Photo: Wikimedia

Our military is currently fighting an untraditional enemy. That is, they’re fighting an army that belongs to no country, that has no central headquarters, an enemy that can adapt and skitter around like Luke Skywalker does with an AT-AT. War has changed.

It may be easy to assume that our soldiers, once they’ve returned from service, feel a sense of relief after fighting this new enemy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Our veterans are fighting a whole new enemy: unemployment.

Veterans have earned much, but they seldom receive. Everyone agrees that veterans deserve the highest respect and all the help they can get post-service, but when you really take a closer look, veterans are getting, if you pardon my French, royally screwed.

“It can be difficult for civilians to understand how the work they did while they served translates to skills they bring when they enter the workforce.”

It’s because veterans are so often an after thought that when it comes to the job market, vets are frequently left behind. Because of their military service, veterans don’t always have the skills required for the jobs that will lead them to financial stability. It’s true that, when veterans have the training, they often make for an ideal employee.

That’s why it’s always heartwarming to see organizations taking the step that our government will not, and giving veterans the helping hand they deserve. Chicago-based non-profit Code Platoon is taking that step by helping veterans build the necessary technological skills for jobs in software development and engineering. The non-profit also gives vets enough technical background knowledge if they choose to go the entrepreneurial route. In short, with Code Platoon, veterans can get the training they need to succeed in this blossoming tech universe.

Photo: U.S. Army / Flickr

Photo: U.S. Army / Flickr

Code Platoon, like other similar organizations, is an immersive, hands-on learning program that’s very serious about giving the very best training available, and expects the kind of dedication to the work that one would expect of a veteran. Their website reads, “-getting there is not easy. You can expect to work 6 or 7 days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, during this course.” That’s a no kidding around coding bootcamp.

There is a growing need for software developers and people educated in code. Tech culture has long been criticized for its exclusivity: there is a notable lack of women, people of color, and LGBT members. There are coding bootcamps all over the country that are just for women, for low-opportunity urban youth, even courses specifically designed for women of color.

So it makes sense that there be a coding bootcamp geared specifically towards veterans. According to Rodrigo Levy, founder and executive director of Code Platoon, “The 20-29 segment of veterans is disproportionately unemployed relative to their civilian peers. Veterans often have a more difficult time entering the workforce, because it can be difficult for civilians to understand how the work they did while they served translates to skills they bring when they enter the workforce.”


Photo: Code Platoon

The program is also fairly affordable. Tuition is normally $10,000, however, Code Platoon has raised enough money to essentially create a scholarship of $8,500, meaning that each veteran accepted will only have to pay $1,500. That’s not too shabby.

Code Platoon works out of Bunker Labs, an 1871-based non-profit incubator that helps develop and support veteran-run organizations, and is currently accepting applications. Considering how the tech industry is rapidly expanding, learning how to code is quickly becoming an essential skill in the market. More and more companies and organizations are looking for employees who are versed in this realm.

So if you’re a veteran looking for work or a new opportunity, Code Platoon is a remarkable resource that will be as dedicated to you as you are to it. The harder you work, the more benefits you’ll receive. It’s an ideal setting for those who have served in the military, what with all the high expectations and heavy workload, etc etc.

Veterans are in a great need for help. Politicians love to claim that they help, but those who have experienced the hell that is Veterans Affairs say otherwise. It’s so important that we invest in our veterans, and that they get the help that they need to reintegrate into civilian life. They dedicate their lives to us, it’s only fair that we do the same for them.