Jenny Brown joined Berkeley Lab about 11 years ago as a Student Assistant and worked her way towards a Help Desk term and then career Employee. Jenny is currently the Help Desk Work Lead in the IT Support Services Group, providing user and technical support to the Lab community, along with leading many outreach activities acrosS
She is the FY21-23 Finance Officer for the All Access ERG Steering Committee, an active member of the WSEC ERG, and the IT Division IDEA Committee, IT-IDEA. Jenny also leads interns with Summer High School, the Community College Interns, and SOAR, a program for foster youth. Currently Jenny is partnering with colleague Jose Sierra of the IT Support Services Embedded Engineers Team to launch a collaboration with East Bay Innovations to empower individuals with disabilities to work in jobs of their choosing.
Jenny is a highly active volunteer through several channels. This IT Staff Spotlight focuses on her role guiding Veterans Interns as a Non-Paid Work Experience (NPWE) Program Coordinator for IT Support Services. Recently, Jenny completed the NPWE Program Manual to provide guidance for other Lab groups who are interested in hiring Veteran Interns and was recognized with a Spot award for stellar efforts! Read below to learn more.
How can IT support veterans?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Non-Paid Work Experience (NPWE) Program provides eligible Veterans and Service members the opportunity to obtain training and practical on-the-job experience. Lab funding is not required to participate as there are no associated costs for the employer and the VA provides a monthly subsistence allowance paid directly to the Veteran. Enrollment in the NPWE program is typically authorized by the VA in 90-day intervals but can be extended for up to 12 months. Kelly Johnson, Talent Outreach Program Manager, is the Berkeley Lab liaison to the VA and may help coordinate hiring interviews or sign forms. This is a win-win relationship, the veteran receives valuable on the job training and experience for their resume and the Laboratory develops a potential employee.
Another one of my colleagues, Jason Bush, IT Desktop Systems Specialist and VERG Chair Emeritus, is one example of a Veteran Intern (through NPower) who joined our team. According to our IT Support Services Group lead, Tammy Campbell (WSEC Vice Chair), 60% of the group is currently or former Interns and 7.5% of our staff are veterans. We must realize in this current IT workforce market, that we need to develop our own people from our Interns. Employees who begin as Interns are more likely to have a long term career with Berkeley Lab because you invested time and effort in them from the beginning. We demonstrate that we care. Expanding our recruitment networks through talent outreach programs and hiring Interns is also one way to provide opportunities to diverse skilled candidates.
Where do Lab staff start if they want more information or want to get involved regarding veteran programs at the Lab?
To learn more about recruiting Veteran Interns at the Lab and the NPWE program, you can visit the Talent Outreach Veterans Programs page for resources and staff profiles.
For more guidance and support materials for Berkeley Lab, check out the NPWE Program Manual.
To start the process for matching with and hosting a Veteran Intern, submit the necessary hiring details in the Veteran Intern Request Form then send a position description to Kelly Johnson.
How did you gravitate toward volunteering and outreach at the Lab?
The IT Division has a long history of advocacy for underrepresented groups at the Lab and outreach to the local community. Our Group’s motto is, “Pay It Forward.”
I am fortunate to work in a group willing to invest time and effort into the talent pipeline, creating a pool of diverse skilled candidates so that one day they may become Lab employees.