May 1, 2013 – Military service members of today may fill some of the millions of in-demand data and tech jobs of tomorrow in part through a new public-private certification partnership between the federal government and big-name IT vendors.

The IT Training and Certification Partnership will enable 161,000 service members to earn nationally- and industry-recognized certifications across a dozen “high-demand” tech professions, including database design, cloud computing, computer programmer, IT security and quality assurance. Military members will also be able to transfer related experience toward certification credits, according to a White House release on the initiative.

Under the program, military members will take a gap analysis, to assess their IT skills, and then train and test for civilian credentials, free of charge. Military IT specialists receive training equivalent to those in the civilian sector, though the White House noted in a release that “few, on their own, seek additional off-duty industry training that can lead toward additional IT certifications above and beyond those required for their military occupation.”

The training program was developed by Cisco Systems along with talent management software provider Futures Inc., matching certification expectations with various accredited programs. On the vendor side, Microsoft and its partners Global Knowledge and Prometric will donate 500 exam vouchers to underwrite some of the cost of Microsoft skills training. Oracle, through its Oracle Academy and Oracle University Workforce Development programs, stated it will offer technology, courseware and resources for database design, SQL and Java training. NetApp will offer its entry-level NetApp Certified Storage Associate certification, along with other Web-based storage training. HP is providing hands-on IT experience for service members, including training and exam vouchers on its Cloud and Converged Infrastructure.

The program follows a set of recommendations issued by the Department of Defense’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force in June 2012. The federal government estimates 1.8 million technology jobs in these or related fields by 2020, with an average salary exceeding $81,000. Among the tens of thousands troops deployed abroad, the drawdown over the next year includes 34,000 returning from Afghanistan, according to previous announcements from President Obama.

The announcements this week from the White House are part of a wider public-private certification process for military members that also covers health care, transportation and academics.

The certification announcements come a week after a joint Congressional subcommittee hearing with data industry leaders and researchers on the future of computing and advanced analytics centered mostly on funding and support for the new skills in demand due to the enterprise data boom. Last year, Obama outlined focused efforts and spending toward modernized computing power and advanced analytics research and practices, even as overall federal IT spending was declining.

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