Comcast provides services for those who serveJul 07, 2023 01:06PM ● By Peri Kinder
Deneiva Knight was 18 years old and only three days out of high school when she reported for basic training with the U.S. Army. Having enlisted during her junior year, she described herself as “fresh-faced and scrawny” with no concept of the struggles and difficulties she would face through the experience.
As her eight weeks of training commenced, she found herself without support of family and friends, learning to trust her body, mind and spirit. She created a lifelong credo that has carried her throughout her life.
“Whatever you do, do it with heart,” Knight said. “During trying times, I dig in and rely on my heart working alongside my blood, sweat and tears to reach any finish line.”
Knight served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1996-2001. Now the external affairs director for the Comcast Mountain West Region, doing work in media relations, government affairs and community impact, Knight is proud to work for a company that supports the military.
Comcast’s dedication to the military community started with its founder, Ralph Roberts, who served a four-year tour-of-duty with the U.S. Navy. Now, the global telecommunications company creates a supportive workplace environment for military employees and offers experiences and discounts for its military customers.
In a new partnership with the Utah Veteran Business Resource Center, Comcast will support several initiatives at the center, including the Startup Training Resources Inspiring Veteran Entrepreneurship program, a free entrepreneurship training program run through Syracuse University in Buffalo, New York.
Rick Brown, Utah VBRC program director, said the partnership with Comcast will bring attention to the STRIVE program and hopefully increase the number of veteran entrepreneurs who participate.
“It benefits us to get the word out to the veterans that their service pays for our services and that we're here to work with them to help start and build their businesses.”
Comcast will also provide essential technology to support hybrid classrooms from St. George to Logan. Working with the Utah VBRC, Comcast will create innovation hubs in central locations so veterans can meet together and learn about building a business. The partnership will also include the creation of a women-only veterans entrepreneurship STRIVE course.
“That's where Comcast’s support is going to come in,” said Becky Guertler, Utah VBRC program manager. “As support for our programs increases, we can reach more veterans and empower them to build lasting economic futures. With Comcast’s support, the Utah VBRC is better positioned to better serve our veterans and the minority groups within our veteran community.”
Shawn Kessler is the Comcast Mountain West Region’s director of technical operations. He joined the U.S. Marine Corp and was hired by Comcast a few years later. During an 18-month-long deployment, Comcast covered the difference between Kessler’s military and Comcast pay, to ease financial stress.
Kessler said he wouldn’t trade his time in the military for anything outside of his family but wouldn’t want to go through boot camp again.
“The military gave me a sense of belonging and proved to myself that I could take on difficult things,” Kessler said. “Comcast’s support of the military is what made Comcast a career for me. While I was deployed, I made less on active duty than I did as a technician, and for over a year, Comcast paid me the difference. I never imagined that a company would do that.”
Since 2015, Comcast has hired more than 19,400 veterans, National Guard and reserve service members, and military spouses. It has donated more than $197 million to military community organizations and, in 2022, “Military Times” recognized Comcast NBCUniversal as the nation’s No. 1 telecommunications company for veterans.
This year, VETS Indexes recognized Comcast Cable as a 5-Star Employer in the 2023 VETS Indexes Employer Awards. The award is a testament to the company’s strong commitment to hiring, retaining, developing and supporting U.S. military veterans and their families. For more information about how Comcast supports veterans, visit corporate.comcast.com/impact/military.
“I am proud to work for Comcast,” Knight said, “a company that not only honors its veterans and military-serving employees but creates opportunities to support us at every angle through its benefits structure, career pathways and community impact initiatives.” λ