Veterans like Stan Roberts have served our country in a myriad of ways. As a United States Marine, Stan served three tours in Iraq. He received many combat-related awards before he lost his leg and was medically retired.
After 11 years with the military, Stan had to reset his plans of entering law enforcement, where he had hoped to continue to serve others. At 30, he decided to go back to school to study cyber security and information systems.
Military veterans bring valuable skills, experience, and qualifications to the civilian workforce. Matching talent to open positions, however, has proved daunting for both veterans and hiring companies. This is why Cisco invests in Veterans Programs that use technology and human networks to better connect returning service members to civilian opportunities. For example, this year Cisco piloted the Veterans Talent Incubation Program (VTIP) to prepare military personnel for entry-level jobs in the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) in North Carolina.
Stan is one of the many to benefit from Cisco’s efforts to recruit and hire military veterans. Today, he works at Cisco as a customer support engineer. Unfortunately, not every veteran finds the support Stan had when they leave the service. “Veterans have excellent training,” Stan says. “But if the door is closed because of stereotypes or stigmas, this training is useless.”
Stan admits the commercial world is very different from the military. However, it is this difference that enables veterans to bring a unique perspective to the workplace. “We have seen things most people won’t see in their lifetime. And when you have that kind of experience behind you, it really does help you function in any type of stressful environment.”
Veterans have a lot to offer employers. “The best thing we bring is that veterans are part of a team. We’ve been training for this since day one.”
Stan’s experience has also helped him become a skilled problem solver in the workplace. “That’s what we do in the military; we’re always tasked with helping others. And in doing so, we’ve learned to deal with different cultures. Often we have to be able to work with people who can’t speak the same language. We have advanced training on how to do this. We’re used to working with people who don’t necessarily work the same way we do.”
As part of his job at Cisco, Stan works with numerous organizations related to veteran activities, including the North Carolina for Military Employment (NC4ME) coalition. The NC4ME was started by the state of North Carolina to help veterans find employment by showing employers the value veterans can bring to their operations. In March 2016, Cisco launched the IT component of NC4ME, hosting two IT Awareness Days at Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. More than 120 transitioning or recently transitioned service members attended the events, where they learned about North Carolina’s growing IT industry. Stan regularly represents Cisco at NC4ME summits to share his story and that unique perspective men and women who have served in the military can offer.
To further its support of veterans, Cisco has recently joined with Amazon Web Services, ISC2, and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ Onward to Opportunity (O2O) to sponsor a free cyber training pilot program for Virginia veterans who want to work in cyber security.
Veterans have given much to our country through their military service. At Cisco, we’re proud to have Stan on our team to help usher in the digital revolution and accelerate global problem solving. Stan exemplifies many of the attributes of a global problem solver – digital skills, teamwork, leadership, and creativity, as well as his desire to give back and support other veterans through their journey.
Each of us has the potential to become a global problem solver – to innovate as a technologist, think as an entrepreneur, and act as a social change agent. Our hope is that everyone understands they have a role to play and that their unique perspective is needed.