When I joined Google last year to lead Google Public Sector, I was inspired by two significant opportunities to do meaningful, impactful work. In my day-to-day role, I get to help U.S. public sector organizations — including governments and educational institutions — achieve their missions by accelerating their digital transformations.
I’m also an executive sponsor of VetNet, Google’s employee resource group for military veterans, military family members and civilian allies. As a Navy vet and former officer myself, I’m proud to be part of a company that promotes the importance of veterans helping veterans. In my short time serving as VetNet’s sponsor, I’ve stood in awe of its impact and the many ways Google veterans step up to serve their community.
The idea of service, of doing meaningful work — especially through technology — has stayed with me in industry for over 30 years. In honor of Veterans Day, here are four ways Google is supporting veterans as they transition to civilian life:
1. Strengthening mental health support networks
Google.org gave $1.5 million in grants to ReflexAI to create HomeTeam. Built with veterans, for veterans, this tool uses AI to reduce stigma in conversations about mental health and support the well-being of veteran communities.
The project kicked off in January, with a Google.org Fellowship team (Google employees working on a full time, pro bono basis) gathering insights from more than 500 veterans from diverse backgrounds and different military branches. The HomeTeam tool they built together provides practical educational modules covering high-priority topics in mental health support, followed by AI-powered chat simulations that enable veterans to practice lifelike conversations in a low-risk, confidential setting, better preparing them for real-world discussions about mental health with other veterans.
A team of nine Google.org Fellows worked with ReflexAI for 6 months to develop and launch HomeTeam.
We know that transition doesn’t just impact veterans themselves, but also the family members who support them. Our Serving Veterans site not only has resources for veterans seeking mental health support, but also an entire section for family and friends, including links to support groups.
2. Supporting transitional services
To provide support for returning veterans, Google Public Sector recently partnered with the ETS Sponsorship Program to help launch a Google Cloud-based platform called Onward Ops. Powered by Google Workspace, this partnership provides a one-stop shop for transitioning service members including tailored job training, trained sponsors, comprehensive VA benefits assistance and critical mental health resources.
3. Building career-ready skills and resumes
Grow with Google provides programs and training to advance economic opportunity in the military community. Earlier this year, we announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Navigator and Partnership Program (ENPP). The program offers transitioning service members and their spouses one-on-one career assistance and free access to Google Career Certificates and Google Cloud trainings and certifications for transitioning military service members and their spouses at 30 military locations worldwide.
Google has also extended a free invitation to our Google Cloud Days training program to all federal employees, including those serving in the military. By joining, service members can learn more about digital transformation and improving security with Google Cloud. Through all these programs, those eligible to participate can acquire skills in everything from data analytics and IT support to cloud development and security engineering.
I'm proud to see the impact of Google's support of Hiring Our Heroes' Career Forward program resulting from a $10 million grant. The program aims to help 8,000 transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses build a meaningful career by offering free access to Google Career Certificates. After earning their certificate, participants can be hired full-time or can apply for a paid fellowship through programs including the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Program with one of more than 400 employers within the Hiring Our Heroes network, including Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, Freedom Learning Group, Verizon and Google.
One of the things that inspires me most about Google is our employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and help. This year, we hosted our third annual VetNet Career Week, where thousands of Google volunteers delivered career training, advice, support and resume reviews to members of the military community, as well as newcomers and refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine. The event concluded with an interview with Jon Stewart in our Google office in New York to discuss his support for the military community and his advice for those transitioning to a post-military career.
Almost 2,000 Google employees volunteer to review resumes and provide advice to military veterans, service members, military spouses, and refugees and newcomers from Afghanistan and Ukraine as part of Google’s annual “VetNet Career Week.”
4. Growing the Google Veterans Network worldwide
VetNet is growing its ranks at Google beyond the U.S., including thousands of members and dozens of office chapters across Europe, Asia, and South America. Recently, in the UK, Google was recognized with a Silver Award by the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for our support of the military community. Google UK also recently re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise by the nation that those who serve or have served are treated fairly, particularly in regards to public services like healthcare, education and housing.
Whether it’s by helping transitioning or retiring military members build a civilian career, helping veterans expand their networks and build community outside of the military, or making it easier for military spouses to succeed in their careers despite countless moves, I’m proud to be a part of a company that puts its honor for the military community into action.
Throughout my career, many people have helped me recognize the unique strengths I bring to a team because of my military service. Camaraderie and teamwork don’t end when we hang up our uniforms. And like many other current and former service members, I’m eager to pay it forward.