Galvanize offers veterans pathway to software engineering careers

When Jose Lozano was in the Army, he had a community — and a purpose. But when he decided to retire after 21 years, his biggest concern was how to take those two things to the civilian world.

“When I was in the military, I served the higher cause,” said Lozano, 40. “I knew it wasn’t going to be the same as being a civilian, but I had this really wonderful cause in the army and I wanted to keep some of it.” .”

Lozano is one of several transitional service members who participated in Operation Level Up, an intensive 18-week program through Galvanize that teaches active-duty military personnel to be software engineers. Partnering with DoD SkillBridge and transition assistance programs within the military, it trains military personnel like Lozano as they prepare to transition out of the service.

“We help them build the skills they need for lucrative careers in technology,” said Bill Blackstone, Galvanize’s executive vice president of operations. “Underemployment is a big problem with rotating staff, as is unhappy employment. We want to change that.”

And Galvanize is growing: Earlier this month it announced a partnership with the Veterans Administration to provide veterans with technical training so they can get better jobs — and if they don’t get hired, Galvanize will refund tuition to the VA.

Blackstone said Galvanize’s track record is strong and he is confident in the skills of the graduates.

“Right now we have 100 percent alignment,” he said. “That means we don’t get paid unless they get a job in software development. It is important to us to give this guarantee. Both the students and the providers have work to do.”

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Veterans are now eligible for online and in-person programs through Galvanize and can use VA benefits to help cover $18,000 in tuition. The only eligibility requirement is that the veteran must have one day of unexpired GI Bill eligibility.

Galvanize has been providing immersive software development and data science training for years, including in the military. But recent collaboration with Veteran Employment through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) will help another military population find lucrative, productive work.

According to www.indeed.com, the average software developer salary is about $120,000 per year. And according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is in high demand, with jobs expected to grow 25% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for other occupations.

Blackstone said Galvanize is proud to be a preferred partner for VET TEC. VET TEC aims to fund non-traditional educational opportunities for veterans and train them for in-demand engineering jobs.

“We don’t just train them and then throw them out,” Blackstone said. “We’re providing them with a path to career success as they transition out of the military.”

About 200 service workers received training last fiscal year, and Galvanize is on track to offer about 300 training sessions this year, Blackstone said.

Lozano, from Killeen, Texas, said his job as a software engineer at JPMorgan Chase & Co. gives him the opportunity to work as a problem solver and provide for his family. He said his military experience gave him leadership skills and a plan for the transition from soldier to civilian.

“The army was my life,” he said. “When I left I had no plan. But I was lucky enough to find this program, it really helped me find a job that I enjoy.”

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