One year ago, Amazon announced a commitment to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021, and train 10,000 more in cloud computing. I am one of those 25,000 hires, and have been able to continue my career of service– building programs to recruit even more veterans and military spouses to Amazon.
Before entering the corporate world, I served for nearly six years in the U.S. Army and worked for two years at the U.S. Department of Defense. In June 2005, I was leading my platoon on a route clearing mission in Iraq, south of Kirkuk when two IEDs exploded. A fellow soldier lost both legs in the attack, and I had a leg amputated a year later from the shrapnel wounds. In the years since, I've focused my career on making a difference in the veteran community.
Since joining Amazon in September, my charge has been to create hiring initiatives for the wounded, injured, and ill military service men and women. This is the job I always wanted. And during my time on the team, I've been empowered to use my personal experience to build programs I believe will be successful for this community. That is the power of working at Amazon – if you have a good idea, you can build it.
Just this month, I was once again amazed at the power of our military communities at the Department of Defense Warrior Games. Seeing wounded veterans competing in swimming, cycling, and various other events reminded me why veterans and military spouses excel at Amazon – they are mission-focused, comfortable with ambiguity and are able to get things done.
I'm building the Adapt at Amazon program where I pair wounded warriors with roles at Amazon that fit their skill sets – whether that be as a developer on our Alexa team, a customer service agent, or data service technician for an Amazon Web Services data center. This is a pilot program, and is in line with how Amazon approaches new opportunities – employees are encouraged to take risks and build innovative programs. I'm excited by the new pipelines of military talent we're creating, and for the on-going opportunity to create access points for fellow military talent.