Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

Back to Listing

June 15, 2015

IT Futures Labs helps soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C. deploy new civilian careers

Fort Bragg Blog Specialist Gopi Patel, 25, an air defense soldier and network
operator and maintainer
Military personnel moving from active duty to civilian life don’t always experience a smooth transition. One issue that comes up is how to describe one’s military skills in civilian terms.

Earning industry-recognized certifications is one way to make a military resume more attractive to a prospective employer. For a number of soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., IT certifications represent a ticket to a long and lucrative career after the military.

To help military men and women transition to IT careers, IT Futures Labs is collaborating with Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) near Fort Bragg to offer a multi-certification curriculum. The pilot class includes eight transitioning Army soldiers ranked specialist to major, as well as one Army dependent.

During eight weeks of full-time classes, the students cover material that prepares them to take and pass CompTIA A+, Cisco CCNA, and CompTIA Security+ certifications.

FTCC is donating classroom space and instruction, while the Creating IT Futures Foundation has donated textbooks, CertMaster e-learning modules, and exam vouchers to the students.

“I think they are finding the training very useful,” said Darlene Wood, divisional chief of the Computer Technology Department at FTCC. “Most of the soldiers have a technical background, but there are a couple who don’t, so I’m curious to see how successful they are going to be.”

Students who successfully complete the program will be introduced to employers eager to interview former military, who have the advantage of advanced security clearances.

In addition, they will be well on their way to a degree. FTCC is quite innovative among community colleges in allowing students who earn IT certifications to earn automatic credit hours as well.

“When you tell (a student) that they are going to earn 18 credit hours for two certifications, suddenly an associate degree doesn’t seem so far-fetched,” said Wood.

IT Futures Labs, whose mission is to bring new knowledge and understanding to the IT workforce development field, will publish the findings of the pilot project after the class ends in late July 2015.

“We know that many former military struggle to find civilian work commensurate with their experience, so this pilot program is an attempt to learn how those two worlds can be efficiently bridged,” said Eric Larson, director of the Labs, a division of the Creating IT Futures Foundation. “FTCC is to be commended for being so proactive to help the soldiers of the Fort Bragg community and continually look for ways to meet their needs.” 

This will likely not be the first class of its kind, as word is getting around, Wood said. “The students in the class are talking to other people, so I’m having requests daily from soldiers wondering when we are going to do this again.”