Meet our latest Social Impact Partner, Sentinels of Freedom

On Veteran’s Day, Udemy is humbled to announce the Sentinels of Freedom (SoF) as our latest Social Impact Partner to help severely wounded post-9/11 veterans (referred to as Sentinels) identify and achieve the skills they need to build long-lasting and successful careers in their chosen discipline.

The SoF program is designed to meet each veteran’s individual needs, assisting them to complete their higher-education, offering ongoing mentorship, life skills coaching, career development, networking, financial assistance / planning, and much more.

To celebrate, we connected with the CEO and Chairman of SoF, Mike Conklin, to learn more about the partnership and to help raise awareness of the program so that other veterans are aware of the services and resources that are available to them.

For those unaware of your work, can you shed any light on the veterans that participate in your program and for how long your organization offers assistance?

Our mission is to assist severely wounded, post-9/11 veterans in their efforts to become productive and self-sufficient members of their communities as they transition back into civilian life.

A majority of the Sentinels are accepted to the SoF program directly or shortly after separating from the US military and are seeking meaningful employment within the U.S. workforce. On occasion we also support those who have been out of the military for a number of years, but have decided to make a career change and require further education to be successful.

Sentinels may be in the program from 1 – 4 years and throughout that time are assigned a case-manager who will complete biannual reviews with Sentinels to connect them with the appropriate resources while providing guidance and encouragement along the way.

How will Udemy Business be able to support SoF and its sentinels in their efforts to re-enter the U.S. workforce?

One of the main challenges that SoF has encountered as we assist veterans to enter/re-enter the U.S. workforce is that Sentinels have a lack of experience in their chosen field. Though they may have the education, they may be missing the hands-on experience with specific platforms that would put them above other applicants.

Partnering with Udemy Business will allow SoF to help our Sentinels bridge the skill gaps that they may have and are not fulfilling through their formal education. A number of our Sentinels pursue careers in Finance, IT, Business, Project Management, or Sales and are required to hold specific certifications that must be obtained outside of their formal education.

Udemy Business will be that platform and resource allowing them to be competitive in the job market while adding to their skill set that they bring to their desired company or organization.

What do you envision will be Sentinels most popular tools that the Udemy Business partnership offers? 

The instructor-led courses and opportunities to earn certifications for specific skills will be the most popular tool. We also believe that through the learning paths that can be created on Udemy Business, SoF can continue to offer individualized opportunities for Sentinels to increase their skills in specific areas directly related to their goals and aspirations.

How many veterans have you been able to assist find work after the program?

To date, we have assisted over 600 veterans who participated in our Bridge for Education program complete their higher education goals with 84% reporting that they secured employment within 6 months of their graduation.

As today is only the beginning of our partnership, how do you see Udemy being able to further support SoF and its Sentinels in the future?

With the vast array of educational programs and courses offered by Udemy, our Sentinels will be able to take advantage in upgrading and adding new skill set capabilities to their knowledge base. They will be able to identify areas that specific employers may be looking for and specifically increase their knowledge in that field to be a better and more equipped candidate for the specific job.

Overall this will be an added resource to highlight the education they are already completing and allow them to stand-out as a job seeker and in turn, build that secure and long-lasting career that they deserve.