipment, but also goes into a fund to provide televisions, DVD players, hair dryers and other essentials needed for these long-term stays.”
“Outside of the CompTIA Tech Leaders Giving Circle donation, our family has raised money from raffles and afternoon tea fundraisers, and I am also looking at doing a charity bike ride this year to raise additional funds for this unit,” added Tyson. “Sadly, my wife had complications with her illness last fall and needed a three-week stay at the hospital where she personally benefited from the use of the items we have helped to fund which made her stay more comfortable. She, along with the other patients, are extremely grateful of the donations made.”
Beyond the Tech Leaders Giving Circle, CompTIA’s member communities and councils select technology-related charities to make annual donations of $10,000. CompTIA member communities and councils already are in the process of choosing which charities they want to support for 2018.
“For five years, while building our own philanthropy programs to put future workers into IT careers, we’ve also supported more than 60 charities chosen by CompTIA member communities and councils with $730,000 in donations,” said Charles Eaton, executive vice president, social innovation, CompTIA. “CompTIA has committed to annually donate at least five percent of its revenues to social innovation, a commitment of $3 million in 2017 alone.”
As part of CompTIA’s Advancing Diversity in Technology Community, Aaron Woods, director, ASP relationship and programs, Xerox Corporation, learned more about #YesWeCode, a national initiative to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector. Woods was particularly drawn to #YesWeCode and marked it for his Tech Leaders Giving Circle donation last year.
“#YesWeCode represents the type of organization that fits the mission and vision of Advancing Diversity in Technology (ADIT),” said Woods. “We’re encouraging their coding students to become members of CompTIA through ADIT and AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals).”
On a quest to teach 100,000 kids to code, #YesWeCode is building a diverse pipeline of tech talent to meet demand and boost local economies. The non-profit accelerates access to training for these kids in high-demand technical and non-technical skills so that they can launch their own tech careers.
Industry executives who are interested in becoming part of the Tech Leaders Giving Circle and naming their own charities for donations should contact Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president, industry relations, CompTIA, at firstname.lastname@example.org.