Although Tim Snyder — a vice president and business technology officer at Freddie Mac in McLean — is no longer in the military, he just took command of a fresh squad of recently-deployed recruits.
“You will be joining the squad that preceded you here and you will deploy as a team with a unit leader,” said Snyder, who is himself a Gulf War veteran, as he welcomed four fellow military veterans recently hired by Freddie Mac through a new national technology career training and job placement program called V.E.T.S. on Wednesday.
V.E.T.S., which stands for Vocations, Education and Training for Service Members, recruits and hires U.S. armed forces veterans and provides them with paid training in quality assurance specific software testing, analysis and project management. The hires, the majority of whom are young, post-9/11 veterans, are provided training in a rigorous four-week boot camp style environment that retains many military culture similarities. They are then “deployed” to employers in “squads” of three or more in which unit leaders have already been appointed, thus eliminating any feelings of isolation or lack of direct leadership.
“We love this new program,” said Snyder. “These guys come to us already trained and in teams that have already worked together. I would say that they are actually more effective than many of our college hires because they are more experienced, focused and they already know exactly what they need to learn. They will work as a single squad for the first four months as they transition into the real world learning system tools and techniques, and then they may be integrated into other teams.”
The V.E.T.S. program is the brainchild of Karen Ross, CEO of New York-based technology consulting firm Sharp Decisions. Ross said that although her firm is based in New York, she is targeting the D.C. region because of the high concentration of both veterans and jobs here.
“This is where they speak the loudest. I am not a veteran myself, I am just one woman with a big mouth, but I woke up one morning and I read about all these young vets who are unemployed and even homeless and I said to myself ‘what is wrong here?’,” she said. “These are young kids who grew up with computers and have an average of 2-3 years hands-on experience working with the latest technologies. Why can’t they be trained outside of the military? I may not have military experience myself but I know what makes sense, and this just seemed right to me.”
Snyder said he couldn’t agree more.
“What’s not to like about this program?” he said. “It’s the easiest business decision I have ever made. The training is excellent, the veterans are very competent and grateful and V.E.T.S. continues to find and train more.”
Local U.S. Navy Post-9/11 veteran Mohamed Kante is one of Freddie Mac’s new recruits and says he is very grateful to the program. “There is nothing else like this out there,” he said. “The paid training is very unique and the knowledge you grasp is very impressive. I look forward to working with my squad at Freddie Mac in McLean.”