NBA Entertainment Gives Veterans a Chance to Gain Real-World Production Experience at NBA Finals

NBA Entertainment is once again using the NBA Finals as a way to give veterans of the U.S. Army reserves real-world exposure in a TV production environment. Three veterans are taking part in San Antonio and four in Miami. KENS San Antonio was on the scene to cover the story, proving that the feel-good aspect of the efforts extend well beyond exposure on the court but to helping raise awareness of employment woes facing today’s veterans.

Click here to watch the KENS report.

The Miami Herald also picked up the story (link to the full story here), interviewing veterans who were thankful to simply have an opportunity to earn a few dollars as well as experience during what are tremendously difficult times for those veterans looking to find work.

“This is a good idea for everyone in the industry to do, as SVG and its members continue to develop an interface with the U.S. Army,” says Mike Rokosa, VP of operations and engineering, NBA.

Rokosa has played a key part in the SVG Veterans in Production (VIP) initiative which gives servicemen and women exposure to a career in sports production. The program was an outgrowth of efforts last year when Rokosa contacted Erin Thede, director for the Employer Partnership Office, Office of the Chief Army Reserve. Along with SVG Executive Director Marty Porter, the NBA and SVG arranged for Thede to attend the NAB show in April. While there, Thede gave a presentation during the SVG Annual NAB Truck Breakfast and also met with a wide variety of manufacturers, remote service providers, and network executives.

Candidates with a military background are ideal for a role in sports production and operations, Thede notes.

“Out of 10 young Americans who apply to come into the Armed Forces, only three of them are actually accepted, because the standards are strict,” she explains. “We do screening up front; we do drug testing; we check for physical fitness; we check for legal issues, moral issues in their background to ensure that the population that we have is appropriate for the job we want them to do.”



“The sports-production industry is hungry for new talent, and many of today’s new veterans have skill sets in electronics, wireless systems, IT-based infrastructures, and more that translate well to a career in the sports industry,” says Mike Rokosa, VP of Engineering, NBA Entertainment and Chair of SVG’s Veterans in Production (VIP) Committee. “But many of those veterans are unaware of the opportunities. Our goal is to close that information gap, help connect them with potential employers, and more.”

It is also believed that the passage of a new Senate bill that provides tax breaks of up to $9,600 for private employers who hire veterans could help spur interest in providing employment for those who have served.

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