State Department Announces VIP Program

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By Debbie Gregory.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new initiative that is intended to help Veterans find employment opportunities in both the private and public sectors.

“The Veterans Innovation Partnership, ‘VIP’ as we are calling it,” Kerry said during a speech at the State Department, “is not about just what the State Department can do for Veterans, it’s really based on the notion that Veterans can do a lot for the State Department and that we would be foolish not to try to reach out and harness the talent that exists.”

The VIP program is intended to provide Veterans with fellowship opportunities at the State Department and other partners. The main focus of the program is to build and utilize strategic partnerships between the U.S. government and U.S. private sector companies to build networks and combine resources, promoting foreign affairs career opportunities for Veterans.

VIP will focus on three elements of engagement, in order to support Veterans’ transition to diplomacy and development careers:

  1. EDUCATION: Assist with educational opportunities to study international relations
  2. FELLOWSHIP: Establish fellowship opportunities at USG foreign affairs agencies
  3. EMPLOYMENT: Facilitate international public and private employment opportunities

Kerry, a Vietnam Veteran, launched the initiative on October 31st. The partnership for the program will include the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the private sector. They will all collaborate to provide educational and employment opportunities for American Veterans, recent master’s degree recipients, who are interested in foreign affairs careers.

Through VIP, Veterans will have the opportunity to be considered for international employment opportunities in the private and public sectors. Some of the public sector partners include the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and iRobot in Bedford, MA. The robot design and manufacturing company was founded in 1990 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists to make practical robots.

“I am absolutely convinced of the enormous talent and capacity that veterans can bring to this department to augment what we try to do on a global basis,” Kerry said, “and do so with a unique credibility, a unique ability to validate both the values and the interest that we are trying to represent.”

Kerry said he wants the State Department, USAID and the other VIP partners to welcome every Veteran who is interested in the program. Kerry said that he wanted Veterans sought out and once again put back into serving their country.