Bowling Green, Kentucky (October 4, 2022) – Retired Colonel Blaine Hedges spent nearly three decades in the United States Military. He has transitioned into the position of CEO & President of Government Solutions and Services or GS2. GS2 is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business founded in 2018 that empowers companies by building partnerships across government and private sectors.
Hedges works with the same passion and service for the United States Military in his current profession as he did for the last three decades. In the video with Connected Nation’s Jessica Denson, Hedges spoke on the difficulty of transitioning to professional life back home, saying, “It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. We speak a different language, literally. The folks that haven’t served, the way they do business is much different.”
Challenges such as what Hedges described are one of the many reasons that the brave men and women who proudly serve our country struggle in their post-military lives. In the video, it is shown that an estimated 1.4 million veterans are living in poverty and, in 2020, 6.7% of veterans were unemployed.
With the growing number of work-from-home opportunities being more accessible than ever, this is a tremendous time for job-seeking veterans. Unfortunately, according to Digitunity, one-third of low-income veterans do not have internet service at home and 40% do not own a computer. This makes these virtual work opportunities, VA services, and many more everyday tasks inaccessible to our nation’s struggling veterans.
Hedges and GS2 prioritized this issue and have joined forces with Connected Nation with the shared belief that every individual and family in the United States should have access to broadband internet. In the video, Hedges states, “To me, high-speed broadband should be a requirement in today’s digital society.”
The video talks about a “two-pronged approach” which is that of tackling the need and raising awareness for better internet connectivity. These veterans and military spouses are being supported through Connected Nation’s telework training and job placement program, Digital Works. Military spouses are a group of individuals that are consistently required to move, thus making employment opportunities difficult. The Digital Works program trains their students on telework and places them in jobs that fit the lives of a military spouse. These employment opportunities allow them to keep the same job as they move with their families. .
Colonel Hedges closes the video by saying, “We need to band together and take action right now. If you’ve got the ability and you’ve got the resources, join Connected Nation and GS2 and ensure that every active duty, retiree, military spouse, and their family have access to high-speed broadband.”
The life during and after military service is an honorable and prestigious life for members and their families alike. Although, this life comes with all kinds of challenges, an accessible broadband connection for every member and their family should not be one of them. Visit the links below to take the first step into closing this important section of the Digital Divide.