Learning & Development

Best Practice Learning Opportunities for Veterans and Other Employees

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we’re taking a look at an innovative work-study program created by Prudential Financial, Inc., and the El Paso Workforce Opportunities Services (WOS). The program gives veterans, reservists, members of the National Guard, and their spouses access to on-the-job training and exposure to the corporate work environment.

VETalent was created in 2010 at Prudential headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, and has since expanded to many of the company’s other business locations: Dubuque, Iowa; Dresher/Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania; Jacksonville, Florida; Hartford/Shelton, Connecticut; and, most recently, El Paso, Texas.

The first cohort of trainees to graduate from the VETalent training program in El Paso last November spent 4 months in extensive and rigorous job training, which included classroom work at El Paso Community College, job-specific training, and on-the-job training at Prudential El Paso Business & Technology Solutions, a subsidiary of Prudential Financial. They then received additional training as information security administrators before qualifying for full-time careers at Prudential.

Prudential also sponsors VETNET, a business resource group for employees who have military backgrounds or who are interested in veterans’ issues. VETNET provides professional development opportunities, mentoring, and networking programs.

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VETalent and VETNET are among the programs offered to veterans through Prudential’s Office of Veterans Initiatives, which “provides job training for sustainable careers in information technology and business operations for service members and their families; professional development services for employees with military backgrounds and those interested in issues related to veterans; thought leadership that encourages corporate peers to adopt programs to help veterans build successful post-military careers; financial and volunteer service support of nonprofit organizations that help military service members and their families who need assistance transitioning back to civilian life; and financial literacy information to help ensure the financial health and wholeness of post-military services members and their families,” the company states.

“We’ve built an infrastructure that provides veterans and military spouses access to quality education, job training, and employment opportunities so that they can better leverage the skills and talent they bring to the workforce,” said Charles Sevola, vice president and head of Prudential’s Veterans Initiatives.

As a result of its commitment to training and hiring veterans and active duty military reservists, Prudential was recognized by Military Times magazine this spring as a “Best for Vets Employer” for the sixth consecutive year.

Learning opportunities also abound for Prudential employees—whether or not they have military experience. For example, the firm’s ongoing efforts to offer “rich learning and development experiences for IT employees” are among the reasons Prudential was recently named one of the “100 Best Places to Work in IT” by Computerworld magazine for the seventh consecutive year.

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Last year, Prudential reviewed IT positions across the company to ensure that they were competitively aligned with those in the industry and that employees had a clear career path and talent development opportunities, said Michele Alcazar, vice president, Human Resources at Prudential. IT employees also can participate in employee forums that give them access to senior leadership, encouraging knowledge sharing and networking throughout the organization.

Prudential also offers programs to encourage girls to pursue technology careers. This summer, from mid-July through August, employees mentored 20 New Jersey high school girls in a 7-week Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at company headquarters. Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization that is striving to close the gender gap in computing and technology by inspiring, educating, and equipping girls with computing skills for the 21st century. Classroom topics included mobile app development, robotics, and Web design.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, guest columnist Nick Swaggert takes a look at considerations for employers when hiring and training new employees who are veterans.