PMI Chicagoland and Black Diamond Charities Provide Veterans Project Management Training to Help with Transitioning Careers

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The PMI Chicagoland Chapter has partnered with Black Diamond Charities (BDC) of Illinois to provide Project Management Training to veterans who have been released from active duty. Black Diamond Charities has an annual fundraising event set for April 17, 2015.

Dawn Bluemke (BDC) presents Kevin Cruz with his course completion certificate

Dawn Bluemke BDC presents Kevin Cruz with his course completion certificate

One of BDC’s missions is to provide skill enhancement training to Armed Forces Veterans, particularly those transitioning from the military

The Chicagoland Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI) has partnered with Black Diamond Charities (BDC) of Illinois to provide Project Management Training to veterans who have been released from active duty. The five week class was taught at the IIT Stuart School of Business and graduated twenty-seven students. Project management is a natural fit for many veterans due to the structured nature of project management and their military careers. This “Veterans Program” is being funded by charitable contributions through BDC. Black Diamond Charities annual fundraising event set for April 17, 2015.

Transitioning to civilian life coupled with finding a job can be challenging. This course provided students with the opportunity to identify some of the project management skills they already have and how those skills may apply to job opportunities they are pursuing. Participants were exposed to the basics of Project Management including building a project team, determining the needs and expectations of stakeholders, project schedules, developing cost estimates and budgets, and managing project risks. Participants were expected to work in project teams of six to eight people and finish by presenting to a management board for funding. The course also counts as the thirty-five hours of classroom instruction required for certification.

The program includes volunteer mentors who provide after class guidance and an avenue of follow-up communications to the students. “One of BDC’s missions is to provide skill enhancement training to Armed Forces Veterans, particularly those transitioning from the military”, says Dawn Bluemke of BDC.

Previous Project Management classes have been provided at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Black Diamond Project Management Instructors Bill Flanagan and John Keane developed this class and teach this course with ten other project managers who volunteer as instructors. To date, about 250 soldiers and airmen have been in attendance for these sessions. Upon completion of the course, certificates were awarded to each student. The plan for the project is to have two to three training courses in 2015 with a goal of training 100 veterans by the end of the year. The current training rate is on target with ten students trained in October and twenty-seven enrollees in the current class. The first round of classes provided in the greater Chicagoland area was completed in October 2014 and graduated ten veterans, five of whom have already found jobs in the civilian sector.

When asked what the students took away from the class in addition to project management they noted teamwork within the class and on the part of the instructors, clarity of how the skills from their military experience translated into project management and motivation for continued education.

Chad King, one of the recent graduates, said ”I really appreciated the program that you have put together. The speakers and mentors were world class and the content top notch. I really enjoyed the format that, in spite of our busy schedules, made the course methods and concepts accessible and interesting.”

In addition to this class, one class was taught in October and another is expected to take place in the fall of 2015.

Kevin Cruz, one of the initial graduates said “I was approached by a former classmate regarding the project management program. I had little knowledge of project management prior to the class and I did not know what to expect other than the course was designed for veterans and I was hoping it could help me professionally. I learned how much some of the things I did in the military were related to project management.”

“Not only did I learn about project management but I was able to network with key people. Also, the program offers mentorships. More opportunities opened up to me as a result of taking the class and I had multiple job offers at the same time. I recommended the class to some of my co-workers who are enrolled in the February class.”

Outgoing Project Manager Jim Farland found that although the goal was to teach Project Management, he learned so much from the veterans during the process, which made volunteering for the project worthwhile.

Black Diamond Charities will hold its 5th annual fundraiser on April 17, 2015 at Noah’s Event Venue in Lincolnshire, IL. Ticket information can be found at the BDC website.

For additional information on the veterans program or to make a donation to keep the program going, please visit the Black Diamond Charities website http://www.blackdiamondcharities.org. The PMI Chicagoland Chapter website can be found at http://pmi-chicagoland.org.

To register for the fall class, please contact Dawn Bluemke of BDC to confirm veteran status and class availability. Reservations are required to attend and no walk-ins are permitted.

Contact Information: Dawn Bluemke
Telephone: 630-772-1794
Email Address: dawnbluemke(at)blackdiamondcharities(dot)org

BDC: #Veterans #Military #Career #Vets #HonoringVets #ThankAVet #ThankYouVeterans #BlackDiamondCharities

PMI Chicagoland: PMI, PMI-Chicagoland, PMP, Networking, Training, project management, project management training, PM, Chicago, professional development, PMI Region 2, project management institute, CAPM, risk management, PMP boot camp, PMP prep training, CAPM prep training, jobs, careers, PDU

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