Company: SRA International.
Number of employees: 4,100 locally; 6,300 total.
Odell McLeod spent 15 years in the infantry. When he left in 1995, he had no work experience, no career training and no idea of what he wanted to do.
“I joined the military right out of high school,” said McLeod, 42. “When I got out, I had no resume — I didn’t even know what a resume was. I didn’t have any definable skills aside from leadership.”
McLeod eventually found his way to SRA International, an information technology contractor founded by a veteran. McLeod worked as a recruiter for many years, and now runs the company’s Wounded Warrior Program, which helps injured veterans — as well their caretakers and widowed spouses — find work.
The program, which began in early 2011, pairs new employees with mentors and offers training, certification courses and medical support to injured veterans.
“We’re not concerned about giving people a job,” McLeod said. “We want to offer them a career.”
Antoine Smith, 35, was hired as a systems engineer through the Wounded Warriors Program in June.
“It’s a company that appreciates what we did for our country,” said Smith, who served in the Navy for 16 years. “It’s helped me get on track for a long-standing career.”
In the last year, SRA International has hired 15 wounded veterans. It plans to hire at least 10 more this year.
Even with the company’s broad support system — a quarter of SRA’s employees are veterans — McLeon says the transition out of the military can be difficult.
“Fifteen years later, I’m still assimilating into the workplace,” McLeod said. “The military mindset stays with you your whole life.”