David Lucien comes from a family of veterans, including his father – now 93 – who served in five overseas conflicts during World War II.
“I have always had a soft spot for our veteran and active-duty military,” he says. “We cannot do enough for these brave individuals and owe them our lives, just as they have risked their lives for our freedom.”
Touched by their sacrifice, Mr. Lucien wanted to do something to give back to them.
“I could only focus on what I know, which is building companies, leveraging my relationships, and job creation, and apply those skills to help,” he says.
Today Lucien is co-chairman of U.S. Tech Vets, an online community that links veterans with employment opportunities in the US technology industry. The effort, through an online portal at www.ustechvets.org, links national and regional technology associations with a community of veterans who have relevant skills in the tech industry.
“We want to make it a priority of every technology company to hire, train, and retain military veterans and to make sure every veteran and veteran family member has the opportunity to be employed,” Lucien says.
Lucien – also CEO of DCL Associates, which provides strategic advice to boards and CEOs of tech companies – first proposed the idea of creating a veteran hiring program in the fall of 2012 to his colleagues at the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), of which he is a founder and chairman emeritus. There was interest, Lucien says, but the realization came quickly that a technological component would have to be involved to make the effort last.
Working with a number of firms – including Monster – Lucien helped to launch the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative in August 2013, a move that involved 147 companies and encompassed some 3,000 jobs.
Following that success, Lucien was approached by the leader of the Consumer Electronics Association, who asked about the potential to broaden the platform at the national level.
Monster signed on to expand the physical platform with a launch this January, and Lucien went to work recruiting more associations and encouraging broader participation in what has become U.S. Tech Vets.
“Through the U.S. Tech Vets initiative, we aim to develop and foster a seamless national employment experience focused on the employment and retention of US military veterans by empowering both national and regional technology associations in the development and deployment of hiring initiatives for their member companies,” Lucien says.
Since the platform’s roll-out in January, a number of national technology associations representing more than 15,000 technology companies have signed on and pledged to promote jobs to veterans through US Tech Vets.
The site does more than market jobs to veterans. It also features a “military skills translator,” designed to help veterans translate their military experience into civilian skills, according to the site.
“In addition, the website includes a database of over 800,000 veteran resumes for participating employers to search to find job candidates,” Lucien adds. “To our knowledge, there is no other single collection of veteran resumes in the world. This is a tremendous strategic advantage for employers as they refine their search for quality employees." Presently more than 13,000 jobs are posted.
Despite the success of U.S. Tech Vets, Lucien has more ambitious goals going forward – with an ultimate objective of having a regional initiative in major markets and more than 100,000 jobs posted at any given time. He wants to see the veteran unemployment rate at least down to the national average.
His team is also working to make sure veterans and veteran organizations are aware of what it is doing.
“Veterans should always be ... provided every tool available to make them successful as they enter or reenter the job market,” Lucian says.