reduce-veteran-suicide

America demands change in veteran suicide legislation

Code Platoon is honored to work with the dedicated men and women of the military.  We believe that the well-being of those who do and have served should take utmost priority and we are grateful to see clouds of change.  In honor of our veterans in need and Mental Health Awareness Month, this post is dedicated to informing on that change which has been demanded by the people of our nation.

 

In the last 18 months, 24 tragic deaths at VA Medical Centers across the country have called attention the urgent need to strengthen support services available to veterans. While leaving an enduring  mark, the growing outcry for help is sowing seeds for new policy, research and access to mental health programs to better ensure that no veteran is ever left behind.

Executive order signed to help end veteran suicide

The National Initiative to Empower Veterans and End Veteran Suicide was signed by the President in March to focus on improving the quality of life for American veterans, with a focus on suicide prevention.

 

Co-chaired by the Department of Veteran Affairs, the executive order mandates the development of the Veteran Wellness, Empowerment and Suicide Task Force. Within 365 days of the executive order the task force will need to develop a roadmap to lower the veteran suicide rate, present to Congress a program to offer grants to local communities to help deliver services to veterans and develop a strategy that can help gauge research in the area of veteran suicide prevention.

 

“As the largest integrated health care provider in the nation and a leader in developing innovative mental health and suicide prevention strategies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is uniquely positioned to co-chair this effort with the White House,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Veterans suicide is a national public health issue that affects communities everywhere, and this executive order is a national call to action.”

New bill would force VA to report on campus suicides

Introduced by Rep. Max Rose, D-NY, an Army veteran, HR 2334 would require the VA to report on campus suicides and attempted suicides to Congress no later than seven days after the event.

 

Better known as the Fight Veteran Suicide bill, HR 2334 will require the reporting of additional veteran information to Congress. This information includes but is not limited to: the veteran’s status at the VA, the last encounter with the veteran’s current medical center, whether the veteran had private medical insurance, their age, housing and employment status. Rose believes by providing this additional information Congress will better understand veteran suicide and help provide a solution.

 

“It’s imperative that we receive not only basic information from the VA, but substantive data on this rising trend of veterans committing suicide at VA facilities,” said Rose, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Getting this data more quickly and thoroughly would guide Congress’ efforts in understanding this crisis, and preventing these tragedies. We must ensure all veterans have the services they need when they need them, plain and simple.”

 

Congress has found that the VA is not always forthcoming with information regarding to the tragedies happening on VA Medical Center campuses. Rose and the House of Veteran Affairs Committee hope the mandated information will help Congress understand what is happening to veterans across the nation and create better suicide prevention.

Senate legislation to increase access to veteran mental health care

Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). S- 785 is an aggressive bill designed to give veterans access to the mental health care facilities and treatment they need. The bill hopes to increase the VA workforce, give veterans access to alternative solutions, and increase mental health care for rural/hard to reach veterans.

S-785 will improve VA outreach in five different ways.

  1. Aid the VA workforce and give direct hiring authority for mental health providers. It will also place a Suicide Prevention Coordinator at every VA Medical Center.
  2. Improve access to mental health care for veterans living in rural areas. Create more telehealth sites for veterans to access and give grants to non-VA organizations that provide mental health services to veterans.
  3. Automatically enrolls transitioning military personnel into VA mental health care for one year after service.
  4. Study, invest and innovate in alternative treatments like support animals, outdoor events, yoga, acupuncture, and meditation; give greater access to these types of treatments to veterans.
  5. Hold the VA accountable for its suicide prevention efforts, management of Va resources and information sharing with veterans seeking mental health care with both the VA and outside providers.

The bill aims to improve accountability of the VA regarding veterans suicide and suicide prevention measures. According to a report by Stars and Stripes, The Government Accountability Office found that the VA was only spending 1 percent of their budget on suicide prevention in fiscal year 2018. By September, the last month of the fiscal year, the VA only spent $57,000 of its committed $6.2 million.

Bipartisan legislation helping end veteran suicide crisis

Across the country, approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Inexplicably, it has taken a spike in recent adverse events to spur the country’s leadership. Veterans everywhere need the help and support of family, friends and community to get through these invisible wounds they carry around daily. Having new programs emerge because of these events provides hope for the plight of many veterans in our nation.

 

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

Big tech firms are going all-in on green

Earth Day is a national holiday that was inaugurated in 1969 at a UNESCO conference held in San Francisco. Every year since, earthlings worldwide have dedicated April 22 as a day for environmental renewal, through local initiatives like planting trees and cleaning parks. While that intention has not changed over the past 50 years, the technology that is relied upon to get the job done has — dramatically. Let’s look at a few examples of how tech is keeping Mother Earth greener today.

Apple increases iPhone recycling in an effort to lower carbon emissions

Apple’s dream is to produce consumer products from 100% recycled materials. With this lofty goal in mind, attention is being drawn to Apple with the opening of a new e-recycling plant in Austin, TX.

In an Apple press release, the company boasts of their environmental plan to create all new products from recycled materials. The first step in that plan was revealed last year with the release of Daisy. The 33-foot robot has five arms with the sole purpose of dissecting 15 different kinds of iPhones. Everything from the 2012 iPhone 5 to the 2018 iPhone XS can be disassembled after a consumer gives the phone back to an Apple Store or a Best Buy as part of the Apple Trade-In program.

Their newest announcement by Apple was the 9,000 sq. ft. e-recycling facility in Austin, TX. Dubbed the Material Recovery Lab, the facility is built entirely around a Daisy. This facility is where academia and scientists are welcome to help Apple redesign the way we recycle electronics.

To date, Apple has received 1 million products through its network of trade in programs. Each Daisy is capable of disposing of approximately 200 iPhones an hour; that’s 1.2 million phones a year. In 2018, Apple refurbished 7.8 million devices, saving close to 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from the dumps.

Because of this significant change in the way Apple does business, they have been able to lower the carbon footprint of several products still in production. The latest Macbook Air and Macbook Mini have half the footprint of their predecessors. This result comes from innovation and engineering of 100% recycled aluminum alloy. This alloy is recycled with the help of Daisy, and used in the manufacturing of the latest Macbook models.

It is because of these triumphs, that the Materials Recovery lab has been born. Apple hopes to continue to expand their electronic recovery procedures into the future resulting in a 100% recycled new product.

Microsoft empowers environmental scientists with AI for Earth

AI for Earth is Microsoft’s way of giving back to the environment. The grant program is designed to give computing resources to environmental scientists and organizations working on earth friendly programs.

Scientists and organizations are offered two main grant categories: Data Labeling Services and Azure Compute Credits. In addition, the applicants can specialize in four environmental sub-categories: agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, and water.

Data Labeling Services allow organizations to create key data sets in one of the four environmental sub-categories. All data sets that are labeled through the grant program are hosted on Azure and made publicly available to other organizations and individuals for training models.

Azure Compute Credits are available if you have access to a labeled dataset and are ready to start computing in the cloud and accessing Azure AI tools. The participant will get a denomination of Azure compute credits to be used for the cataloging and computing data in Azure software.

Examples of projects funded by Microsoft’s AI for Earth include using artificial intelligence for forest mapping, fighting extinction, increasing crop production, using insects and drones to track emerging diseases and even to help fight poaching. When human ingenuity and technology converge, great things are bound to happen.

Technology can save the world

With advances in technology and AI, humans can do what was once unimaginable. The research being accomplished by both, Microsoft and Apple, is a testament to human ingenuity. For veterans, an opportunity to contribute represents the next frontier in the battle against humanity’s existential threats. We look forward to seeing the new and wonderful things that can be produced by these organizations and the people who are empowered by them.

Code Platoon Awarded Boeing Grant to Support Veterans and Milspouses

Code Platoon Awarded Boeing Grant to Support Veterans and Their Families

CHICAGO, November 19, 2018 – Code Platoon, a Chicago-based nonprofit that transforms veterans and military spouses into professional software developers through an immersive, educational bootcamp, mentorship, and internship program, announced today that it has received a grant for $50,000 USD from The Boeing Company. Because of this generous investment, Code Platoon will expand its program to serve more veterans and military spouses.

“We are honored to receive this grant from Boeing,” said Rod Levy, Executive Director of Code Platoon. “This grant is recognition of the learning and hard work of our students and their success in the market after leaving our program. This generous donation will allow us to move forward in our mission to help veterans and military spouses develop the skills necessary to compete and excel in the fast-growing tech industry. With this funding, we will be able to grow our program and offer more Chicago based veterans the opportunity to become software developers.”

The Boeing Company has committed more than $55 million in grants to more than 500 nonprofit organizations across the globe in 2019. Specifically, The Boeing Company is concentrating efforts around their pillar of investment, Our Heroes: Veterans and Their Families, providing nearly $8 million in veteran grant investments, representing a year-over-year increase of 50 percent from 2018 to 2019. The investment in Code Platoon builds on Boeing’s commitment to support military veterans and their families transitioning into the civilian workforce.

Boeing’s annual contributions include a three-year commitment of more than $25 million in support of veterans’ recovery and rehabilitation programs and transition services. Their charitable grants package will fund programs through 2019 and supplement an anticipated $117 million in company-wide business and employee contributions to similar causes—bringing Boeing’s total community investments to approximately $167 million this year alone. A full list of 2019 contributions made by Boeing can be found in their official press release.

“We aspire to be a top performer in every area of our business, and that includes leading in the communities where our employees and their families live and work,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and chief executive officer. “By harnessing our teammates’ unique skills and passion for giving, our professional networks and partnerships, and our financial resources, we will inspire the dreamers and doers of tomorrow and drive positive, lasting change in our communities across the globe.”

About Code Platoon

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Code Platoon provides software coding training for veterans and military spouses interested in pursuing meaningful careers as professional software developers. While some participants hold traditional degrees, the only requirements for enrollment are a deep desire to become a professional software developer, a positive work ethic, and a tremendous amount of tenacity. Each veteran and military spouse is eligible to apply for a scholarship that covers approximately 80% of their tuition, and additional scholarships are available for groups traditionally underrepresented in technology fields, including women. The program consists of 8-15 students per class who spend 70 hours a week learning together for 14 weeks, frequently culminating in a local, paid internship. For more information on Code Platoon please visit codeplatoon.org.

About The Boeing Company

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries.

 

Contact:

Rod Levy, Executive Director

Code Platoon

(312) 767-7673

rod@codeplatoon.org

 

Code Platoon Receives Amica Companies Foundation Grant

Code Platoon Receives Amica Companies Foundation Grant

Chicago, Illinois – October 26, 2018 – Code Platoon, a nonprofit working to transform Chicagoland veterans and military spouses into professional software developers through an immersive, educational boot camp and mentorship program, today announced it has received a grant for $20,000 USD from the Amica Companies Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Amica Insurance.

Through this grant, Code Platoon will use these mission critical funds to thoughtfully and meaningfully grow their program to include more students and more support services. The Amica Companies Foundation awards grants each year to organizations, such as Code Platoon, which support and advance individuals to become economically independent and strong.

“Veterans and military spouses step forward to serve our country, and they deserve our help. The impact of this generous grant from the Amica Companies Foundation will help us create more opportunities for our students to learn and grow as software developers,” said Rodrigo Levy, founder and executive director of Code Platoon.

“Amica recently hosted a business conference in Chicago, and it’s important for us to support the communities where we live and work,” said Meredith Gregory, charitable giving coordinator at Amica. “Amica is proud to support military programs, and Code Platoon’s mission strongly aligns with ours to help people become economically independent and strong.”

  • For additional information on Amica, please visit: Amica.com.
  • For more information on Code Platoon, please visit Codeplatoon.org.

About Code Platoon

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Code Platoon provides software coding training to help local veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers as professional software developers. While some veterans and military spouses do have four year degrees, the only requirements of enrollment are a deep desire to become a professional software developer, a positive work ethic, and a tremendous amount of tenacity. Each student is eligible to receive a scholarship that covers about 80% of their tuition making this career path affordable and attainable. Code Platoon also offers extra scholarships to women veterans who join the boot camp as they are historically underrepresented in technology based careers. Students can also use their GI Bill benefits to complete our program. The program consists of 8-12 students per class who spend 60-80 hours a week together for 14 weeks. Students are taught the Python and Ruby on Rails technology stacks, which are increasingly popular in the software development field. Instruction is a carefully curated mix of lectures, advanced coding training, and team projects, frequently culminating in a local paid internship.

About Amica Insurance

Amica Mutual Insurance Co., the nation’s oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, based in Lincoln, Rhode Island, is a national writer of auto, home, marine and umbrella insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,700 people in 44 offices across the country. For more information, visit Amica.com.

Milspouse Coder Scholarship

Milspouse Coder Scholarship Recipients, October 2018

We recently announced that we are providing two scholarships to our coding boot camp for military and veteran spouses. We’re able to do this in partnership with Milspouse Coders, angelhack, and Operation Code, who put on a hackathon event to raise interest in software development among military spouses.

Now that our scholarship recipients have been selected, we would like to congratulate them and share their stories!

Soris Cox: Milspouse Remote Scholarship recipient

From her application:

“The opportunity to attend remotely through the 14-week intensive boot camp is just what I need to refresh my skills, build my confidence and create a portable career for myself as a developer. As a military spouse, I set aside my career ambitions for the past eight years to move across the world multiple times, care for my family, and home educate my my child. Now that we are at a new duty station and are settling in, I have time I can devote to learning and growing as a programmer to become employable once again in this ever-changing industry. This scholarship opportunity could not have come at a better time! I know that I have the potential to be a successful developer, but I need assistance in bringing my skills up-to-date and in marketing myself to potential employers.”

Caroline Cessaro: Milspouse In-person Scholarship recipient

From her application:

“My husband, Michael Cessaro, took part in the Bravo Platoon in January 2017, I accompanied him to Chicago and witnessed the vast amount of knowledge he gained in a remarkably short space of time. We have since moved to Chicago and I recently heard Code Platoon is now accepting military spouses as part of their training program. Originally, last year, we did actually ask if I could also take part in Bravo Platoon with my husband, so I am thrilled to hear this is now the case! Coding has always been of interest to me – I find it akin to solving a puzzle and love the challenge. I took great enjoyment picking up languages last year when Michael was taking part in the program. I know it to be a rapidly expanding job market, where women are especially sought after, and this is a future career I am excited to pursue.”

Code Platoon offers many scholarships to accommodate students, and most students pay very little out of pocket to attend our coding boot camp. To find out your eligibility for these scholarships, apply now, or read more on our scholarships page.

Code Platoon receives Newman’s Own Award

Code Platoon receives Newman’s Own Award

Chicago, Illinois – October 5, 2018 – Code Platoon, a nonprofit working to transform Chicagoland veterans and military spouses into professional software developers through an immersive, educational bootcamp, and mentorship program today announced it has received a Newman’s Own Award and grant for $37,500 USD. This award is given through a partnership with Fisher House Foundation, Military Times, and Newman’s Own Foundation.

Presented in the Hall of Heroes at The Pentagon, the Newman’s Own Award seeks to recognize non-profit organizations for their innovative programs that improve military and veterans quality of life. Just under 300 entries were submitted for the 2018 program. This prestigious award was presented by General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jeffrey Smith, Vice President of Operations of Newman’s Own, Inc.; Dave Coker, President of Fisher House Foundation; and Andrew Tilghman, Executive Editor of Military Times.

“Code Platoon is honored to be recognized as a leader in helping our nation’s veterans and military families. This award is an incredible acknowledgement of our commitment to our nation’s greatest national treasure. Our team is inspired to grow our program to serve more veterans and military spouses, providing access to career opportunities in software development.” said Rodrigo Levy, founder and executive director of Code Platoon.

“We are grateful to the men and women of our military, veterans, and their families for their commitment to protecting the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as Americans,” said Bob Forrester, Co-Chairman of Newman’s Own, Inc. and President and CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation. “We’re proud to have participated for the past 19 years with the Military Times and Fisher House Foundation in recognizing so many outstanding organizations focused on helping our veterans and their families, and we’re especially proud to support this year’s award recipients.”

About the Newman’s Own Foundation

As a long-time supporter of military non-profits, Newman’s Own carries on the legacy of Paul Newman, founder of Newman’s Own, who wanted to help make a difference in the lives of others. Paul, a Navy veteran, served in the Pacific during World War II. Over the years, Newman’s Own Awards has provided funding for organizations across the country, which have addressed veterans’ issues such as mental and physical health, housing, education, career development, entrepreneurship, family support.

About Code Platoon

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Code Platoon provides software coding training to help local veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers as professional software developers. While some veterans and military spouses do have four year degrees, the only requirements of enrollment are a deep desire to become a professional software developer, a positive work ethic, and a tremendous amount of tenacity. Each student is eligible to receive a scholarship that covers about 80% of their tuition making this career path affordable and attainable. Code Platoon also offers extra scholarships to women veterans who join the bootcamp as they are historically underrepresented in technology based careers. Students can also use their GI Bill benefits to complete our program. The program consists of 8-12 students per class who spend 60-80 hours a week together for 14 weeks. Students are taught the Python and Ruby on Rails technology stacks, which are increasingly popular in the software development field. Instruction is a carefully curated mix of lectures, advanced coding training, and team projects, frequently culminating in a local paid internship.

Top 100 Finalists for the Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

Code Platoon is Named One of the Top 100 Finalists for the 17th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

Chicago, IL— Out of 519 nominees, Code Platoon has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 17th annual Chicago Innovation Awards.  The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries.  1500 business and civic leaders will come together to honor the winners when they are announced on October 29th at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

Code Platoon is the only software coding bootcamp in the Chicagoland area that exclusively focuses on teaching veterans and military spouses these skills. Most coding bootcamps cost between $12,000 and $20,000, creating a barrier of entry. At Code Platoon, each student is eligible to apply for a scholarship that covers $10,500 of their $13,000 tuition, making this career path affordable and attainable. We also offer extra scholarships to women veterans who join the program as they are historically underrepresented in technology based careers. By design, Code Platoon is serving those who have served their country by providing affordable professional software development skills.

Our approach is innovative in that we have identified a path to full-time employment for veterans, utilizing skills they have already honed while they served our country. Many veterans struggle with translating employment skills learned during their years of service to a civilian career. Through our own research and deep understanding of the software development field, we will serve as a role model for organizations who provide underemployed veterans with quality employment. In 2019, we are expanding our mission to include military spouses in our program. Based on our deep knowledge of the veteran landscape, we know that it is important to serve the whole military family. As with veterans, military spouses struggle to find careers because of the demands of living the military lifestyle. At Code Platoon, we are looking forward to helping military spouses become software development professionals as well.  

“Chicago continues to rise as a global hub of innovation due to the breadth of organizations in our region that introduce a stream of new products and services into the market each year,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards.  “This year’s nominees generated a combined total of $3.44 billion in revenues through their new products and services alone.”

As one of the Top 100 Finalists, Code Platoon will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend The Practical Innovator, a day-long executive education course on September 26th led by top faculty who teach innovation at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Each of the Top 100 Finalists is also in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at https://chicagoinnovation.com/peoples-choice-award-voting/

Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as 10 winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards representing innovation in the start-up community, the Social Innovator Award, the Collaboration Award, and 3 Neighborhood Award winners, which will showcase innovation occurring in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.  The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and Cook Count President Toni Preckwinkle, and receive widespread media recognition.

Contact:

Rodrigo Levy, Code Platoon

rod@codeplatoon.org

312-767-7673


Luke TanenChicago Innovation

Luke@chicagoinnovationawards.com

312-988-1516

 

 

A Coding Bootcamp for Veterans

In The News: A Coding Bootcamp for Veterans, Rod Levy talks about starting this exciting venture

Code Platoon has been featured in Shots & Bytes. 

Check out the full article here: 

http://www.shotsandbytes.com/code-platoon-coding-bootcamp-for-veterans

Meet Rodrigo Levy of Code Platoon

In The Press: Meet Rodrigo Levy of Code Platoon in Loop and Downtown

Code Platoon has been featured in Voyage Chicago. 

Check out the full article here: 

http://voyagechicago.com/interview/meet-rodrigo-levy-code-platoon-loopdowntown/

 

How Deja Baker overcame long odds

In The News: How Deja Baker overcame long odds and finally landed her dream job

Code Platoon has been featured in Fast Company.
Check out the full article here:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90205557/how-deja-baker-overcame-long-odds-and-finally-landed-her-dream-job