(CHICAGO) — Like many U.S. military veterans, Ken Marion struggled to land a job when he returned from serving his country in Iraq. He enrolled in college, but between his class schedule, insomnia from anxiety that developed from his military service, and his limited work experience in civilian jobs, he found getting hired to be a challenge that persisted for years until he was given a chance to work on a state-of-the-art information technology (IT) project at Rush University Medical Center.
Recognizing the needs of Chicago area veterans like Ken, Rush developed a program to train military veterans in key health care IT technologies in order to jump start their careers. Marion is one of the first veterans to be hired into the program at Rush that offers a six-month temporary stipend with flexible hours to veterans. The goal is to help improve the quality of life of service members who returned to civilian life with combat-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to Jaime Parent, vice president of IT Operations and associate Chief Information officer.
“Coming back from Iraq, I didn’t have the type of work experience employers were looking for and I had some disabilities as additional challenges,” Marion said. “This program at Rush is giving me knowledge and work experience in a booming field, and just as valuable are the references that I will gain.”
The resumes of veterans hired by Rush as part of The EN-Abled Vet program will be strengthened by their participation in a technology transformation at Rush that is the wave of the future. The veterans are helping swap out about 8,000 traditional desktop PC’s to be replaced by a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) that will provide greater security and cost savings to the Medical Center.
A number of companies in the technology industry collaborated with Rush on how to best assist the program in giving the veteran a solid health care IT background that can be used to gain full-time employment in the growing health care IT field. These companies including AHEAD, HP, Microsoft, Intel, Citrix, Hitachi Data Systems, NetApp, CDW, Symantec and Cisco committed to supplying education, training, device allocation, and software downloads to veterans.
“The men and women we are bringing into this new training and transitioning program already have the desirable skills we all seek in new hires: character, respect, dedication, loyalty and service,” said Parent. “When they leave, they will be able to advance to successful health care information technology careers simply because they were given a chance to leverage the character and potential they already possessed.”
For more information about The EN-Abled Vet program at Rush, visit http://healthsystemcio.com/2013/10/01/enabled-veteran-develop-workforce-transition-program-military-members/.
For more information about the Rush Center for Veterans and their Families, visit http://rush.convio.net/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5237.