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IBM and the Washington National Guard

Industry leader teaches job skills

Staff Sgt. Aralem Valladaresflores, a member of the Washington Army National Guard, took part in a recent i2 Analyst’s Notebook Training program offered by IBM. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Community partnerships are just as important to the Washington National Guard as they are to the active-duty military.

"There are not as many programs to support transitioning Guardsmen as there are for the active-duty soldiers," explained 1st Sgt. Dana Trakel, of the Washington Army National Guard and coordinator for the Joint Service Support Directorate, or JSS.

Designed to be a one-stop center for all Washington Guard soldiers and their family members, the JSS oversees transition services, state family programs, and a resiliency care team.

One of 13 of the programs offered by JSS is to help these soldiers and family members find employment.

"The JSS is a bridge that helps all Guard soldiers, whether they are transitioning from active-duty to civilian life or traditional Guard soldiers needing help in securing employment," Trakel added.

Since 2015, IBM has partnered with Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) to become one of the major supports to that transitional bridge.

IBM's i2 Analyst's Notebook is software created by IBM that gives analysts the ability to efficiently collate, analyze and visualize data from a number of sources, while reducing the time needed to uncover key information from complex data.

IBM provides instructors who lead classes through five days of instruction culminating in certification.

"This course does lead to employability," stated Air Force veteran and IBM instructor Gary Whitehead.

"CASY helps ‘shop the students' for jobs once they're certified," he added.

The partners in this endeavor recognize the need within the industry, as well as the need to confront the high unemployment rate of post-9/11-era veterans.

Some of the i2 program's highlights to veterans are that there is no charge, 83 percent of industry leaders believe that certification increases marketability, and that within the military community, there are more than 490 military occupational specialties that are compatible with the training provided.

Of note, employers are expected to hire over the next several years about 190,000 data analysts, requiring credentials that the certifications from IBM's instruction sessions provide.

"This training will be of help to me while I am in the Guard and after I leave the Guard," explained Staff Sgt. Aralem Valladaresflores as he worked on his laptop.

The i2 training initiative also partners with some of IBM's clients, such as JP Morgan Chase and Citi, and works to find jobs and assistance for trained and certified graduates of the program.

"Training like this helps not only veterans but also the traditional Guard soldiers," emphasized Trakel.

She added that local business involvement is vital.

"If there are any community partners and you think you can work with us here in the JSS, please let us know."

For more information about the IBM i2 Analyst's Notebook Training, contact Shannon Leacy at or call 253.512.8903.

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