Yesterday we observed Memorial Day and remembered our nation’s fallen heroes. Last week was also Armed Forces Week and events were held across the county to honor Americans who have served our country in times of war and peace.
In connection with these national holidays, Comcast and NBCUniversal conducted interactive information sessions with more than 60 local nonprofits, and state and federal government entities that specialize in transitioning veterans back into the workforce and offer veterans career services in seven cities across the country, including Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Portland. These meetings raised awareness about Comcast and NBCUniversal’s job opportunities for veterans while educating the organizations about the company’s veteran-friendly culture.
Earlier this year, we announced that we reached our three-year goal of hiring 1,000 veterans two years ahead of schedule and have committed to hiring an additional 1,000 U.S. veterans by 2015. Our pledge contributes to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s "Hiring Our Heroes" initiative, a nationwide effort to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment.
Comcast and NBCUniversal have had the privilege of hiring extremely talented veterans and we’d like to share two of those stories.
Ali Kobeissi left college in 2006 to join the Marine Corps, where he trained as a wireman and served a 7-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2008. There he built radio systems, ran wire to command posts, conducted foot patrols, and helped train local police. Ali, who is Fluent in Arabic, was particularly useful to his unit as a translator. After an additional deployment to Morocco, Ali returned home in 2011 and transitioned to the reserves.
Upon his return to civilian life, Ali was confident that he was capable of working in a fast paced environment, acting independently, and completing difficult and highly technical work. However he had a difficult time finding a job that valued those skills and provided opportunities for advancement. After applying to more than 30 jobs without one offer for an interview, Ali went back to college to complete his degree in computer science. While volunteering at a "Toys for Tots" collection site shortly before Christmas in 2012, he met Will Baas, a Navy reservist and executive director for talent acquisition at Comcast and the head of the company’s military recruiting program.
Will connected Ali with a Comcast recruiter to help him work on his resume and help identify and apply for appropriate positions within the company. It turned out that Ali’s skill set was a perfect match for a technician position where there are ample opportunities for advancement. Ali is currently finishing up training and is eager to get out in the field on his own.
Michelle Torres, daughter of a U.S. Air Force Vietnam Veteran, enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves 21 years ago during her senior year of high school. During that same period, Michelle also served as a summer intern with NBCUniversal working in the News Production Systems department doing software inventory, system administration related activities and end-user support/training.
After spending eight years in the reserves and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from St. John’s University, Michelle was offered a full-time job with NBCUniversal. Today, Michelle is the Director of Scheduling, Cable & Operations Management Systems, in Operations & Technology Services. In this role, Michelle manages a team of IT professionals providing systems support and project management of technical systems for various parts of the business including: Business Services, Facility & Real Estate Services, Studio Operations, Technical Engineering, Satellite Operations, Sports Production and Field Operations.
Michelle previously served as Co-Hub Leader for the NBCUniversal Veterans Network Tri-State and continues to be involved with veteran recruitment, mentoring, community service and outreach events.
Michelle has been with NBCUniversal for more than two decades and credits the military for her leadership and time management skills. The experience also gave her the confidence to embark on large enterprise-wide projects, corporate initiatives and assignments that she would not have ordinarily taken on.
One of the main challenges that veterans face during a job search is the difficulty translating their military skills into a civilian role. To help change that, and in addition to our hiring commitment, Comcast and NBCUniversal are offering tools and resources to help support veterans and reservists.
Comcast and NBCUniversal have fostered a culture that supports veterans and reservists within its ranks. Veterans are invited to join employee resource groups where there is a community among veterans. The Comcast and NBCUniversal Veterans Network employee resource groups serve as a base of support for members, in several ways, including a mentoring program and events focused on growing the professional and personal development of veterans and their allies. Additionally, NBC News created the "Making a Difference on the Homefront" news series in an effort to shine a light on veterans, military families and the issues affecting them across the country. NBC Publishing also recently released a free enhanced eBook and guide for veterans, Heroes Get Hired: How to Use Your Military Experience to Master the Interview.
This summer, NBC News and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will launch a jobs and education resource portal to connect veterans and their families with up-to-date tools and information to help them in their transition after returning home from military service. The centralized hub will feature the best resources from leading industry partners, in addition to NBC News features, and family, spouse and community resources.