CWS 3.0: January 16, 2013

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Helping Veterans Retool for Civilian Jobs

No good deed goes unrewarded. Over the past two years, Qualcomm’s staffing and contingent workforce teams have partnered to provide transitioning veterans exposure to the corporate world through a training program called Qualcomm Corporate Integration Program for Warrior Veterans (QCIP). This is more than a jobs program, with so many veterans getting out of the service and struggling to make the transition to civilian status, we wanted to step up and do our part.

The seven-week program pairs 12 to 18 veterans with assignments in career areas that include IT, engineering and business roles in order to provide veterans with a career experience where they can identify and align their transferable talents and interests to the corporate world of work. As a result, Qualcomm now has access to a whole new pool of experienced talent it can utilize. These veterans are paid as contingents through our on-site staffing vendor.

The program is managed by the Qualcomm staffing team, but the veterans are payrolled through our on-site staffing partner. Because our contingent workforce team resides within the HR staffing organization, we are able to partner seamlessly on these special projects to create a positive payrolling experience for the special populations we serve.

Our contingent workforce program is a self-managed hybrid program, with the on-site staffing partner focusing on payrolling, light industrial and administrative talent while the internally managed Qualcomm team works with the technical supplier base to identify talent or recruit talent. Similarly, these veterans are sourced by the QCIP program manager in conjunction with different community partners, mostly in the San Diego area. It helps that our program manager is a former Army veteran; he handles the day to day operations for QCIP.

While the QCIP program has been going strong the past two years, it was a youth program started in 2008 that highlighted the ease, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of payrolling. That was the first workforce development project that we tried, and without payrolling, we may not have pulled it off. As part of the youth program, the youth were performing work functions in addition to the career explorations curriculum, and thus had to be paid. Tactically, though, we didn’t want to go through the complexity of making them part-time employees for a five-week program. Payrolling has always played a key role in our contingent workforce program, but what used to be a traditional outlet for engaging referrals, retirees and 1099 hopefuls is now playing an even greater role in how we serve the community.

At the end of the day, it feels great to know we are making a difference. Nearly three quarters of the veterans who have completed the program have found jobs and of those, 13 have earned a spot at Qualcomm — some as long-term temps while others have converted to perm status. As part of the curriculum, veterans gain valuable hands-on work experience, but they also gain support from more than 50 volunteers from Qualcomm’s military veterans and HR organization who play the role of coaches and mentors to ensure a successful experience. In addition, veterans also take part in a number of activities from résumé writing and interviewing labs, to critical communications training. The program stresses the importance of figuring out what they do well and aligning that to a career.

The next QCIP class launches in May and we are currently sourcing veterans to participate in it.

Ed Hidalgo is senior director of staffing for Qualcomm.

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