In 1998, Cliff Sosamon left the Marine Corps to start his new life as a civilian — but something felt wrong.

“When we get out of the military, it’s like we hang up our identity,” Sosamon said.

“When we get out of the military, it’s like we hang up our identity.”

Cliff Sosamon

Sosamon worked seven jobs in the eight years following his departure from the military. Every time he embarked on a new career path, he couldn’t help feeling like something was missing.

Now, as executive director of Honor Courage Commitment, he’s helping discharged veterans adapt to life as a civilian and find jobs in the area.

The Farmers Branch nonprofit recently aligned with Keller-based Linux Academy to give veterans an opportunity to enhance their skills and earn certifications in cloud technology and other IT programs.

“[Linux Academy] gives us an opportunity to offer additional training to veterans … so that [our veterans] can expand their knowledge base and use that to create a better life for them and their families,” Sosamon said.


Linux Academy provides the free training including more than 1,200 hours of in-depth video content, labs, flash cards, and hands-on learning in Linux, Amazon Web Services, DevOps, OpenStack, Big Data, Google Cloud Platform, Containers, and Azure.

“Our veterans do so much for us, and this is the best way for us to give back from our resources. We’re happy to help them out whatever way we can,” said Chaz Wallace, Linux Academy partner and event manager.

“We want to change lives through high quality, hands on, affordable cloud training.”

Chaz Wallace

Linux Academy has trained more than 300,000 people online with its cloud technology training programs. The partnership with HCC will allow the company to reach an even broader group in need of IT skills.

“We want to change lives through high quality, hands on, affordable cloud training. We’re really happy to partner with HCC because we’re in the business to enhance other people’s lives,” Wallace said.

The online training launched at the beginning of March. Fifty veterans at a time can work online for free to complete certifications. They are each given a recommended schedule to insure they complete the training in a timely manner. Currently, there are more than 200 veterans on the waiting list.


One of the first veterans to gain access to the training is Army veteran Patrick Shaeffer.

“I was in the mortgage industry until 2008…and with the financial crisis everything changed, and I’ve been looking for a new path and [the partnership between HCC and Linux Academy] has given me the opportunity for a new career,” Shaeffer said.

Shaeffer is on schedule to finish his certification by the end of April. With his new qualifications, he hopes to secure a job working with big data and IT within various corporations.

“I’m very grateful with the support and the opportunities the Linux Academy has given me personally. I plan on taking advantage of [the training] and putting it to good use,” Shaeffer said.

Also working on a certification this month is Army veteran Nick Nagley. After serving from 1998-2001, Nagley struggled with transitioning to civilian life. He worked various plumbing jobs, but had difficulties securing steady employment.

“To be attractive in this market, you need a wide variety of skills.”

Nick Nagley

Then, he discovered HCC. Nagley started as an intern with the organization and from there, he built his resume and acquired valuable skills. Currently, Nagley works at Vergent Communications as a network engineer. With the online courses from Linux, he hopes to broaden his job prospects.

“I’m looking to expand my skill set and that’s why the Linux Academy is so attractive for me. To be attractive in this market, you need a wide variety of skills. That’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity. It’ll make me more valuable [in my career field],” Nagley said.

Nagley credits much of his success to his mentors and training at HCC.

“If it wasn’t for the mentors from HCC and the encouragement they gave me, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Nagley said.