Initiative connecting veterans to AI opportunities launches in Arlington this week

American flag hanging at a construction site, with Rosslyn in the background (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)
American flag hanging at a construction site, with Rosslyn in the background (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

An event aiming to connect military veterans to AI-related opportunities is coming to Arlington this week.

The Vets in AI launch event, taking place at Microsoft’s Rosslyn office on Thursday, is one of the first forays into the D.C. area for the San Francisco-based nonprofit VetsinTech. As emerging technologies play an increasingly prominent role in both the public and private sector, Vets in AI seeks to create education, employment and entrepreneurship pathways for people with military backgrounds.

“This initiative bridges the technological hub of the Bay Area with the policy-making centers in Washington DC, fostering a unique collaboration between tech innovators, military, and policy,” the event description says.

Expected speakers at this week’s event, which will take place from 4-7 p.m. at 1300 Wilson Blvd, include representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Digital Service and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

VetsinTech founder and CEO Katherine Webster told ARLnow that the nonprofit started about 12 years ago with the goal of getting veterans more involved in tech fields. Since then, the group has launched chapters across the country and is in the process of expanding its presence in the D.C. area.

“In D.C. and in policy, there’s a lot being done around safe AI, and the security and safety of AI and those issues,” Webster said. “I think we’re not … preparing enough right now for workforce development.”

Beyond the launch event, which currently has over 300 registered participants, the Vets in AI program includes training for veterans, pitch events for veteran entrepreneurs and a quarterly convening of corporations.

Webster hopes it helps boost vets’ visibility and involvement in artificial intelligence technology.

“I kind put it like, who are you gonna call, and who are you going to trust in these situations?” she said. “I see so, so many veterans just now jumping into this space.”