Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh marked Veterans Day last week with new initiatives aimed at boosting opportunities for military veterans.
Philadelphia is the latest outpost for Chicago’s The Bunker, the country’s first incubator for veteran-owned businesses in the tech sector. Mike Maher, a 2005 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and co-founder of Benjamin’s Desk a co-working community, is executive director of The Bunker’s new Philly affiliate.
“We have a special obligation to provide opportunities for our veterans to achieve success once they return home,” explains Maher. “With this program, we are making it a priority to promote and recruit veterans to be leaders in our startup and business communities. Veterans make exceptional entrepreneurs and our region is poised to benefit from their leadership.”
The Bunker — which is temporarily located at Benjamin’s Desk in Center City while Maher looks for permanent space — will initially assist five startups beginning early next year. Technology startups are the focus, but any veteran-led and operated business is eligible.
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development launched Service to Opportunity, a new program that places veterans with energy and manufacturing employers who need to fill in-demand jobs. Among its features, Service to Opportunity features a database to help match skills and interests to available jobs, and a toolkit for employers featuring best practices and techniques for interviewing and hiring veterans.
“Veterans are a good fit for many of the critical workforce needs of energy and advanced manufacturing companies here,” said Laura Fisher of the Allegheny Conference in a statement. “They bring technical skills, teamwork and leadership experience, and a strong work ethic.”
Source: Mike Maher, Benjamin’s Desk; Allegheny Conference on Community Development
Writer: Elise Vider