Many people know how VoIP has changed lives and how it has allowed communications to take place among people who previously could not afford to communicate. Voice over IP is obviously disruptive but at the same time it has changed the world in many ways. We know about cost savings and how service provider business models have evolved over the years but we have not seen enough media attention on how VoIP is changing lives by enabling people who could not previously be employed to finally get jobs.
There are hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans in the world and in these distinguished American citizens are often unable to contribute to the workforce because they aren’t able to commute to a job.
In May of last year I wrote about how call centers are changing lives
and specifically about the excellent work Ken Smith is doing as Program Manager at the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH).
Here is a refresher from the above article:
In November of 2005, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation or MOPHSF started its first class of 15 disabled, combat wounded veterans in an online call center training program called Veterans Business Training Center or VBTC.
This training was 15-weeks, 600-hours long and focused on the Five9 dialing platform. As it turns out, Five9 gave this agency very favorable rates for their service and they should be commended for doing so.
The foundation allowed the trainees to use this platform to call prospect donors on behalf of the foundation to solicit contributions in the state of Virginia. The program was a huge success. It has now expanded into 25 states, and the VBTC is accepting applications online at its website
VoIP has allowed corporations to do amazing things like locate call centers around the world but the technology continues to evolve and one of the latest trends in the call center market is homeshoring or hiring agents around the world who work from their homes.
When you couple this concept with agents who are restricted to working exclusively from their homes the result is workers who are grateful to work and employers happy to have access to a talent pool that was once unattainable. Most importantly companies are now able to now hire more disabled US veterans, the people who have made huge personal sacrifices for their country. Hiring these veterans gets you a highly skilled agent and at the same time gives you the personal satisfaction of hiring someone who fought for their country so we can all enjoy the freedoms we have today.
The VBTC is doing an amazing job and the veterans who have gone through the program are in tremendous demand. In addition 3,000-4,000 more veterans are waiting to go through the training program. The 15 week program consists of
virtual classroom training, supervisor training, reporting and resume writing.
If you have any question how the disabled veterans feel about this program, take a look at a few of the messages left on the message board of the MOPH:
The MOPH Business Center has taken my abilities as a wounded soldier to convince me that there are soldier's caring for us who have served our country and given us another chance to succeed in a field that I knew nothing about(computers). The Purple Heart restored my confidence in soldiers helping soldiers.
My name is Ron. I would like to share with you the wonderful things that the Purple Heart Foundation has done for me. Over the past couple of months, I have acquired many skills that will be benefit me in the private sector. The time is now. If you are looking to get a leg up in the workforce. The Business Program at the foundation is the answer. You will be glad to enroll in program. Don't wait the opportunity is just a click away.
Some interesting facts on the veterans is they are getting jobs paying between $14-$22 per hour and while they are obviously competing with people from other countries there seems to be a greater deal of trust dealing with a disabled veteran than there is working with a person in a country you know little about. So in situations where identity theft or credit card fraud is a potential problem the disabled veterans have a higher likelihood of securing work as compared to lower cost offshore labor.
Approximately 14 weeks ago a class was started on 9/11/2006 with the name Alpha 9/11. This class was dedicated to the 173 veterans who lost their lives in the Pentagon attack five years ago. It graduates next week. At every graduation there is a commencement speaker. Many of the past speakers have been secretaries of defense, secretaries of state and retired generals. Surprisingly I was asked to keynote this graduating class and I am humbled by the request and am looking forward to the honor.
There are few times in my life where my professional career has evoked such emotions of happiness, satisfaction and personal pride all together. The general measure of success in business is growing the top and bottom line while thrashing your competition (at least that is this person’s definition). It is great when you can do all of this while helping legions (pun not intended) of others in the process.
I am told TMCnet
and many of TMC’s publications have become vital resources for what this organization is doing. I am proud to support disabled veterans and I thank them for their service to our country. I am equally proud to have been involved in the IP communications industry as it has changed the lives of so many and continues to give opportunity to all.
We are also very excited to announce that Ken and many of the disabled veterans will be exhibiting at the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo
in Ft. Lauderdale in a few weeks. They tell me they will have some amazing military ceremonial displays worth coming to the show to see. They will also be giving out military dog tags which apparently are their business cards.
So to those of you in the communications market – here is a chance to see how the innovations of IP communications have improved the lives of disabled veterans around the world. I encourage you to come to the show Jan 23-27 (exhibits Jan 24-27), 2007and say hello to the fine people of the Military Order of The Purple Heart and give them your thanks and support.