Article originally authored by Abby Shagin, SAP Communication Specialist.
Monday, May 18, 2015 might have been just another day at work for many North Americans. But for the 18 graduates of the NS2 Serves training program, it was a day that ended one journey and began another: gainful employment.
These individuals, each a post-9/11 U.S. military veteran, had completed three months of intensive training under NS2 Serves to become certified as an SAP consultant, and soon would become a new hire with any number of companies, possibly even SAP.
NS2 Serves is an independent non-profit veteran tech training program established by SAP NS2, an SAP U.S. subsidiary that provides our enterprise solutions, but with specialized levels of security and support to meet the unique mission requirements of U.S. national security and critical infrastructure customers.
Why a whole program dedicated to training and employing U.S. veterans? High unemployment. Countless veterans retired from serving overseas face the arduous task of finding work when they return home. In 2013, the U.S. saw a 9.2 percent and 10.8 percent unemployment rate for post-9/11 male and female veterans, respectively.
Outlining the genesis of the program, Mark Testoni, CEO of NS2 and a former SAP employee, explained that without a college degree, a veteran’s resume is often quickly dismissed with little or no consideration for the invaluable skills learned during service. Therein lay an opportunity. “Mission-focus, teamwork, persistence, and a can-do attitude— let's take those great skills and layer in sought-after technical abilities to make them more attractive to prospective employers.” In 2014, SAP NS2 launched the NS2 Serves program aimed to train and employ veterans aged 25-34 in high tech careers.
Over three months, trainees report to The National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., to undergo deep-dive training in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence solutions, attend Design Thinking workshops, and put business soft skills, such as presentations and teamwork, into practice.
Veterans are given temporary housing near the training center, as well as a living stipend so they are able to fully immerse themselves into the program without the worry of any expenses. Upon completion, they gain an SAP Software Consultant certification, and receive rigorous job hunting support to find work at any one of over 10,000 SAP partners. The success rate is impressive. Last year – the program’s pilot year – 100 percent of participants were offered jobs, landing roles in companies such as Accenture, SRA International, SAP, and even SAP NS2.
Jump back to the graduation stage and the future is bright for the eighteen veterans smiling and holding their diplomas. They will go on to be product developers, technical support specialists, and subject matter experts, and at the end of an 8-hour day they will return home to their families instead of corresponding from a distance. They can now partake in family fun activities this summer with friends and family, knowing they have a promising future ahead of them.
Giving back to those who served to protect our country’s values is a win for them and their families. But it’s an even bigger win for the U.S companies that hire these dedicated skilled individuals.