CAMBRIDGE, MA—Rich Horan and Randy Kenny, U.S. military veterans now working at Draper, completed their military service knowing they had strengths, but like many vets, they didn’t have a network to connect them to civilian jobs and they worried whether they would ever get a chance to apply their military skills for a job that could lead to a career.
Horan and Kenny made successful transitions to the civilian workforce with the help of Edge4Vets and its partnership with Draper.
Edge4Vets was created in 2011 by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University in New York. The program combines workshop training with online instruction to teach veterans how to turn their military experience into skills for the business workforce, and then connects them with jobs.
Following the workshop, Horan and Kenny found positions at Draper, one of eight Edge4Vets partner companies in Massachusetts. Partner companies provide financial support and mentoring in exchange for access to eligible veterans and military personnel who participate in Edge4Vets.
Horan served in the U.S. Army infantry division from 2011 to 2015, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan. As an infantry team leader, Horan was responsible for forming new recruits into a unit. “Edge4Vets,” Horan explained, “helped me identify the value of that skill—my ability to form teams—and present it in a way that companies could see the value I could bring.” Following his career in the military, Horan earned a degree in mechanical engineering from UMass Lowell, an Edge4Vets partner school that introduced him to Draper, where he currently works on programs for the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense. Horan co-leads Draper’s employee resource group for veterans.
Kenny was introduced to Edge4Vets through a partnership with the MassHire Massachusetts Department of Career Services (MDCS), which operates 29 career centers in the state. Kenny served in the infantry with the U.S. Marine Corp., later working in the private sector at various companies in procurement. His current role at Draper is senior buyer. It was during a job search when he learned about Edge4Vets. “Dennis Pellegrino, my career counselor at MDCS, directed me to Edge4Vets, which connected me to Draper. That was huge for me since I didn’t have a network, which is true for a lot of vets. I’ve been at Draper for three years and I look forward to many more,” Kenny said.
Edge4Vets has trained nearly 2,000 veterans and other former military members in seven states, the majority in Massachusetts, according to Tom Murphy, founder of Edge4Vets and director at the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham.
Edge4Vets estimates that eight out of ten of its workshop attendees have secured jobs through Edge4Vets. Since 2013, Edge4Vets has operated in Massachusetts, where more than 600 military personnel have attended the workshops and learned to gain an edge to get hired.
“Edge4Vets gives veterans and other military personnel the support business leaders say they need most; that is, we teach them how to translate their military strengths, including values and skills, into tools for success in the civilian workplace, then we connect them to jobs that can lead to careers,” Murphy said.
The next workshop series is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET April 15 with a follow-up session on April 30, 2021. Registered participants attend both sessions through Zoom video conferencing. During the two-week interval between the two sessions, participants can access the Edg4Vets online course, which through a series of videos and exercises guides them to create a personal PLAN4SUCCESS.
Learn more about Edge4Vets and register for the spring workshop series at Edge4Vets.org.