Veterans are among our country’s bravest and strongest citizens—their sacrifice through service protects the freedoms Americans enjoy every day. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we are proud to offer veterans challenging and fulfilling careers. And one area veterans shine is in our Information Technology department where they can play a large role in the high-quality service we provide to our members.
Jason Gaiser, an Application Developer with Blue Cross IT, served four years active duty and four years in the National Guard at Ferris State University. Prior to his service, Information Technology was a path that he was interested in pursuing. “I have always been intrigued by Information Technology and development, even in high school,” Gaiser says. So during high school, he took additional IT-related classes outside of his normal schooling to grow his technical skills.
The IT/Military Connection
After completing high school, Gaiser started his military career, serving in bases stationed in Georgia, California, Korea and Panama. After returning home, he got back into Information Technology, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and a Masters of Science in Information Technology Management.
During his service, Jason developed and strengthened skills that easily translated into his IT career. “The communication skills I was able to build while working with team members and leadership during my service is key to my current career,” he says. “In addition, there were obstacles we faced on a daily basis that enhanced my problem-solving skills. That has impacted the way I approach problem solving now.”
As a squad leader, Jason developed amazing leadership abilities and confidence under pressure. These days he uses those skills at Blue Cross. “Knowing and feeling the pressure of the timing of our projects, but still understanding the tasks and steps needed to complete them, helps me lead my team in achieving our goals,” he says.
Supplying the Right Support Systems
As veterans transition out of service, they need support systems to help them acclimate into a new career path with a sense of direction and guidance. That’s why Blue Cross has a newly formed Veterans Employee Resource Network. This group, which Gaiser serves as chair of, helps new veteran hires build relationships with other Blue Cross employees. “Our mission is to educate the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan workforce on what it is to be a vet through outreach and education,” says Gaiser.
The Veterans Employee Resource Network is already making great strides in the Blue Cross community. It’s grown from eight vets and civilian members to 150 in a little over a year. It’s also organized the donation of 55 laptops to the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund, held a “Lunch N’ Learn” to educate employees about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sponsored a “Table of Honor” during the week of Memorial Day, emphasizing the importance of honoring vets on Memorial Day.
If you’re a Michigan veteran seeking employment or other services, visit Michigan.gov/veterans. Interested in learning more about how our commitment to veterans in the workplace and how they are making an impact? Visit these blogs: