Karen Ross, CEO of Sharp Decisions, did just that. Understanding the plight of post-9/11 veterans to find employment – one in 10 are unemployed – Ross launched the V.E.T.S.™ (Vocation, Education and Training for Service members) Program. The program focuses on utilizing the skill sets veterans already have, while training them in specific software capabilities and then placing them with private sector companies seeking software-testing assistance.
“This is a volunteer military and these kids stepped up and said, ‘I am willing to fight for what I believe in,’” Ross said in an interview with David Webb on BlazeTV. “I think I need to do my part as well and, as an American, this has reinvigorated me. I’ve never been more excited about what I’m doing because these people make it all worthwhile for me.”
Sharp’s program is unique in that they are hiring vets, paying them as salaried and benefited employees while being trained and then deploying them in teams.
“[The program] gives them the opportunity to work as a unit as opposed to putting them in individual positions,” Ross said in a March interview with Fox Business. “We are bringing jobs back to America that have typically been outsourced offshore. There are no veterans in my family, but it’s the right thing to do.”
V.E.T.S. is the first of its kind as it does double-duty in the marketplace: it not only creates promising career opportunities for veterans but it also brings jobs back to the U.S. that have long been outsourced to overseas competitors.
The first class has since graduated and quality assurance teams have been deployed to EmblemHealth in New York City. The second class begins July 15.
Eric Rodriguez, a former sergeant in the National Guard and recent program graduate, speaks very highly of the program.
“This program gave me the opportunity and gave me direction,” Rodriguez said. “I take this job very seriously and personally. It means a lot to have someone like Karen care on such a personal level. It shows how dedicated she is. Her word is her everything and she doesn’t break that for anything. I’d take a bullet for her because she’s just that realistic.”
Ross is proud of what the first class of veterans has accomplished and believes that the sky is the limit for the next group. “If they work as diligently as the first class has, then I have no doubt they will succeed.”