Li is vice president of the VETS Group and Metro Data Networks. The VETS Group specializes in training, certifying and finding employment for military veterans within Metro Data Networks as well as direct job placements to private companies in the Washington area.
What is VETS Group/Metro Data Networks?
Our mission is dictated to serving veterans, in the District and nationwide, though job training, financial literacy training and IT certification training. We also assist veterans through our relationship with the Veterans Affairs and nonprofits, like Vietnam Veterans of America, America Works and National Association for Black Veterans, for additional life skills training, resume and soft skills training and to find jobs.
What kind of jobs?
Mostly [information technology] jobs, and some jobs in the construction industry.
What's been the most challenging part?
Getting our word out. We are still real grassroots. The big challenge is getting more organizations to accept our candidates and obtaining more veterans-hiring partnerships. The more partners we enlist, the more veterans we can assist in finding good careers.
What's been the most rewarding part?
Seeing a real change in people's lives and bringing people a new career opportunity. Giving back to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for all of us.
Can you give me an example?
One man came home from the Army in 2008 and got into IT-government sales in McLean. But he had a bad experience and vowed to walk away from corporate America. When Occupy DC happened, he showed up selling flags. I asked, "What's all this Occupy DC stuff?" and he started talking about his experience in the Army and his federal IT sales background. After about 10 minutes, I thought, "We could hire this guy." Now he's putting veterans to work himself.