Over 900,000 people in the U.S. participate in more than 2,000 Facebook groups for military, veterans and their spouses, and the social network introduced a new resource for them prior to Veterans Day, which takes place Monday.
Facebook introduced a Military and Veterans Hub, a destination for online safety tips, resources for finding jobs and digital skills training, as well as a place where veteran-owned businesses will be highlighted.
Public policy manager Payton Iheme, who heads military and veterans policy at Facebook, spent 17 years on active duty—including special operations, the Pentagon and Congress—and she still serves in the National Guard.
She said in an interview that she came to Facebook to try something new and found herself drawn to national security issues and helping military personnel and veterans, adding, “Veterans want to build community and find job opportunities.”
The social network teamed up with Score, the largest network of volunteer expert business mentors in the U.S., on the digital skills training portion of its Military and Veterans Hub, where education and mentorship will be provided to military members, veterans and their families who are seeking to become entrepreneurs.
Facebook said its program with Score includes:
- Mentor matching that connects military members and veterans with experienced business mentors who are also veterans.
- An educational toolkit to help veterans launch businesses and develop business plans. Iheme said, “Veterans have been professional soldiers, Marines and sailors for so long that they don’t know how to navigate the business world.”
- Interactive workshops for guidance on starting businesses, with veteran mentors available for continued support through all stages of startup and growth.
Iheme said, “A lot of learning in military is visual, on-the-job training. This mimics that. Most of the people in the military are used to having a battle buddy—someone who stays with you throughout your career.”
The social network is also kicking off a 12-month career-development pilot program for veterans with backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or computer science, with the aim of providing job opportunities at the company in augmented reality and virtual reality.
Iheme said the program allows a small set of veterans to become short-term employees and train on AR and VR technologies at Facebook, with the potential for full-time positions.
Facebook created a military skills translator to help people find careers at the company that are relevant to their experiences in the military.
The social network also provides internal mentorship programs and groups for its veteran employees, and it held its first ever internal Facebook Vets and Allies Leadership Summit this year.