IBM partners with career-mentoring program for veterans
IBM, American Corporate Partners will assist vets transtion from the armed services to private enterprise
- By Kathleen Hickey, Special to GCN
- Jul 23, 2009
Technology giant IBM is partnering with American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit provider of a nationwide career-mentoring program for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
ACP provides career-development opportunities for veterans, from former enlisted members and officers to current reservists and National Guard members, who have served on active duty after 2001. The program also accepts the spouses of those service members severely wounded or who died while serving. It is not a jobs program.
“The addition of American Corporate Partners gives IBM volunteers another opportunity to share their wisdom,” said Gary Ambrose, IBM vice president for the Defense Department and a retired Air Force brigadier general. “IBM volunteers are not only caring, but they have a lot of constructive and practical advice they can share with veterans based on their own professional experiences. This is the right thing to do for the returning men and women who have given so much to their country.”
Mentors are chosen by ACP staff and are ideally older than 35 and have significant corporate experience. Mentors and protégés are matched one-on-one by city and according to their mentoring preferences. They are encouraged to spend four hours together monthly. The commitment is for one year, with both parties encouraged to maintain the relationship for a greater period of time. ACP staff regularly track the progress of the relationship.
IBM will initially provide mentors in five U.S. cities — Washington, New York City, Denver, San Francisco, and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. These mentors will help veterans transition from the armed services to private enterprise through career counseling and networking. The mentoring will be through IBM’s community volunteer program, On Demand Community.
On Demand Community delivers to IBM volunteers a portfolio of more than 200 technology solutions for schools and nonprofit organizations. The site also enables them to assess their skills and take online training to improve their volunteer efforts. The community includes more than 124,000 employees and almost 13,000 retirees.
As part of its mentoring efforts, IBM will make available to all veterans access to an online portal used by entrepreneurs called the Small Business Toolkit. It provides marketing and sales advice often only obtainable by Fortune 1000 companies, along with tax forms and guidelines for operating a global business and business calculators to help decipher costs such as insurance and human resources. The toolkit is available at www.smetoolkit.org
“IBM is an ideal partner for us,” said ACP founder Sid Goodfriend. “First, it has a wide range of highly skilled employees worldwide. IBM also has a strong history of community service, the service of mentoring and technology-based mentoring. Lastly, it’s a leader in information technology, a key industry for so many young people.”
Other APC partners include Campbell Soup, General Electric, The Home Depot, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo and Verizon Communications. The program is currently accepting applications. Those interested may apply online: www.acp-usa.org
ACP features a bipartisan advisory council of retired generals and political figures, including generals Richard Meyers, Peter Pace and Jack Keane; former U.S. senators Bob Dole and Bob Kerry; and former Cabinet-level officials Richard Danzig, George Shultz and Paul Wolfowitz.
The program operates in Atlanta; Chicago; Cincinnati; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; New York City; Norwalk, Conn.; Oklahoma City; Philadelphia; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; San Antonio; the San Francisco Bay Area; Tulsa, Okla.; and Washington.
Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.