Many Americans see Memorial Day in the US as the holiday that kicks off summer. Stores are loaded with shiny new grills, bags of charcoal, and rows of filled propane tanks. Patio furniture is being dusted off while refrigerators are stuffed with marinating steaks, bowls of potato salad, and chilled beer waiting for friends and family for the traditional weekend barbeque.
But Memorial Day is about much more than grilling a burger with a cold beverage in your hand. Memorial Day in the United States, observed every year on the last Monday of May, has been set aside for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces, and by extension, all veterans who put their lives on the line in defense of their country, and often, to defend the freedom of people around the world.
It’s a perfect opportunity for us to not only take a minute to thank those who served in uniform, but to also provide a quick update about a program Fortinet has put in place to help veterans transitioning from the military to civilian life, called FortiVets. The mission of the Fortinet Veterans Program is to give Armed Services veterans across the country the training and mentoring they need to transition into the cybersecurity industry through employment at Fortinet and our distribution and technology partners. The program seeks to capitalize on the natural synergy between national defense in the Armed Services and defending critical information for businesses and government agencies.
This past March, Fortinet Program Administrator Andrew Adrian, and Fortinet engineer and FortiVeteran graduate Tony Alfaro were invited to a NICE (National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education) / NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) workshop in Washington DC to represent Fortinet and speak about our program to help veterans transition into cybersecurity. Representatives from DHS, OPM, USAF Cyber Command, Military.com, and more were in attendance. Fortinet was the only pure play cyber security manufacturer there.
The Fortinet workshop educated NICE team members on how to help veterans find a job in cybersecurity. Over the past year we have conducted over a dozen similar workshops across the country for over 1,000 attendees, the majority of whom either were either currently serving in the military, veterans, or worked for organizations tasked with helping soldiers with their transition to private life.
Many soldiers transitioning out of the Armed Forces are ideally suited for a career in this field. Some, like communications officers, already have technical backgrounds and experience in security. But nearly all veterans have developed the sort of situational awareness that a career in security requires. They know how to work, are mission driven, and are used to putting in the time necessary to become good at what they're doing. What they need is training and an opportunity.
We are proud of our efforts to help US veterans build a useful and fulfilling career in cybersecurity once their term of military service is completed. This past year, eighty-one veterans have received Fortinet training. At this point, thirty-seven have been hired; sixteen are still receiving training; and others are waiting for their participation start date.
Of those who graduated from the program this year, Fortinet has hired six, Fortinet partners have hired seven, and our competitors have hired two. In addition, Fortinet customers have hired seventeen veterans, and another five have been hired by outside companies not associated with Fortinet.
Individuals from all branches of the military have participated in our Program. While participation has been primarily from the Marine Corps, we are actively seeking to expand our awareness into the other branches of the military. The program provides:
- Professional networking
- Guidance for continued education
- Interview coaching
- Resume building and revision
- Circulation of resumes among Fortinet teams, partners, and end users
- Military to civilian transition guidance
- A program certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation
This is not an internship or employment program. It is a rigorous training and certification program, and the selection process is extremely competitive. If you or someone you know is a veteran looking for a fulfilling career in cybersecurity, you can learn more about it here, and then send your name and inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with one of our program leaders.