Sharp Decisions Leads Second Year of V.E.T.S. Program
By Katerina Athanasiou
Sharp Decisions, a New York City-based IT company, is recruiting the next class of veterans for their Vocations, Education and Training for ServiceMembers (V.E.T.S.) Program, now in its second year.
The project is the brainchild of CEO Karen Ross, who began V.E.T.S. as a means of giving back to troops, who often return home to bleak job conditions after risking their lives abroad. V.E.T.S. is a four week training program in quality assurance for IT and is only open to post-911 era veterans. Once veterans finish the program, they are “deployed” in teams of two or more to a Sharp Decisions client. This element of the program is meant to increase veterans support and retention.
While the company initially dedicated $350,000 to the project, Sharp Decisions has spent over a million dollars on the effort.
So far, almost 50 veterans in two training classes have gone through the program. The recruiting process is selective, with 200 to 300 veterans applying per cycle and two rounds of interviews, one with a project manager and another with the program’s manager. Kim Gillus, PR representative for Sharp Decisions said, “We want the best. We want people who are open to learning something really new and perhaps challenging.”
In time, Sharp Decisions hopes to have a class per quarter annually. They are currently recruiting for a spring 2014 class and additionally hope to gather a fourth class before 2014. Gillus explained “We have done more than just give these young men and women a chance at a job. I feel like we’ve given them a chance at an increased quality of life.”
Veteran David Anderson discovered the program after he visited a New York City unemployment office and attended a career fair. There, he discovered Sharp Decisions and their program. After meeting with one of the project managers, he decided to submit his resume and eventually was admitted to the program. Before joining the army, Anderson earned a civilian education in telecommunications and had a desire to re-enter the IT industry. After going through the “bootcamp of IT related topics,” Anderson explained that he and his peers were “deployed” to appointments at different clients.
“Anytime we can work in a culture with our peers, especially those who worked overseas, we feed upon each other and help each other,” Anderson said. “The idea of bringing a bunch of veterans to work collaboratively with one another leads to a high level of achievement.”
For more information, visit sharpdecisions.com/vetsprogram.