High unemployment among veterans is exactly what Duncan L. Niederauer, CEO of the NYSE Euronext, wants to end.
Last year, Niederauer launched the NYSE Veteran Associate Program, a 10-week paid internship program that offers veterans hands-on experience and training alongside a NYSE staff. In its sophomore year, the program has 29 vet interns from the ages of 23 to their mid-50s.
The program addresses a serious problem. Military personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan had an unemployment rate of 10.9% in August 2012, whereas the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. at the time was 7.9%, according to the BLS.
“The Stock Exchange is one of the most intimidating places. It’s one thing to be on the battlefield. It’s another thing to be in a place with the brightest people.”
Niederauer doesn’t think he can solve high unemployment by hiring every veteran who comes through the program. He’s hoping the NYSE can serve as an example to the thousands of companies listed under the public institution.
“Other companies can do similar programs,” Niederauer said in a press release about the program. “They can start hiring and understanding a veterans’ background has great transferable skills.”
For the first two weeks of the internship, the veterans are in classrooms listening to economists and influencers lecture. Then, for the remainder of their internship, participants are assigned to specific roles where they work side by side with the NYSE staff.
“The aim is to give them exposure and visibility,” Ed Hutner, senior vice president of human resources at the NYSE, told Business Insider. “They get a really good overall idea of how the Exchange operates and this will hopefully give them a platform.”
Hutner said the chaotic environment that comes with working at the Stock Exchange makes sense for former military personnel as they’re typically accustomed to multitasking.
“We’re not asking these vets to come in here to know everything about a certain job. They have leadership and motivation. We can train you on the technical skills.”
Business Insider was invited to spend time on the trading floor with a few veteran interns. Here’s what they had to say:
Former Marine David Chambers wants to become a corporate attorney.
After two tours in Afghanistan, Chambers was discharged from the Marines in July 2012 where he served as an intelligence collector.
Chambers speaks fluent Afghan Pashto and his job while in uniform was to intercept and translate enemy communications.
By the end of his service, Chambers was fully aware of unemployment statistics for men like him.
He decided to enroll in school for international affairs at Columbia University. It was through a Veterans Association at the university that Chambers found out about the NYSE’s program.
Currently, Chambers is working in the Stock Exchange’s compliance unit where he monitors market, systems, and corporate compliance policies. In short, his job requires surveillance of the market and investigating any glitches.
“It’s an incredible stepping stone,” Chambers said. “If you’re interested in learning about a different division, you can reach out and help them out.”
Chambers plans on attending law school to become a corporate attorney with a focus on security regulations.
Danielle Miklos would “like to help regulate the securities industry.”
For seven years, Miklos was a motor mechanic in the U.S. Army. After that, she was an attorney for the next four years. Then, she learned about the internship program with the NYSE and dropped everything.
“The Stock Exchange is one of the most intimidating places,” Miklos said. “It’s one thing to be on the battlefield. It’s another thing to be in a place with the brightest people.”
The former service woman currently interns in Global Risk Services at NYSE and told Business Insider that there are several skills that you learn in the military that’s transferable to the corporate world.
“We pay attention. We dress appropriately. We’re on time. We’re trained to think about the bigger picture.”
Arash Asady wants to work at an internationally-focused hedge fund that specialises in M&A transactions, debt restructuring opportunities, and credit markets.
Asady joined the Marines right out of high school and stayed in for the next five years working with signal intelligence.
When he re-entered civilian life, Asady finished his undergraduate degree and worked in private equity in Silicon Valley. He recently moved to New York City for a master’s program at Columbia University.
“It’s been an amazing program so far. You get to network and mentor with so many bright people.”
Asady currently works on the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange and wants to eventually work with a hedge fund.
Lisa L. Dzintars-Pahwul, managing director of human resources at the NYSE, told us that the program has been successful since the beginning. Half of the first-year candidates went on to jobs in government and finance whereas the other half returned to school to finish their degrees.
“We treat recruiting interns like we do full-time candidates,” Dzintars-Pahwul said. “Everything that vets bring, from responsibility to loyalty, makes them successful candidates.”
“We encourage the thousands of listed companies to follow our example in creating programs for veterans.”
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