By Griffin Croft | Posted - Mar 11th, 2024





The Rosie Project Expands to the UK

By Griffin Croft

Military spouses face one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States at about 21%, while the national average is only 3.7%. The Rosie Project seeks to lower the boundaries blocking military spouses from employment. One reason for the high unemployment rate is that companies do not want to hire an employee with the potential of PCSing (Permanent Change of Station) to different states or countries. Companies “don’t want to take a chance on training up and invest in somebody to just have them leave,” said Rosie Project CEO and Co-Founder Aniza Brown. 

“In the Department of Defense, we advocate for resilience, but there's a pressing need to enhance support for our military spouses stationed overseas, in turn enabling our warfighters to focus on the mission at hand.” War is looming on the horizon and everything must be done to support our military families. “This generation’s Rosie the Riveters are military spouses—both male and female—who are ready to pioneer and mold the future of aerospace and defense. Military spouses are the backbone of supporting our war fighters. The Rosie Project is dedicated to removing barriers of entry for military spouses as the need for Information Technology and Cyber Security specialists grows. Brown saw this need and took action by founding the Rosie Project in January 2023.

The Rosie Project is a six-month Information Technology program for military spouses in collaboration with Weber State University and Hill Air Force Base. The State of Utah funds the daycare and educational component for the program. Generous donations from America First Credit Union and OM Group have enabled the expansion of the students accepted into the program and additional courses that have been pivotal to the success of our military spouses. The Rosie Project empowers military spouses to harness their potential through an Information Technology career that allows them to advance alongside their spouse. The participants attend courses that are specific to the needs of the Department of Defense. These courses prepare them to pass IT Certifications and transition to a full-time position at a military base. Weber State University provides the Rosie Project’s IT courses, and the 309th Software Engineering Group at Hill Air Force Base enhances the skills of the participants through mentorship and hands-on experience. The entire course prepares military spouses for an entry-level Information Technology Specialist position without requiring any prior work experience.

There is a nationwide shortage of IT personnel, especially in the Aerospace and Defense Industry. The Rosie Project allows military spouses to receive IT certifications that will fill mission critical IT positions across the Department of Defense and Industry. The program participants can deploy alongside their spouse and create value using the skills they learn from their IT certification.

The Rosie Project assists military spouses in receiving their IT certification by providing free courses, educational materials, and childcare. The program also fosters a community of friends, mentors, and colleagues to prevent the isolation that can occur during deployment. To join a cohort, military spouses only need to have a high school diploma or an equivalent level of education. The Rosie Project doesn’t require any previous experience or prior technology expertise. 

The project is based in Ogden near Hill Air Force Base. Multiple businesses have relocated nearby to benefit from Brown’s accelerator program, which enables businesses to work hand-and-hand with the government on mission critical problem statements and better understand government contracts. “We get small businesses to interface with the Department of Defense. You have to identify issues early and lower the barrier of entry,” said Brown. “It’s removing this erroneous barrier that everyone seems to run into and enables them to talk to the customer for three months and ensure that they have a path forward.” Through the accelerator program, Brown found that the community would come together to help military spouses build careers in tech. The local community supports and encourages new opportunities for military spouses through their mentorship, tutoring, donations, and support.

“We can really change the narrative of the Department of Defense by building an ecosystem that embraces educational partnerships, small businesses and our local community,” said Brown.

The Rosie Project is building ties with the community using the certifications that the military spouses are earning. They are giving back to the community that helped them grow. Brown added, “that was a huge barrier at Hill Air Force Base. We tend to keep the mystery behind the fence, but we were not really good at being a community partner. I had the honor of working with Generals who wanted to change that mindset, and what enabled me to move 100 software developers to work off base into the community, and host events to bring our airmen to talk about issues they were seeing, and drove me to build an ecosystem of inclusion and opportunity to engage in the Department of Defense. Overall, we need small businesses, non-traditional companies and academia to help the Department of Defense build and deploy capabilities faster than our adversaries.” As the ecosystem grows, it will build economic resilience into our local communities. 

In addition to Hill Air Force Base, the Rosie Project also operates in-person at the Wright Patterson (Dayton, Ohio), Tinker (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), and Robins Air Force (Robins, Georgia) Bases. This year the program is expanding internationally to two Royal Air Force bases in England, both in Suffolk, supporting United States Air Force activities–RAF Lakenheath AFB and RAF Mildenhall AFB–to empower more military spouses and equip them with technology skills to advance their careers. 

“As The Rosie Project goes #OCONUS are excited to build a sense of community for our military spouses and enable them to build a career alongside our veterans and active duty men/ women,” said Brown.

Griffin Croft
About the Author

Griffin Croft - Griffin Croft is a freshman at Brigham Young University. He is from San Clemente, California. With plans to study finance, he hopes one day to work in private equity. Croft is a TechBuzz Intern.



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