Warrior Gateway Recognized as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate!

Warrior Gateway has been recognized as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate by IDG’s Computerworld Honors Program!  For more than two decades, the annual award program has honored visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change.

Warrior Gateway has built the country’s largest, most accurate information exchange for the military community — the G.I. Network. With more than 220,000 listings, the G.I. Network revolutionizes the way in which the military community finds and connects with the help they need by ensuring efficient delivery of consistent information through multiple access points to increase transparency; and enables users to make better, more informed decisions.

“It is an honor for Warrior Gateway to be recognized as a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate by creating a world where service members, veterans and their families can find support and get consistent answers when they need it, wherever they are, and through any organization or website they trust,” said Devin B. Holmes, CEO of Warrior Gateway.

“Through robust partnerships and innovative tools, the G.I. Network gives the government and nonprofit communities the power to break down the barriers that prevent the military community from finding reliable and trusted information,” Holmes added.

Warrior Gateway will formally accept the Laureate award during The Computerworld Honors Program’s Gala Evening and Awards Ceremony on June 4, 2012 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

View the full press release by clicking HERE. Please SHARE with others by clicking the Tweet and Facebook buttons!

Thank you for your continued support everyone!

 

About The Computerworld Honors Program

Founded by International Data Group (IDG) in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is governed by the not-for-profit Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation. Computerworld Honors is the longest running global program to honor individuals and organizations that use information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change. Additional information about the program and a Global Archive of past Laureate case studies, as well as oral histories of Leadership Award recipients can be found at the Computerworld Honors website.

The Impact of Technology: Text Messaging to Prevent Suicide Among Young Veterans


 

 

 

Izzy Abbass, Commander of VFW Post 1, is a regular guest blogger for Warrior Gateway.

 

 

Unfortunately, we still lose over 18 Veterans a day to suicide across the US.  Some of these men and women are still wearing the uniform; others have been out for a short time or possibly many years.  However, one thing is common in all cases – easily accessible help may have led to a different outcome.

The Department of Veterans Affairs launched the Veterans Crisis Line four and a half years ago to help curb this epidemic.  The Crisis Line is a 1-800 number with trained counselors available 24 hours a day.  They are now up to over 1,000 calls per day and average 25 rescues a day – a rescue is when they dispatch 911 services to a veteran’s location to save a life.  This is a great service which is having significant impact within our veteran community.  But, how do we more effectively reach younger veterans?

In November, the VA took a bold step to do just that – reach younger veterans through the technology they use – mobile phones.  On November 3rd, a text help line went live connecting veterans to the same counselors via text messaging.   Knowing that the under 30 veteran did not grow up with 1-800 numbers and that they are far more likely to text than to place a phone call, this was seen as a natural next step.

By texting to 838255, veterans receive an automatic text letting them know they’ve connected to the Crisis Center and asking if they are in immediate danger.  At the same time, an alert is sent to the VA Crisis Center and an operator takes control of the discussion through a computer interface.  It is basically instant messaging via text.  This is all completely confidential and there is no cost for the text messages to or from the number which was built by CrossLink Media in San Antonio, Texas.

Since launch, the number of contacts through the text line has grown steadily with over 900 veterans reaching out via text since launch and more than 300 in February alone.  This represents over 30,000 text messages going back and forth.  One reason for its popularity is the confidential nature of texting.  Unlike a phone call which can be overheard, texting can be done with other people around and in fact a number of vets have remarked that they are using the service so they do not wake up their family members.

The goal of the counselors is to still get the veteran on the phone with a counselor and then get them into treatment.  However, since in some cases the veteran does not feel like talking or won’t because of those around them, the text help line serves as a much needed lifeline to these men and women.

While no one believes that this alone will end veteran suicides, it is one more tool that is making an impact.  If you find yourself feeling lost and with thoughts of taking drastic action, reach out to the dedicated men and women who want to help.  Text to 838255 – it can be a single word, a question or just the word help and someone who cares will be there anytime you need them.

 

Izzy Abbass

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/izzyabbass

 

Re-Tweets

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Reducing Suicides: Over 900 #veterans have reached out via text since November: http://ow.ly/9CFph #techmonth

 

Interested in Guest Blogging?

Email us at socialmedia@warriorgateway.org with your thoughts!


 

Tips and Advice – Job Search Strategies for the 21st Century Veteran

 

 

 

This week, we’re happy to introduce a new guest blogger, Izzy Abbass, Commander of VFW Post 1.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most common concerns I hear from vets every day is “how will I find a job”?  This will only become more frequent as the number of troops; especially those from the Army and Marines are reduced in the next few years.  While it may seem daunting – take heart.  You bring much more to the job market than you give yourself credit for and the key is figuring out how best to reflect that in your profile.

Despite your background, training and career goals, the strategy is the same for everyone, whether senior management, entry level job or mid-career transition:

  1. Create a civilian resume
  2. Build your digital resume – LinkedIn
  3. Build/connect your network
  4. Target and research companies
  5. Portray yourself positively

While this may seem like a huge mountain to climb, it’s not – especially when you break it down into smaller chunks.  The following is a brief overview of the entire process and in future articles we will go into each in more depth.

1. Create a Civilian Resume

Start first by listing everything you’ve done in life in either a work or volunteer capacity.  This includes everything you’ve done in the military, any awards you’ve received and any recognition you’ve been given.  Don’t worry about translating it into civilian speak at first, that will come next.  The goal here is to have a shopping list of items that you can pull from to put into job specific resumes – this becomes your Master Resume.  Don’t worry about length because you are never going to submit to anyone.  For instance, my master resume is 5 pages long.

Next you need to convert your military experience to civilian speak.  We tend to use a lot of acronyms in the military which typically has no relation to anything in the civilian market place and we have jobs that seemingly have no correlation to the civilian world.  First, cut out the acronyms and convert your military job into what the civilian workplace looks at: how many people did you manage, what was the value of the equipment you were responsible for and what recognition did you receive?   Further, every job in the military provides skills employers are looking for.  I was infantry and we don’t have a lot of civilian infantry units running around holding ground.  But I did manage people, I was responsible for many dollars-worth of equipment and I completed assigned tasks on time under stressful conditions.

Finally, with your master resume in hand, you can create job or area specific resumes.  I personally have several versions – Telecommunications, Mobile Technology Specific, Project Management Specific, Marketing Specific, etc.   Do the same as these are the resumes you’ll submit for specific jobs based on the job posting.  You could have ten versions of your resume depending on your interest and what you are looking for, but every one of them is easy to create since you are just pulling from your master.

2. Build Your Digital Resume

Now that you have a master resume, you also need to build your digital resume.  The key tool here is LinkedInLinkedIn is not the same as Facebook – it really is a professional networking site.  Everyone, whether you are still in the military, enrolled in college or already employed should build a profile on LinkedIn.  We could devote several articles to LinkedIn but in a nut shell, here’s the key things to remember:

  • Complete your profile (LinkedIn gives you a completion status for you – max it to 100%)
  • Upload a good face shot – while that shot of you jumping out of a plane is cool, it doesn’t work here.
  • No private profile – don’t make it private as no one will see you.
  • Have lots of recommendations – ask everyone you know and have at least 3
  • Start connecting with people – friends, former bosses former co-workers, people you managed
  • Be active on LinkedIn – check in every day and let people know you are there – join groups
  • Make sure your contact settings are up to date and list basic personal information.

Join today and start exploring.  Find me, find your friends and find a group that interests you.

3. Build Your Network

This is one thing that scares a lot of people but once you get into the groove, it’s pretty easy.  As mentioned above, connect to friends, family, basically everyone on LinkedIn.  Always accept invitations to connect.  Also, join groups on LinkedIn and there are groups for everything.  If you served on the USS Dallas, there’s a group for that.  If you served in the 82nd Airborne, there are half a dozen different groups.  Join them and get into discussions with people, answer questions and connect.  Also, when you meet people in your job search in person, connect with them on LinkedIn when you get back to your computer.

A large number of positions are not even listed anymore and come up in the course of discussion with people you meet or their connections.  Networking is key.  Check for events in your area for networking. Another site – MeetUp – quite often lists networking events in your area.  Also, VSO – Veteran Service Organizations – like the VFW, American Legion, Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America, etc. have events and meetings from time to time.  Check them out and start making connections.

4. Target and Research Companies

Now you are ready to find the companies where you’ll fit and which make a great choice for your next job.  Research the company and find out what they have going on – new stores opening, expansion, new products, etc.  LinkedIn is also good for this as you can connect with people who have worked there or still are.  See if any of them are in your network or groups and connect with them.  In my experience, most people are happy to share information with you.  Everything you find out will be helpful in crafting your cover letter, tailoring your resume and for discussion in the interview.  Also, many companies can be followed on LinkedIn which will keep you up to date on the latest developments and staffing changes.

5. Portray Yourself Positively

No one knows you as well as you do so be your best sales rep.  Remember, all of us as vets have taken those extra steps of service that 99% of the country has not.  Be proud of you and your accomplishments.  This does not mean be arrogant but it does mean be confident.  When you get the interview remember to carry yourself well and be polite.  The key points for any interview are:

  • Be Yourself
  • Clean Appearance and wear a suit/business attire
  • Don’t smoke before the interview – if you smell of smoke, you’re hurting your chances
  • Practice answering questions about yourself – have family and friends interview you
  • Be concise in your answers – provide detail but don’t ramble on forever
  • Interview starts as soon as you enter the parking lot – be polite to everyone you meet including the receptionist and the guy watering plants
  • Be prepared with questions – see above about researching the company
  • Follow up with a thank you – hand written or through e-mail, always say thank you

Again, we’ll go into more detail on each of these issues in the future but this should give you a good road map of things to remember.  You do have to put effort into it but you bring so much more to the table than your civilian counterparts – remember that!

 

Izzy Abbass

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/izzyabbass

 

Re-Tweets

#Job Search Strategies for the 21st Century Veteran: http://ow.ly/9ji5q @WarriorGateway

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Warrior Gateway Helps Connect Military and Civilian Communities During Veterans Day Events

Warrior Gateway partnered with ServiceNation and local organizations to host three of the eleven 11/11/11 Mission Serve projects nationwide.  The projects brought together the civilian and military communities through volunteerism and service.  Celebrities, professional sports teams, and others helped make these 11 nationwide projects memorable.  Members of the Warrior Gateway team helped coordinate and host projects in Seattle, Tucson, and Denver.  All three events were a great success; with volunteers of all ages and background joining together for a day of service.  The purpose of these events coincide directly with the mission at Warrior Gateway: connecting the military community and their families to meaningful resources in their local communities.  Helping the military community connect with their local community is essential for a successful transition.  The Warrior Gateway team was honored to partner with ServiceNation and others for these signature events.

Tucson, Arizona

The Tucson project brought together the civilian community, military and vetereans alike.  Volunteers gathered at Tucson Mountain Park to perform various community services including buffel grass removal, trail work, litter clean-up and mural painting.  ”I couldn’t imagine a better turnout for Tucson,” said Tabitha Cooper, Community Partnership Manager at Warrior Gateway, and coordinator of the event. “I saw veterans, active duty service members and civilians working together as a whole; serving alongside one another to better our community.  It was truly a beautiful event and I cherish days like this.”  Tabitha’s husband currently serves in Afghanistan, which makes events such as this close to her heart.  Photos from the event.

Seattle, Washington

In Seattle, Warrior Gateway joined Veterans Conservation Corps, and the Sierra Club for the second annual Veterans Day at Hamm Creek Estuary event.  For the past two decades Hamm Creek has been transformed into a more natural setting, in addition it has been a focal point in veteran healing and transition.  Volunteers showed up in great numbers, despite a steady rainfall in Seattle.  A little damp weather did not deter members of the military community, veterans, and civilians to join together for a morning of beautifying the already stunning Hamm Creek Estuary.  ”It was an honor to be involved with a project such as this on Veterans Day,” said Mike Broom, Marketing Manager at Warrior Gateway.  ”Seeing the multitude of volunteers come together, both military and civilian, and work side by side despite rainy weather was an amazing experience.  Weather could not put a damper on the dedication and strength of those in attendance.”  Photos from the event.

Denver, Colorado

The third event featured volunteers from all backgrounds (active duty, veterans, military families, civilians) come together to clean up the Cherry Creek Trail in Denver.  Volunteers helped Denver Parks by collecting over 20 bags of debris along the trail, replacing wire around trees, and painting a bridge.  ”As coordinator for the event, it was wonderful to see relationships being built during the three-hour service project at Cherry Creek,” said Nathalia Magri, Community Partnership Manager at Warrior Gateway.  ”By the end of the day everyone was exchanging contact information, and the non-profits involved had a chance to inform those in attendance of their services offered.”  Photos from the event.

Please check out all of the photos from the event on our Facebook page.  Share with others, and share with us what you think!

2011 Veterans Day Discounts and Freebies

The Warrior Gateway team is excited to help spread the word about discounts on goods, services and dining for our nation’s veterans and service members this upcoming Veterans Day!  Listed below are various restaurants and retailers that will honor our veterans on November 11th.

Most busi­nesses require some proof of mil­i­tary ser­vice, this includes a VA Uni­ver­sal Access Card, Mil­i­tary I.D., DD-214 (Dis­charge Papers) or in some cases a pic­ture of the vet­eran in uni­form.

Check out the deals below.  Share with others.  Spread the word!

Note: always call (or visit web site) before going to be sure of the date the discount is being offered, or if the particular location is even participating.

Restaurants

Abuelo’s Mexican Food – Abuelo’s offerings vary by region, be sure to call ahead to see what the discounts or freebies are included.

Applebees - All veterans and active duty military eat free from a limited menu at Applebee’s on Veterans Day.

Chili’s — Veterans and active duty dine for free from a special limited six item menu on Veterans Day.

Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on November 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.

Hooters — All Veterans and active duty eat free. The free entrees must beselected from a special Veterans Day menu.

Krispy Kreme – All active-duty, retirees & veterans get a free doughnut on Veterans Day. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — Participating McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants offer a complimentary entree to vets from a special menu on a space available basis, online reservations are highly recommended.

Outback Steakhouse — Veterans and active-duty military get a complimentary Bloomin’ Onion and non-alcoholic beverage on Veterans Day.

UNO Chicago Grill — UNO is offering a Buy One Get One free offer to Service members or Veterans with a military or veteran I.D. or in uniform or with a photo of themselves in uniform. The Veterans Day BOGO offer includes a free entree or individual pizza, with the purchase of an entree or pizza of equal or greater value.

Texas Roadhouse – Free meal from opening until 4pm. on Veterans Day. Call ahead to your local restaurant for more information.

T.G.I. Friday’s – Veterans and Service members Buy one get one free from Nov 11–14. Contact your nearest location for more details on their Veterans Day BOGO offer.

Retail

The Dollar General — Veterans, Service members (Active, Guard, and Reserve), and their immediate families will receive a 10-percent discount with a Veterans Day coupon. The coupon may be found in store circular ads or by asking a sales associate.

Home Depot — Offers a 10 percent discount to all Veterans during Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Lowe’s — All veterans receive the 10-percent discount on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The offer is available in stores only and is limited to in-stock and special-order purchases of up to $5,000.

Sam’s Club — Sam’s give away 36,000 collapsible Hugo Canes on Veterans Day to military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Sam’s Club will require membership for this offer, but proof of service may be necessary.

Amazon.com – Free Veterans Day Honor MP3 album download. The album includes 12 songs by The Bands and Ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Cabela’s Outdoor Store – Offers their employee discount to all veterans, active-duty military and reserves, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel November 11-12. Discounts vary from 5% to 50%, depending on the item.

Build-a-Bear Workshop – Members of the armed services including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserve OfficerTraining Corps, will receive a 20% discount November 11-15 on any one transaction at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Fashion Bug – 20% off all plus-size and misses clothing purchases with a copy of military ID or spouse’s military ID.

Sports Clips Haircuts – The men’s hair salon chain is offering a free haircut to active military and veterans on Veterans Day.

Foot Locker — Veterans, Service members (Active, Guard, and Reserve), and their immediate families with a Foot Locker Veterans Advantage Card receive a 20 percent discount every day of the year. That offer is good both online and at any store location, including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction and Champs Sports — even on sale items