To the men and women of the United States armed forces, giving their all while defending our nation is simply a given. This time of year, as our nation honors veterans and gives thanks for the blessings of the season, it’s only natural that many want to give back something to these heroes for their service.
One company that is dedicated to giving back, especially to veterans, is DraftKings, a digital sports entertainment and gaming company known for its industry-leading daily fantasy sports and mobile sports betting platforms. DraftKings’ corporate social responsibility initiative, Tech for Heroes, provides current and returning veterans and military spouses with free, comprehensive, high-tech job skills training and connects veterans to DraftKings employees through mentoring. In doing so, the project is helping this community build better career paths by improving their job prospects and networking abilities — especially with tech/innovation companies.
Kelly To, a spouse of a U.S. Air Force member, is thankful to be participating in the Tech for Heroes program.
“I’m truly grateful to DraftKings for putting together this scholarship and opportunity for both veterans and spouses,” she said. “It’s not often that spouses are given an amazing opportunity alongside their veterans to learn and gain a new skill set that can be beneficial in this technological day and age.”
Boosting the Tech for Heroes Mission
The Tech for Heroes program partners with two national nonprofit organizations serving veterans: VetsinTech and American Corporate Partners (ACP). Both groups have experience supporting current and returning veterans with reintegration services.
For example, VetsinTech focuses on the three Es —education, entrepreneurship and employment — to springboard veterans into tech careers. This nonprofit organization has more than 30,000 members and 15 chapters across the nation. Some of VetsinTech’s partners and sponsors include industry leaders such as Adobe, ADP, Cisco and Cloudera. The nonprofit’s website also features a tool for employers to post jobs and review resumes for this in-demand community.
American Corporate Partners
With ACP, the focus is on helping returning veterans and active-duty spouses find their next careers through mentoring, networking and online career advice. This national nonprofit has helped more than 18,000 veterans through one-on-one mentorships, many with representatives from Fortune 500 companies. Some of ACP’s sponsors include Amazon, AT&T, Disney, Home Depot, Unilever, Verizon and Wells Fargo. The nonprofit said that about 2,800 veterans participated in its mentor program in 2019 and more than 1,900 of those veterans found meaningful employment during their mentorship that year.
It’s these outstanding partner resources that allow DraftKings to give back by addressing the issue of underemployment for many veterans. Robert Wining, a Navy vet, has high praise for the education and connections he was able to gain in a Tech for Heroes class.
“I have learned more about the vast world of tech in the past month than I have in my previous 35 years on earth,” Wining said. “This has been so incredibly beneficial to me. I wish this class was available when I got out of the service.
“Not only is this the best resource that has ever been available to me as a veteran, it’s a phenomenal way for employers to tap into veterans that are career and education oriented. This class is filled with people that never ever want to stop learning.”
Year-Round Support From DraftKings
Since launching the Tech for Heroes program in summer 2018, DraftKings has invested more than $1 million in providing free training to almost 300 veterans through 12 classes hosted in six cities and online across the country.
DraftKings also holds charity fantasy sports contests throughout the year with all proceeds going to support veterans and the Tech for Heroes program. In 2019, the DraftKings player community raised an additional $100,000 through four charity contests, which helped to expand the reach of the program to train additional veterans. DraftKings also ran a special Thanksgiving Day charity campaign which raised nearly $130,000 and was donated to five veteran-serving charities in the five cities DraftKings has employees or offices.
In 2020, the company expanded the Tech for Heroes program to include its own employees in the one-on-one mentor programs. These year-long mentorships will help guide veterans, whether it is with advice on networking, leadership, education or resume development.
At the end of this year and into 2021, opportunities for online career training in tech fields are likely to remain in high demand. DraftKings is proud to be an active partner providing these exact services to U.S. veterans and military spouses, giving back to those who have already given so much for our nation.
Visit the DraftKings website or email TechforHeroes@draftkings for more information about upcoming training and scholarship opportunities in the Tech for Heroes program.