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IBM supports National Guard and reserve employees with flexibility and understanding
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at IBM committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. IBM is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company.
Much of America doesn't understand what it means to be a member of the National Guard or the Reserves. But today's citizen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are exceptionally skilled at balancing their military duties with their family lives and civilian jobs. Meanwhile, it takes an understanding, flexible, and supportive employer to ensure that America's part-time service members have the tools to succeed in both careers.
Josh Atencio knew he had found a great opportunity when he accepted a position at IBM after graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato. But the Minnesota National Guardsman didn't know how well IBM would support his job as a citizen soldier.
"When I was in school, balancing my coursework with drill and work was tough, but I made it work," he says. "When I graduated and started working at IBM, I had no idea how challenging it would be to balance both my military and civilian careers. But my teammates and leadership at IBM are incredibly supportive, and give me the flexibility I need to ensure I can be successful in both arenas."
Driven by a family legacy of service, Atencio enlisted while earning his undergraduate degree. He dutifully pursued his studies while also drilling and spending his summers conducting and leading exercises with the National Guard. At the midpoint of his time as a student, Atencio deployed with his unit to the Sinai Peninsula in support of the Multinational Force and Observers. There, he was liaising between Egyptian and Israeli military forces to keep the peace. "I came home from that yearlong deployment knowing I needed to finish my degree quickly and get started with my civilian career," he says. Atencio's sights were set on IBM, a longtime icon and leader in the tech industry — and he was thrilled when offered a starting position as a financial analyst.
As an infantryman in the National Guard, there's little technical crossover between Atencio's job in the National Guard and his job at IBM. However, he does rely heavily on soft skills gained while serving in the military. In his position at IBM, Atencio now liaises between teams. "I've learned in the Guard how to communicate in different styles to ensure that people of all types can work together to achieve the mission," he says. "And similarly, I rely heavily on the skill of flexibility as well. In the Army, sometimes plans change quickly, and knowing how to adapt is critical."
"Above all, though, IBM has been an incredible supporter of my military service," Atencio adds. "The support and flexibility from my leadership has enabled me to go away for drill weekends or training events without the added stress of missing work." With a commitment to hire veterans and prepare them for the civilian workplace, IBM knows the value that veterans and transitioning service members bring to its corporate offices.
Atencio urges transitioning service members and veterans to consider IBM, where opportunities abound. "Do your research and know what you want in both a potential career and an employer," he says. "But most of all, use veteran service organizations to help navigate your job search. It can be a challenging time, whether you're transitioning from active duty or you're a Reservist or National Guardsman looking for a supportive employer. But there are tools and resources in place to help."
In addition to its commitment to hiring veterans, IBM also offers veteran employees support and space to succeed through their employee resource group. "It provides us a safe space to ask questions, network, get help, and navigate the military/civilian divide," says Atencio. "I'm so thankful and proud to work in a place that supports all of me, both as a soldier and an employee. And for any military members or veterans looking for a great potential employer, I say start with IBM — you won't regret it!"
This post was sponsored by IBM
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.
Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.
Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.