Giving veterans new skill sets

Nov 13, 2019 3:00 AM

With Veterans Day having been observed around the nation Monday, DraftKings, along with other companies, aren’t just honoring veterans one day a year. They have implemented a program to honor them year-round.

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DraftKings, a U.S.-based sports technology and entertainment company with offerings that range across daily fantasy, regulated gaming, digital media, and DK Sportsbook, which offers mobile and retail betting, established the “Tech for Heroes” program. Now in its second year and in four states, the program offers local veterans and their spouses free training in high-tech computer skills, helping to expand their abilities, and find meaningful employment.

The program is also designed to build resume development, career road mapping, skills translation, as well as peer-to-peer networking.

Working in partnership with national nonprofit, VetsinTech, “Tech for Heroes” was instituted in Las Vegas earlier this week. Nearly 30 veterans and their spouses signed up for the eight-day course.

John Avello, director of sports operations for DraftKings, said it’s important to reach out to those who’ve served their country.

“DraftKings is stretching out its arm to the community, not just here in Las Vegas, but around the country,” he said.

As a long-time Las Vegas resident, Avello wanted to be hands-on in Southern Nevada to promote the program, raise awareness and help attract more companies to participate.

One such company is Goodwill Industries. Veteran Outreach Coordinator Ernest Smith addressed the participants, offering assistance with child care and gas money, through job placement.

The assistance was appreciated by the veterans.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to have a chance to start a new career at this stage in my life.” said Bill Courter, a retired, 27-year veteran of the Air Force. He added that many who come out of the military don’t know what the future holds, nor do they have the money to afford such training.

To date, DraftKings has held eight classes in five cities, training over 150 veterans, with 92 percent of students gaining new employment or advancing in their current companies thanks to their new skills. DraftKings has two more cities currently scheduled to feature the program — Hoboken, N.J. and San Francisco — with intentions of adding many more locations.

“This is real to us,” DK spokesman Randy Crader said. “DraftKings is only six years old and already we are in a situation to give back to the community.”

Avello added: “These skills will allow you to work anywhere, but we would like you to come work with us. Being an oddsmaker, the odds are that this group is going be very successful.”

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