This morning, I had the honor of attending a meeting at the White House where I had the opportunity to offer my thoughts to senior government leaders as well as top industry executives on a new initiative called Warriors 4 Wireless (W4W).
W4W is a voluntary public-private partnership that helps marry two important national goals – helping military veterans find productive jobs and advancing our country’s drive to deliver advanced wireless service across the U.S. As we all know broadband is one of the great empowerment tools of our lifetime. Wireless enhances the broadband experience by eliminating the tether of the desktop and adding the “on-the-go” benefit of mobility.
In many instances, it’s also a more cost-effective way to reach rural communities. Wireless broadband is such a powerful tool for connecting people to opportunities that the President has set a national goal of delivering 4G service to 98 percent of Americans by 2016. For our part at AT&T, we are driving to meet that target.
As committed as we are to broadband goals, AT&T is also making a big push to hire veterans and their family members. So, taking part in the W4W launch was a natural for us. The idea of combining two national goals under the W4W umbrella makes sense because many veterans already have the right skills as a result of setting up and operating military communications in the field. It’s also a practical way to say “thanks” to the men and women who have put themselves at risk to defend our freedom. And because broadband is so important for our country’s future, it’s a chance for vets to continue serving America while building their own future.
The idea of combining two national goals under the W4W umbrella makes sense because many veterans already have the right skills as a result of setting up and operating military communications in the field.
At AT&T, W4W adds to our own extensive efforts to hire former members of the military. AT&T has announced plans to hire a total of 10,000 veterans and their family members, more than double the hiring goal we set in April. In the past year alone, more than 3,600 vets have joined the company; and we’re planning to hire a total of 10,000 veterans and their family members over the next five years. We’ve also participated in the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative, joined other businesses in the 100,000 Jobs Mission, and set up our own internal program, Operation Hand Salute, to mentor service-disabled veterans.
In the process, we’ve discovered that veterans give our company many intangible benefits. They understand teamwork, they focus on achieving the mission, and, they know how to respond when surprises happen or plans break down. In my mind, W4W is onto something powerful. Helping get it off the ground would have been a great experience even if I’d never set foot in the White House.
This post originally appeared on the AT&T Public Policy Blog.