12 Veterans Launch e-Learning Technology and Mobile App diversitypop for D&I

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soldier typing on his smartphone

In light of the nationwide discussions around diversity and inclusion, racial equality, and political uncertainty, 12 veterans from exceptionally diverse backgrounds have launched a new, effective, unbiased learning technology and mobile app. 

The diversitypop™ program is built for organizations as an anonymous system to deliver diversity training to people on the go, deploying a range of repeatable digital experiences that mirror the inclusivity experience that the founders experienced over thirty years ago.

“When America’s service academy graduates were trained for diversity and inclusion in the 1980’s, they did so via immersive experiences and intense interactions with people not like themselves,” said Drew Bartkiewicz, one of the 12 co-founders of diversitypop, who developed product inspiration from his tenure at salesforce.com in the early 2000s. “They learned at a young age that ‘inclusion was an infusion,’ not only to the mind of the individual but to the effectiveness of the team itself. And now, over thirty years later, we formed a company to deliver that learning experience and repeatable diversity training enabled with the scalability of technology.”

Although diversity training programs are usually well intended, a study out of the University of Toronto showed these programs can actually increase bias among employees. This is because they publicly force outside ideas about the value of diversity onto employees and imply that the employees don’t have the freedom to think about these issues on their own terms.

The diversitypop mobile app and underlying technology apply algorithms and personalization, leveraging information sciences, “clean” artificial intelligence, and cognitive learning methods that are increasingly the epicenter of modern learning. The diversitypop goal is to train the brain for diversity and inclusion without the friction and slowness of traditional methods.

“As evidenced by the events of 2020, we are all reminded that diversity is only a goal on the organization chart if we do not individually tap into our inclusion instincts,” said John Tien, co-founder of diversitypop and Rhodes Scholar. “What started for us as a mission to improve our leadership skills turned into a mandate to help people grow the greatest life skill there is: inclusion.”

As a result, diversitypop will make the technology available to all high schools for free, as the need for remote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) technology has reached a new high point with remote learning and an increasingly diverse American population. As for businesses, the diversitypop team will invite business leaders to experience the programming as a 30-day free trial for their organizations.

The diversitypop program lets members discover topics, surveys, and tests to grow their inclusive skills and uncover potential areas of their own implicit biases. Without the need for any personally identifiable information, and in contrast with the personal data needs of social media and enterprise software, diversitypop builds and helps sustain personal diversity and inclusion skills with:

  • Smart notifications on the new aspects of the diversity wheel, an academic area of study that has emerged as a discovery tool to see and live diversity more broadly
  • Personalized content about cultures, race, gender, disabilities, and a range of other topics
  • Interactive PopScores that gamify and offer tools to grow inclusion instincts
  • Administrative level to allow DEI leaders to customize diversitypop to their goals and measurements

About diversitypop
The diversitypop team was formed among 12 diverse co-founders who had a common thread: they were exposed early in life to diverse people, situations, and ideas, forever shaping their habits to seek people and build teams “not like themselves.” The diversitypop system is designed with emerging methods in cognitive learning and neuroplasticity, using pop media, surveys and trivia as a means to increase the surface area of diversity and inclusion intelligence for millions of people. For more information, visit diversitypop.com or follow diversitypop on Twitter @diversitypopapp and LinkedIn.

Source: diversitypop

Veterans Boost America’s Energy Workforce

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By Dan Brouillette, Secretary of Energy

When their service ends, our veterans should be able to count on a healthy economy with ample job opportunities in the wide variety of fields for which they are suited.

The energy sector of our economy is one for which veterans are well-prepared by their military service. There are jobs ranging from oil and gas drilling and powerline work to ensuring security at our nuclear energy sites and installing renewable energy systems. Both the public and private sectors see the value of hiring veterans and are taking strides to assist with their transition to civilian life.

A well-educated, prepared workforce – one that also includes highly-skilled veterans – is critical to maintaining U.S. leadership in scientific discovery and innovation. And the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) cannot carry out our mission for energy, environment, and national security without such a workforce.

An example of an outstanding public sector program is Solar Ready Vets, launched as a pilot by DOE in 2014 to connect our nation’s skilled veterans to the industry by preparing them for careers as solar photovoltaic system installers, sales reps, system inspectors, and other solar jobs. After graduating 526 students in 10 states, the program, which was enabled by the U.S. Department of Defense’s SkillBridge initiative, was expanded into the Solar Ready Vets Network, a group of relevant workforce development programs to connect veterans and transitioning military service members with careers in the sector.

On the private side, one program I got to learn about firsthand is a collaboration between

Duke Energy and Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) in North Carolina. As part of Duke’s Veteran Hiring Initiative, FTCC runs a training program to help veterans gain the training to become skilled electrical linemen and eventually enter the workforce. During a visit to Fayetteville, I watched a lineman training demonstration and met with several program participants. Each was eager to continue serving his or her community by doing this critical work.

The Department of Energy is committed to supporting and empowering American workers, especially servicemembers separating from active duty. We are proud to employ more than 4,600 veterans, and the number continues to grow. In 2020, one in every three new DOE hires has been a veteran, and we consistently receive “exemplary” ratings from the Interagency Council on Veterans Employment for hiring and retaining veterans.

We are committed to ensuring veterans continue to play a key role in our Nation’s energy workforce to secure a safe, prosperous future for our country.

Veterans and transitioning service members can find more information about our STEM workforce programs on energy.gov.

Source: Energy.gov

MedTechVets Now Accepting Applications for Spring 2021 MedTechVets Academy: Opportunity for Veterans to Gain and Practice Professional Skills

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young male laboratory technician operating computerized equipment

MedTechVets, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists and prepares transitioning service members and military veterans for meaningful employment in medical device and life science companies, recently announced enrollment for its spring 2021 MedTechVets Academy program for transitioning active-duty service members and veterans.

This Academy is for military veterans who are within six months of your separation, or an honorably discharged and is a free virtual 6-week program supporting career transition to the device, biotech, and life services industries.

Veterans will have the opportunity to improve their professional skills and job prospects by participating in personal branding workshops, mock interviews, and learning networking do’s and don’ts, which are available through the 2021 MedTech Vets Academy. Participants will be selected via online applications and will also receive editing assistance on their resumes and cover letters, support from mentors to identify industry gaps that apply to their unique skill set, and resources that help them identify those job opportunities. Additionally, the academy will teach skills, knowledge, and confidence to set attendees up for workforce success.

The deadline to apply to the 2021 MedTechVets Academy is 5:00pm PT on Friday, April 2nd— and the program is slated to begin on April 6, 2021. NOTE: The applications of those not selected for the spring 2021 Academy cohort will be saved for the summer program and supported through that process.

Please visit https://medtechvets.org/academy/ to apply and learn more.

About MedTechVets
MedTechVets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists and prepares transitioning service members and military veterans for meaningful employment in medical device and life science companies. MedTechVets’ network has grown to nearly 100 life science and medical device companies, hundreds of mentors, and thousands of veterans.

MedTechVets is endorsed by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed).

Announcing the 2021 VetsinTech Invasion National Conference – All-Star Lineup With More Than 30 Top Tech Companies

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Young soldier in military wear keeping arms crossed and smiling

VetsinTech, the leading national non-profit dedicated to advancing career opportunities for veterans in the tech industry, announced its “VetsinTech Invasion 2021” national conference. 

Scheduled to take place April 17th and 18th, VetsinTech’s Invasion 2021 assembles more than 30 of the top tech companies in Silicon Valley and beyond. In its fourth year, hundreds of veterans and their spouses from all over the country will participate in a one-of-a-kind gathering that brings together leading tech giants and veterans to provide networking opportunities in education, employment, and entrepreneurship in tech.

Luminary keynote speakers at the VetsinTech’s Invasion 2021 include:

  • The Honorable Denis Richard McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who President Biden appointed in February 2021. He also served as Chief of Staff under former President Obama.
  • Michèle Flournoy, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors. Previously, Michèle served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under the Obama administration. She was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense.
  • Steve Blank, Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. Steve developed the customer development methodology that spawned the Lean Startup movement.
  • Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, VetsinTech Board member and a leading advocate for veterans and military families.

Sponsors of the VetsinTech Invasion 2021 include Disney, Elastic, Google, Wounded Warrior Project, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Nasdaq, Tibco, and Uber.

Meeting the DEI Challenge with Military Veterans

VetsinTech provides an unmatched national technology ecosystem supported by innovative programs in employment, education and entrepreneurship. With diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a top concern in Silicon Valley and across the country, companies recognize that veterans are an untapped source of highly skilled talent who can help them meet the hiring challenge.

“This year’s conference is truly groundbreaking with a large number of leading tech companies, phenomenal keynotes, and industry speakers that we’ve lined up to support our exceptionally qualified veterans. This ‘show of force’ demonstrates a strong commitment by the VetsinTech Employer Coalition to meet DEI goals while also filling the critical gap in technology talent,” said Katherine Webster, Founder and CEO of VetsinTech.

At the VetsinTech Invasion 2021, veterans will get to hear and communicate virtually with executives from Silicon Valley’s most successful technology companies, venture capital firms, recruiters and HR, and engineers who will lead workshops, speak in panels and participate in networking events. Veterans and their spouses can meet and mingle with VetsinTech’s world-class coalition partners, which can be found here.

About VetsInTech

Based in San Francisco, with more than 50,000 vets strong and 20 chapters across the country, VetsInTech is the leading national non-profit devoted 100% to springboarding veterans into tech careers. VetsinTech harnesses the national technology ecosystem to benefit veterans returning from active military duty and who want to apply their exceptional training, skills, and experience to a new technology career. Comprising technology industry leaders and former service members, VetsinTech is the only non-profit supporting our veterans through tech-based programs and opportunities in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. For more information, interested parties can visit www.vetsintech.co.

VA’s First Fully 5G-Enabled Hospital is Among the First in The World

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Medical technology concept. Medical doctor.

VA’s Palo Alto Health Care System has become the first fully 5G-enabled hospital in VA, and among the first in the world.

Health Care System Director and Army Veteran Thomas J. Fitzgerald III said, “With VA Palo Alto Health Care System being the first VA hospital, and also one of the first hospitals in America to have 5G, we feel we are right for this. This is the right time and it’s at the right place because we are in Silicon Valley.

“We are ensuring VA stays relevant with cutting-edge technology for the health and well-being of our Veterans,” he said, adding, “This is perhaps the most exciting and dramatic time in medical history.”

Dr. Thomas Osborne, director of the VA National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation located in the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, is leading the project. He described what this means for Veterans and their care.

“We are faced with a titanic confluence of growing health care challenges. At the same time, we are developing amazing technology that can dramatically advance care,” Osborne said. “Many of these advancements are creating a wealth of valuable data, which is an untapped resource because traditional infrastructure is not equipped to move and analyze that data efficiently.

“The next generation of digital networks will provide the backbone to help us unlock the potential to dramatically advance health care.”

From a Dirt Road to a Superhighway

5G is the fifth generation of wireless cellular communication and offers an extraordinary infrastructure for medical advancements. Importantly, 5G allows us to move large complex data files much faster than ever before. The improved capability is like leaving a slow dirt road and getting onto an efficient superhighway.

This opens the door to opportunities that we could only imagine before. With the addition of augmented reality tools, we have been able to turn large CT and MRI images into three-dimensional models that you can virtually hold, turn and evaluate in ways that is reminiscent of a futuristic science fiction movie. This capability can promote unparalleled understanding of complex anatomy and disease for clinicians, students and patients.

With this technology, presurgical planning can be more intuitive and realistic. One can project a patient’s own X-ray, CT or MRI onto their body and a clinician using the system can actually see where a problem is before making an opening in the skin. As a result, there is a potential for more efficient surgeries with less complications and smaller incisions.

This infrastructure provides many other opportunities, such as improved diagnosis, autonomous vehicles and democratizing care to underserved areas. We know that faster, more accurate diagnosis leads to better outcomes; therefore, it is exciting that 5G gives us the ability to transmit large data files to cutting-edge computers that can provide advanced personalized diagnosis on demand.

Advances Have Far Reaching Impact for Veterans

Veteran-centric innovation is very much at the core of our VA mission. We have an opportunity to lead the discovery and testing of solutions to improve the health care of our Veterans. These advances have the potential to have a far-reaching positive impact that extends far beyond our borders. VA partnered with Verizon, Medivis and Microsoft to deliver the 5G-enabled clinical care system at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System.

Source:  blogs.va.gov

From Section Leader to Software Engineer

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Cody Baerman pictured with his wife in him fatigues

How I utilized my G.I. Bill benefits to launch a career in coding.

By Cody Baermann

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years as a section leader in the infantry. I supervised training for a team of 20, identified and worked on potential deficiencies in our unit, and was a direct adviser to senior management. I was stationed in Afghanistan, behind a machine gun. It was a very different world.

Before I got into coding, right after getting out of the Marine Corps, I was a full-time college student. I was going job to job and was having a hard time deciding exactly what I wanted to do. I changed my major three times – from chemistry to electrical engineering to biology. The only common denominator in all those majors was that they all required a basic coding class.

My wife and I sat down to discuss the aspects of school that I enjoyed the most. All things pointed toward coding. One of the biggest appeals to me is having the ability to create whatever I want – having that freedom to make visualizations come to life. Our daughter was very young, so there was the aspect of my family leaning on me.

From a financial perspective, many coding bootcamps are covered under GI Bill benefits, including Coding Dojo. It was an all-or-nothing situation – just believing in my abilities, and knowing as a family we would work out.

Coding Dojo had an introductory platform they strongly suggested learning: basic algorithms, getting used to the syntax of code. After that, we built programs, which was a whole different level of coding. I did the “follow-alongs” to get the programs to work.

The biggest obstacle I hit was understanding the syntax in the C# track. In those times, if the material doesn’t immediately make sense, you have to put in the work hours. Coding bootcamp is very condensed – you have to put in the time if you want to succeed. It involved a lot of repetition, reworking the same assignments, until the material cemented in my brain.

Coding Dojo had a “20/20 rule”: Stay with a problem for 20 minutes, then ask a partner to help you figure it out. If the two of you can’t do that after 20 minutes, then ask an instructor. The rule promotes teamwork. Once you get into software engineering and development, that’s an important skill to have. There was never a time we felt the coursework was too much, because there was always someone to lean on and solicit help from.

I was anxious as graduation approached. Obviously, with a family, I wanted to get employment right away, so I put the pressure on myself. I sent the same resume to every company – which isn’t the soundest strategy. The key is looking closely at the job description, noting the language they use, incorporating those words, and then tailoring some of your personal projects to that job. Having multiple projects that you can interchange on a resume is important. If you’re applying for a Python developer position, instead of just having one Python project on there, you should list two or three. It proves how well-versed you are in that language.

After a while in the job hunt, Amazon Web Services came out of the blue and they moved very quickly. The second they got in contact, everything just took off. I did a Chime interview, and then after three or four days, I got a phone call with the job offer. It was a big stress reliever to get that call.

When you’re in a military bootcamp, you don’t have a choice to be there. You wake up whenever they want to wake you up, doing whatever they want you to do. In coding bootcamp, you are in charge of your own success. You have to get up and make yourself do it. You have to be self-accountable to succeed; if you don’t, it’s going to be difficult.

The best approach is to be focused and put in the long hours. The more you learn, the easier getting a job will be. You’re going to coding bootcamp to better your life and your family’s future. There will always be self-doubt and challenges. It’s not easy jamming years of learning into just a few months. But once I got going, there was never a point when I thought I couldn’t do it. You just have to fight your way through and be mentally strong. That’s the nature of coding.

Meet the Two Veterans Leading the First Mission Back to Space

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Colonels Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley crossing their arms in front of the Dragon spacecraft

In 2011, Marine Colonel Doug Hurley served as the pilot of the last U.S. space shuttle mission aboard the Atlantis. Upon their arrival, the United States has since used Russian rockets to send astronauts into the cosmos. But nearly ten years later, this is all about to change.

On April 17, NASA announced the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft, the first manned space vehicle to launch from U.S. soil since the Atlantis’ return. The mission will be commanded under Hurley alongside Air Force Colonel and Endeavour veteran Bob Behnken. The Shuttle is set to launch tentatively on May 27 and will be taking off from the Kennedy Space Station in Florida.

The two men have had their fair share of space time, both having gone to space at least two times. Behnken was aboard the Endeavour in 2008 and 2010, while Hurley served on the Endeavour in 2009 and the Atlantis in 2011. Being no stranger to the stars, the two men have been assigned the roles of joint commanders on the mission, with Hurley serving as the craft’s commander, responsible for the launch and landing of the rocket, while Behnken will be in charge of rendezvous and the docking and undocking of the vehicle at the space station.

Should the launch commence on May 27, as planned, this would also be the first time in history that NASA used a privately owned and operated spacecraft to send astronauts into orbit. The Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft are currently owned and operated by SpaceX, created by Elon Musk.

The May 27th mission, though monumental, is not the only plan for a U.S. vehicle to be launched from U.S. soil. NASA announced it is currently in a partnership with Boeing to create another manned space vehicle. However, this project was put on hold due to the setbacks Boeing suffered from the Starliner space craft.

Army CIO receives Black Engineer of the Year Award

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Army CIO Lieutenant General Bruce T. Crawford in uniform flag in background

Lieutenant General Bruce T. Crawford received the Black Engineer of the Year Award at the BEYA Gala this year for his outstanding efforts to mentor the next generation of American engineers, technicians, and technologists.

Over the last 34 years, the BEYA Conference has exposed more than 100,000 students to role models in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Lt. Gen. Crawford was commissioned through South Carolina State University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program on May 28, 1986, after graduating as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He also holds a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

During his 33 years of service, LTG Crawford has served in leadership positions at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. In previous assignments, he served as commanding general, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, director of C4/Cyber and Chief Information Officer, U.S. European Command, commanding general, 5th Signal Command (Theater); and G-6, U.S. Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.

During the BEYA 2020 event, Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford participated in a panel focused on cybersecurity and mobility. He spoke about reimagining the tech workforce of the future, risk management framework reform, and data migration efforts.

The event-packed three-day event unites thousands of students, college representatives, professionals, and leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The agenda includes seminars and workshops, networking opportunities, and the conference’s popular career fair, which provides access to leading employers.

More than 10,000 men and women have been nominated for the Black Engineer of the Year Awards; 957 have received category awards, and 34 have been selected as Black Engineer of the Year.

The three-star Army general becomes one of a select number of active-duty officers to be named Black Engineer of the Year since 1987. Uniformed officers who have received the prestigious engineering award during Black History Month include Captain Donnie Cochran (1989), Lt. Gen. Albert J. Edmonds (1996), and Lt. Gen.  Joe N. Ballard (1998).

Source:  blackengineer.com

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