From Deployment to Employment -- Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Enlists U.S. Military Veterans for Work-Study Program

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Thirty-nine week program trains vets for placement into skilled Information Technology positions.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (BCBSNJ), one of Victory Media’s 2013 Military-Friendly® employers, is not only looking for a few good military veterans -- the company is training them for workforce deployment.

Through a 39-week work-study program involving Horizon BCBSNJ, Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS) and Rutgers University-Newark, a select class of veterans have been taking software development, business writing and business solutions courses at Rutgers to prepare them for skilled Information Technology positions at Horizon BCBSNJ or elsewhere in the workforce. The veterans, who take 12 required courses at night and intern during the day at Horizon BCBSNJ’s offices in Newark, will complete the program at the end of November.

“Workers with military backgrounds have developed unique leadership skills from their service in the armed forces, which should promote – and never hinder – their re-entry into the workforce,” said Peggy Coons, Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Horizon BCBSNJ. “Horizon recognizes that the same qualities that made them exceptional members of the military can make them exceptional members of the workforce.”

To help recruit the veterans and implement the work-study program, Horizon BCBSNJ contracted with Workforce Opportunity Services. WOS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that Horizon BCBSNJ has previously aligned with to train Newark high school graduates for data entry positions, and to develop consultants to the company’s quality assurance and health care benefits coding departments. The recruitment was opened to Newark-area veterans with high school diplomas who were honorably discharged from the U.S. Military.

“WOS has had phenomenal success in helping military veterans make the difficult transition not only into the private sector, but into the civilian world,” said Dr. Arthur Langer, WOS founder and chairman.

“We are thrilled to work with Horizon in this all-important movement to give back to our brave men and women in uniform—and to help companies benefit from the great values they bring to the workforce,” Langer said.

“Horizon has specialized personnel needs to maintain, enhance and improve our information technology systems, so this training program fits both our technology and military-friendly objectives,” said Douglas E. Blackwell, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Horizon BCBSNJ.

Horizon BCBSNJ entered into the work-study arrangement after identifying strategic company needs for quality assurance, software development and project management for IT systems. Horizon BCBSNJ will fill various full-time positions in the Information Technology Division from the final pool of recruits who successfully complete the 39 week program.

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health services corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving more than 3.6 million members with headquarters in Newark and offices in Wall, Mt. Laurel, and West Trenton. Learn more at

About WOS
Workforce Opportunity Services is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit company that helps companies build strong talent pipelines through unique work-study programs. WOS places talented, aspiring professionals and military Veterans in scholarship programs that teach them actionable corporate skills as well as vital interpersonal/communication skills. WOS students complete a semester of classroom instruction, and then, by their second semester, WOS places them in part-time jobs in companies where they can employ those skills in the real world. Many WOS students graduate to become full-time WOS consultants, while others go on to win full-time employment with outside firms, and still others go on to pursue four-year college degrees.

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