First, I would like to apologize for the long delay between my last blog post and now. There has been a whirlwind of things happening with the Merivis Foundation and I have been focused on our first class. With that in mind, I wanted post a blog on developing new talent within the Salesforce ecosystem. Developing new Salesforce talent is crucial as more and more companies implement the product and need qualified people to administer and manage their Salesforce instance. With the help of UST Global, the Merivis Foundation has been able to bridge the gap in talent by 10 through our first cohort which just wrapped up this month.
The Merivis Foundation was founded to support the challenges experienced by veterans upon entering the workforce. When I left the US Air Force over 20 years ago, there was not a “playbook” for me to follow for my career, and given my interaction with numerous veterans recently, that playbook on career transition still does not exist. In some cases there may be too many options for some veterans, which can cause confusion and distract the veterans from what they may really want. We know these talented individuals bring a set of skills employers are looking for; leadership, teamwork, and most of all – honor. The key, however, is to create a successful transition through training, mentoring and gaining that initial experience in Salesforce. These challenges are exactly what Merivis set out to address, setting us apart from other training programs by leveraging our network across the state of Texas we have provided a springboard for the veterans. This is also made possible by UST Global, which provides Salesforce consulting among many other IT services globally.
The Impact to Veterans
The impact to each of these veterans can be huge. For some of the veterans, they can see upwards of a 100% increase in salary within a year or two of working in the Salesforce job market. Progressing in the Salesforce career path is significant and something each of these veterans is committed to doing. One of our veterans, Rochelle Bowman, commented on Merivis by saying “The Merivis Foundation has been amazing. This whole experience has been better than I could have ever imagined. It has changed my life and my career path. I was stuck and Salesforce has opened up a whole new bunch of opportunities for me.” The impact is real and these veterans are seeing possibilities with Salesforce job market they had not seen before.
Show Them The Way
As with most people, these veterans only need a chance to make an impact. I have seen veterans who have gone through some of the Salesforce online training and become certified, struggle in one key area: Job placement. We have added a layer of professional development skills training to complement the salesforce curriculum. These include:
- Mentorship – Each of our 10 veterans who attended the program were matched with a mentor. These mentors are all professionals who work and live in the Salesforce ecosystem. Our veterans were matched so they had a resource for real world experience, networking in the salesforce community, and ability to gain insights into the daily routine of a salesforce admin.
- Job Placement Support – It cannot be understated how important this is. We brought in expertise for resume building, interviewing skills, networking, and LinkedIn. Because it’s not only about getting the certification, it’s about promoting yourself as a potential hire for the companies looking to fill salesforce roles. We were also able to get each veteran a new headshots for their social media presence through an in-kind sponsorship by “New Handshake” photography.
- Exposure to jobs and experience – This is a tough one and I have seen all over the country. Companies want new hires to have some level of Salesforce experience, however all of these veterans are new to the space. Through the network and relationships of the Merivis Foundation board members with local companies and the technology community, we were able to provide internships, volunteer work, and hands-on experience for our veterans.
The Impact on the Community
This is not nor has it ever been about the technology. Salesforce is the enabler for these veterans to start their careers and do something big with it. To us, this is about community and the veterans who will now be employed in high salaried jobs. In addition, these veterans are more likely to give back as they advance in their careers. One of my personal goals is to see our first set of veterans come back and become mentors to future classes as we expand across the state.
I mentioned earlier that this could not be possible without the support of UST Global. Myself and the other board members realize that there was a risk they took in supporting us in our inaugural class. They took a risk on a new non-profit with big ideas in the same way we ask employers to give a chance to our veterans who have ambition and military skills but no experience. Not only did they support our first class but they gave us a chance to prove our model worked. The board of directors for Merivis is committed and ready to put in the extra time and effort to get this new organization off the group but the financial assistance provided by UST made it possible to execute.
Final Word – Yann’s Story
Yann is an Army veteran who lives in Fort Hood Texas and here are his thoughts on the program; “I wanted to take a few minutes to thank the Merivis Foundation for what they’ve done and UST Global for their sponsorship; not only for me, but also for the nine other veterans that were part of my cohort. Leaving the military was hard and stressful; now I feel confident that I will be okay when it comes to my future career. The people at Merivis not only spent four weeks of their time to train and make sure we were all ready for the Salesforce Admin certification exam, they also made sure we had mentors and set us up with different companies hiring people just like us. The experience is really something special, and definitely tailored to us veterans.”
I am proud to announce that Yann has been our first veteran to get placed in a full time job. He is starting a full time role at Dell Inc on December 7th. This is a direct result of Yann’s hard work in class and his preparation for his next career move. This is just one example of the change created through the Merivis Foundation in partnership with the support and generosity of UST Global.
Hector Perez Jr.