While the product may be tech, the business is all about people. This truth is in our DNA here at AchieveUnite, and it’s one of the driving factors behind a new blog series where we feature stories of brands and businesses doing good and thinking big in creative new ways. We recently had a chance to sit down with Fortinet’sGlobal Veterans Program Manager, Jay Garcia, to learn about an incredible program for Veterans called FortiVet. Here’s more.

Tell us how Fortinet’s veteran’s program came about and what exactly you do.

Organizations must deal with both an increasingly complex and rapidly changing threat landscape and a dearth of cybersecurity personnel. Rather than waiting for a solution to appear, proactive organizations like Fortinet are creating programs that add to the pool of cybersecurity know-how in general and can solve their own personnel needs in particular. In 2013, Fortinet launched the Fortinet Veterans (FortiVet) program with the goal of assisting transitioning service members and veterans into the cybersecurity industry by providing mentoring, coaching, training, and a networking opportunity. All of this while trying to bridge the cyber skillsgap we’re currently facing as part of our efforts through Fortinet’s NSE Institute which FortiVets is one of various programs aiming to close the skills gap.

One thing that differentiates the FortiVet program is that it’s focused on the cybersecurity community, specifically those companies that are helping defend the Country’s critical infrastructure and business – Managed Security Service Providers, Cyber security consultants and systems integrators. The FortiVet program makes this a much easier process with several key components. Cyber Awareness Training for veterans before they leave the military, a simple category-based method of qualifying veterans for civilian cyber positions, veteran battle cards for easy candidate review and translation of skills to civilian sector cyber roles, and a customizable candidate feed.

We access the veterans before they get out, raising their awareness about cybersecurity industry career opportunities. We deliver a career-oriented, cybersecurity industry briefing as part of their transitional services. It’s no Fortinet commercial;We inform Veterans of their relatable skills, due their military services, for a variety of career paths within cyber such as technical, marketing, sales, operations, HR, etc. Many are unaware of how their experience makes them exceptional candidates for a variety of rewarding cyber positions.

You create something called a “Battle Card” for transitioning veterans. What is that?

While many civilian employers in the cybersecurity business are keen to hire military veterans, these potential employers are challenged ascertaining what military skills are translatable when reviewing a veteran’s military career. How does what this person did in the service translate to what I need in my SOC or in a systems engineering or sales role? Our category-based system directly translates military experience into civilian cyber jobs. Category Alpha through Charlie describes civilian cyber roles and groups candidates, from no cyber experience to hardcore cyber comms. This gives employers a simple way to understand what a military MOS contributes from an experience perspective.

Our veteran Battle Cards give the employer an opportunity to see all that in a one-sheet resume cover letter, showing the veteran in uniform and business attire, what they want to be doing and where, plus their clearances, commendations, and certifications. These candidates are searchable by category on the FortiVet Partner Page. The FortiVet program offers a customizable candidate feed for employers. Participating employers gain access to an active candidate feed, so they can see all Categories or specific skill they are looking for. Every 2 weeks they get an updated list of candidates available for hire.

What kind of response are you seeing from veterans and also from industry?

The response from partners and veterans is fantastic. As this proactive method takes hold, organizations are increasingly realizing that veterans transitioning into civilian life are a good fit. Enterprises can fill their own pipeline while contributing to the global talent pool as they develop education, training, and experience-based programs. This strategy will make both public and private organizations more secure around the world as a new army of cybersecurity professionals battles advanced threats.

With a zero percent unemployment rate amongst cybersecurity professionals, potential employers trying to fill the cybersecurity skills gap are unable to find qualified candidates. Many consider the military to be an ideal source to fill the growing cyber skill gap as hundreds of thousands of men and women leave an increasingly digital military every year with experience that directly translates to cyber.

What’s the most rewarding part of your role?

I think that we spend a lot of time thinking about meeting our quotas, getting the right cup of coffee at Starbucks, or seeing if the pocket square matches our outfit. But we’re really only able to have those types of concerns because of the sacrifices our men and women make on a daily basis. One of the most rewarding parts of my role here at Fortinet is that I get to work for a company with a purpose, with a great mission, and we get to make a difference in the lives of many transitioning service members and veterans with our FortiVet program.

We owe so much to our armed forces men and women and veterans. How can people help?

Hire more Veterans and inform your HR teams the traits and values a veteran can bring to any organization. One of the great untapped resources that has been seriously underappreciated by the cybersecurity industry is the number of veterans transitioning into public life from today’s highly digital military.

Many of these individuals have had years of training in advanced computer systems while operating them under some of the most demanding and stressful environments imaginable. They have also developed a strong sense of security and defense, understand critical issues like chain of command, especially during times of active threat, and have been trained to learn how to think like the enemy—all skills that few of today’s traditional security applicants possess.

Military experience affords unique skillsets that serve enterprise cybersecurity well. Veterans have been trained in the arts of defensive thinking and strategic planning. Most importantly, they possess intangible traits like discipline, confidence, courage (both moral and physical), and adaptability to the changing environments, which are all good traits for a cybersecurity operator to have. Not to mention the fact that many of them already have the training, certifications and clearances required in the cybersecurity industry.

Click to learn more about Fortinet’s FortiVet program.