Veteran and Cengage Learning Employee Danielle Hannigan joins First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at Joining Forces Event Honoring Companies, including Cengage Learning, that Commit to Train or Hire Veterans and Military Spouses


Last Thursday, I got to experience a truly once-in-a-lifetime event by meeting First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at a ceremony to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of Joining Forces. Joining Forces is a nationwide initiative calling on Americans to rally around service members, veterans and their families and support them through wellness, education and employment opportunities.

The event recognized more than 50 tech companies – including Cengage Learning – that have pledged to train or hire veterans and military spouses over the next five years. This event has a special significance for me both as a part of the Cengage Learning team and a former service member.

White House Danielle

Cengage Learning employees Cory Eyler and Danielle Hannigan at the White House

I currently work as a Digital Project Design Manager at Cengage Learning’s office in Clifton Park, NY – a role that allows me to showcase my technical project leadership skills, and manage digital products from initiation to production and delivery. I focus on Cengage’s Milady line, the #1 provider of beauty and wellness learning solutions.

It may seem like a long way from the military life where I was stationed both in the US and abroad working as a PATRIOT Launching Station Enhanced Operator. An important part of the Army’s air defense, the PATRIOT missile system teams are used to launch advanced-technology ammunition capable of neutralizing multiple air targets.

But veterans have unique training and skills when it comes to cutting-edge technologies that can be used in so many different fields. Ranging from advanced communications to the security of computer networks and hardware, service members must stay aware of emerging technologies in the public and private sector. This means that the individual service member is always training and adapting their methodology to stay ahead of the curve. Veterans know how to learn, adapt quickly, and use new-found information in order to remain competitive. The fact is, we have the most technologically advanced armed forces in history. Some of the biggest technological innovations from the internet to GPS have come from the US military.

And technology was what first drew me to Cengage Learning years back – I was interested in the digital direction that the company was moving. Their strong model of teamwork and collaboration closely paralleled what I experienced during my years in the military. The military instills leadership and organizational skills as well as a strong work ethic, another reason veterans are highly valuable in the civilian workforce.

Mrs. Obama reiterated this in her speech at the event. Companies don’t just make these commitments because they were asked to or because it is the patriotic thing to do. They made these commitments because time and again they saw for themselves that veterans and military spouses bring amazing skills to their teams, and hiring these folks isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. 

Danielle Hannigan

US Army Veteran Danielle Hannigan

Transitioning from military to civilian life is not without its challenges. There is a great deal of apprehension leaving a life that’s very structured and routine. You’re used to knowing what kind of policies to follow, and you can feel unsure moving into the civilian workforce. Having access to mentors is helpful for a successful transition; however, another key part is gaining access to additional training and jobs.

I am proud that Cengage Learning has committed so publicly to providing scholarships, services and jobs to support military members for a smooth transition into civilian work. As a veteran who understands how difficult it can be for our men and women returning home and re-entering the workforce, I was pleased to represent Cengage at the Joining Forces ceremony and honor our strong commitment to hiring veterans and their military spouses.

You can learn more about Cengage Learning’s commitment in our Joining Forces announcement.

For more information on Cengage Learning’s offerings for veterans — including career and job skills training, certification exam preparation, online high school diplomas, and resources for the job search and interview process — please visit Cengage Learning’s Workforce Development for Military page.