By: Kaylah Jackson
You might be familiar with the Call of Duty franchise, debuted in 2003, and has grown to arguably one of the most popular video games of the millennium. But, many might not know that the franchise has a special place for helping veterans as well. With over 43,000 organizations in dedicated to helping veterans, there’s a great need for linking veterans with jobs and helping them transition into the civilian workforce.
The Call of Duty Endowment is a non-profit foundation co-founded by Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, a well-known video game developer. The Endowment helps veterans find high quality careers by supporting groups that prepare them for the job market and by raising awareness of the value vets bring to the workplace.
The Department of Labor spent 270 million dollars alone on veteran employment but doesn’t follow trends of job retention, salaries and quality of employment for the veterans that they help. For the leaders of Call of Duty Endowment, they are paying attention to those trends and make it point that they support organizations that not only get veterans in jobs but keep them in and give them opportunities for high quality jobs.
They partner with organizations like Hire Heroes USA and Veteran Staffing Network to provide grants and business advice to aid in the growth of organizations with a genuine vision to get vets employed. Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director of Call of Duty Endowment, Navy veteran and Harvard Business school alum, came to the team with using both to help teach these partners how to connect with the veteran community and sustain growth.
“We give benchmarks–looking at salary, retention, full time versus part time, what percentage of folks who are enlisted or post 9/11. We’ve been starting to pay a lot more attention to how they serve women…we’ve even started to think job counseling services women needs are a little different,” said Goldenberg.
They even put together webinars for their partners with companies like LinkedIn and top social media mavens in order to teach them how to best reach veterans with their services. Their newest endeavor, Stream Call of Duty®: WWII in the 2017 Race to Prestige, is a four-day event: an around-the-clock, relay-style video game marathon where gamers will take on the highly-anticipated and newly released Call of Duty installment.
“Gaming with a purpose,” the event will raise money for the endowment and help fund the best-in-class veteran organizations that they partner with.To date, the Call of Duty Endowment has placed 11,615 veterans in jobs at an average cost-per-placement of $619—less than one fifth the cost of federal placement programs. In the last two years alone, The Race to Prestige has raised $291,000 in donations, which has resulted in placing more than a battalion of veterans into high-quality employment.
“Every dollar we raise for the Call of Duty Endowment goes directly to placing veterans into quality jobs,” said Goldenberg.
The gamers have also partnered with stream-for-charity website Tiltify, which prompts audience members to donate as they watch. Activision Blizzard has pledged to match up to $500,000 in donations. You can watch the live stream here.
Since its start in 2003, the Call of Duty franchise continues to be among the most-highly anticipated game launches. The game is set to be released for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC on Friday, November 3, 2017.