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Getting veterans plugged in to IT careers

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Turnaround consultant Jerry Masin is planning the launch of online portal GI to IT, where information technology professionals will volunteer to provide free career counseling to veterans considering transitioning from the military into an IT career.

Jerry Masin

Masin, founder and president of CompasScale — which provides management consulting to early-stage and distressed companies — said he expects GI to IT to go live within 60 days. He is recruiting an initial group of about 50 IT professionals to offer "pragmatic and very specific job-related advice" to veterans. He said GI to IT will advise veterans across the entire education spectrum, whether in college or headed for college, or high school graduates looking for IT training programs to develop job-ready skills.

Masin said there also will be mentors to advise veterans considering becoming entrepreneurs and launching their own IT business.

"If a veteran or active military is looking to consider a career in IT — and that could be helpdesk, writing software, telecommunications, information security, application development — they will come to this site and find individuals who are willing to donate their services, to provide an appropriate career path, to understand what it is going to take to succeed in IT, either as an IT professional or as an entrepreneur," Masin said.

IT is a good career path for veterans for several reasons, Masin said. For one thing, there are jobs to be filled — he said the unemployment rate in IT is about half the overall jobless rate in the United States. And in the military, those veterans were "exposed to complex technology," he said. "Their minds have already been prepared to work in technology-based environments. There is a pretty easy transition into job-specific training that would prepare them for civilian work."

Masin said GI to IT will be a nationwide program, and volunteer mentors will work with veterans via e-mail, telephone and videoconferencing, and in person, where convenient.

Masin, a Rutgers graduate, last year launched Bridging the Gap, an initiative aimed at improving the mutual understanding of veteran and civilian students at Rutgers. He said he is optimistic that veterans organizations will help to promote the GI to IT portal.

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