Google and three veterans' organizations aim to bring together a host of resources for veterans who are returning home after their military service.
To assist U.S. military veterans and their families in making the transition back to civilian life, Google is joining together with three veterans’ groups to give returning service men and women a centralized starting point for finding jobs, careers and employment opportunities.
The new VetNet Website is the creation of Google and its three founding partners: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) and Hire Heroes USA.
“For several years now, we've been working to help the veteran community through outreach programs and by connecting veterans and their families to useful Google products and services," Andy Berndt of Google's Creative Lab wrote in a Nov. 28 post on the Official Google Blog. "After years of working with the community, we've come to realize that it isn't more tools that are needed, but rather organizing the ones that already exist, and making them easier to find."
That's where the idea came for VetNet, wrote Berndt. "Perhaps the most complex challenge facing the veteran community today is the sheer volume of resources available to help them transition to civilian life. While this abundance is the measure of a grateful nation, and a tribute to those who served, in the end, the most important result is individuals and families getting the help they need."
The VetNet site offers three tracks to follow, including a Basic Training Track, where vets and family members can start with things like resume writing and interviewing tips, to a Career Connections Track, where veterans can get employment information directly from companies such as Walmart, GE and Capital One. There's also an Entrepreneur Track, which is an eight-week college-level course on the fundamentals of starting a business, for veterans and family members who are ready to branch out on their own.
Jaime Winne Alvarez, director of media relations and communications for the IVMF at Syracuse University, said helping veterans and their families has been a founding part of the institute since it was formed. That goal became even more important after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, she said.
"It just was a no-brainer to make that commitment," said Alvarez. "Part of what we do is offer a portfolio of entrepreneurial training for this veteran's community. The VetNet portal allows us to bring that training online and at no cost to those who are making that transition."
Carrie Laureno, a Google Creative Lab employee who founded a Google for Veterans Group inside the company five years ago, was an integral part of the VetNet effort.
The new VetNet site is set up to make it easier for returning veterans and their families to get employment and career help that's most relevant to them, without the distractions of having to visit a wide range of other resources, said Laureno.
Over time, Google and VetNet hope to grow the site to include additional resources from other veterans groups and from companies that want to hire vets and their family members.