Oracle Veteran Internship Program helps veterans and military spouses prepare their next mission: corporate life

July 22, 2021 | 5 minute read
Alex Chan
Writer, Brand and Content Marketing
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Veterans are trainable and punctual. Veterans can lead, but also know how to follow. Veterans will work until the job is done. And veterans are resilient. 

These are the qualities that Gerry Borja, senior diversity and inclusion program manager at Oracle, wants corporate hiring managers to recognize among those who have served in the military.

Borja manages the Oracle Veteran Internship Program (OVIP), which helps United States veterans and military spouses transition from military life and into a corporate work environment. The program helps participants apply their military experience and skills toward hands-on technical job training, professional development, networking opportunities, and exposure to Oracle’s corporate culture and business.

“Veterans are coming from one extreme culture to another in a very short time,” Borja says of returning to the workforce. “What [OVIP] does is help them bridge and accelerate that transition faster and more successfully than traditional programs.”

Since 2018, the 12-week program has been held twice a year in the spring and fall. In 2020, OVIP opened opportunities for active-duty military spouses to also participate. Over these years, the program has seen a 92 percent completion rate, with 67 percent of participants representing diverse communities, including women. While the program is designed to provide corporate experience to veterans and their spouses, 58 percent of participants have been converted into hires at Oracle. An additional 32 percent have found employment elsewhere, whle the remaining participants pursue or continue their education, according to those OVIP has tracked on LinkedIn. 

Engaging OVIP 

With its focus on creating meaningful experiences for participants, OVIP is designed to improve the marketability of participants for careers within the tech industry and even outside of it. 

Theresah Adomako, an active-duty military spouse, completed the program as a business analyst intern in spring 2021. Her training involved taking on a project for college recruiting where she worked on data that she cleaned, modified, analyzed and prepared for migration to a software tool. 

In addition, the professional development within the program offered Adomako and the other participants self-assessment workshops to prepare them to re-enter the workforce. This includes support with creating a personal elevator pitch, training for public speaking skills, and lessons on how to work collaboratively in a team. 

During the pandemic, networking events for this spring’s participants were held virtually through Zoom, and the chance to meet other professionals directly was made possible via LinkedIn and Slack. Through these efforts, Adomako was able to connect with senior directors, directors, managers, and peers during OVIP. 

For some like Adomako, the journey after OVIP happened to lead her to becoming a solutions engineer with Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience (CX).   

Before marrying her husband (a member of the US Navy), Adomako studied in Ghana and the US, where she earned a scholarship for her master’s in statistics, which she attained in 2016. Her spouse’s active service has taken them to several states in the US. During those relocations, Adomako says she immersed herself in learning courses and even taught for a while. 

“Speaking for military spouses, it’s sometimes hard to find a job because people think you might not stay in the workforce for a long time,” Adomako says. “There will be times when your spouse has to move and you can’t take your work with you. It’s a lot of sacrifice, but you know your spouse is doing this for the good of the country.”  

After spending some time out of the workforce, Adomako found OVIP while she was searching for jobs online. She says it was rare for her to encounter a professional development program, such as Oracle’s, which is designed for both veterans and military spouses.  

“What I can say coming from a military family myself is they often say that the military spouse has the hardest job in the military,” says Borja, who is also a US Army veteran. “They often have to move and support their spouses and start all over again. They don’t get that professional traction that is also commensurate with their educational experience.” As of summer 2021, 12 percent of OVIP participants have been military spouses.

Transformational work

In addition to OVIP, veterans, spouses, and military family members working at Oracle can find ongoing mentorship and community engagement from the Military Affiliated Veteran Employee Network (MAVEN).  David B. Cross, MAVEN’s executive sponsor and senior vice president of SaaS Security, says this strong sense of helping one another within the service community is key to their success in the civilian world.

“We rely upon each other because that’s what we’re taught,” says Cross, who is also a US Navy veteran. “Connecting to other veterans who can guide as a mentor through that transition helps. I saw that [OVIP] was a great opportunity to reward veterans for their service and also spouses, but I also saw that for myself and others… how much value veterans can bring to a company when given that chance.”

The chance Adomako had in OVIP resulted in confidence she had gained back after being out of the workforce. The program assigned her to a mentor and offered her workshops on how to brand yourself, network with people, polish one’s resume, negotiate salary, and perform well for informational interviews. She also used resources, such as Oracle Virtual Library, to learn both presentation and soft skills. 

“When I started, I was a different person,” Adomako says of her time in the program. “There’s so much to learn, and I have really benefitted from it. I’d encourage anyone who is a veteran or military spouse to look into the program and make use of the resources.” 

By cultivating an inclusive environment that values diverse backgrounds and perspectives of all employees, including those who are veterans and military spouses, Oracle can continue to drive innovation and business success. 

“I’ve worked at multiple companies,” Cross says. “I can say that the veteran community and support at Oracle is stronger than any other company that I’ve ever worked at.”

The community within the military itself already possesses a high level of diversity that benefits that workforce, Borja adds.

“This is where the intersectionality of diversity and inclusion comes into play,” Borja said. “Not only are you hiring a veteran, but they are of different genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. They represent multiple communities. By hiring that one person, you are able to touch upon a number of dimensions of diversity.”

Moving forward, the hope for OVIP is to grow their community of participants and mentors, increase visibility of the program, and to have more participation from various lines of business at Oracle. 

“I think that until you work with a veteran and have one on your team, you can’t really appreciate the value they bring to corporate America or to the workforce,” Borja says.

Alex Chan

Writer, Brand and Content Marketing

Alex Chan is a writer for Oracle. She was previously a reporter for The Orange County Register and subsidiaries of the Los Angeles Times.

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