Susannah Bruck https://graduate.norwich.edu 5m 1,230
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
From Active Duty to Civilian Life: Resources for a Successful Transition
Becoming immersed in military life is a massive adjustment from being a civilian. Unfortunately, returning to civilian life can be an even greater challenge, and many veterans struggle during this process. There are about 250,000 people who leave the military each year and become veterans in the United States, illustrating the need for more transitional assistance. While unemployment among veterans dropped from 7.2% in 2014 to 5.8% in 2015, there are still many veterans who need help returning to civilian life.
Challenges Veterans Face
Though most veterans are incredibly hard-working and have marketable skills, one of the toughest challenges they face when returning to everyday life is finding satisfying work. Many veterans haven’t had to create a resume, interview for a job, or write a cover letter in years—if ever. Additionally, many don’t know how to market themselves, or struggle to adapt to a slower pace and fewer set expectations in the modern workforce.
Fortunately, there are some great resources out there for veterans who want to reenter the workforce and further their education. The Department of Defense offers a Transition Assistance Program, which has helped veterans find work faster. Other private and government programs provide additional support, care, and training. The GI Bill allows veterans to get the education they need to be competitive in the workforce, and can even cover graduate programs. Finding the right assistance to make the transition back to civilian life easier can mean the difference between success and struggle.
To learn more, checkout the infographic below created by Norwich University’s Online Master of Arts in Military History degree program.
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From Active Military To Civilian Life
Resources And Education To Aid The Transition
Ever since the United States established its independence with the Revolutionary War, the country has faced the need to help military veterans transition into civilian life once their military service has concluded. Those who serve maintain a rigorous, regimented schedule, often for years. After they serve, they face the same challenge as many before then, transitioning from military to civilian life.
The need to ease that transition is as relevant as ever today-in 2015, there were approximately 1.46 million active U.S. Military personnel. A host of government and private programs can help ease the transition, as can the advancement of one’s education with a master’s degree.
Veterans In The Workforce
250,000 active military personnel leave the military each year and become veterans
Unemployment rate for veterans is decreasing
7.2% in 2014
5.8% in 2015
Job skills veterans bring back into civilian life:
- Leadership development
- Culturally experienced
- Global Outlook
- Specialized Advanced Training
- Clear-headedness under pressure
- In-depth understanding of planning
- Ability to quickly pivot when needed
- Ability to conform to rules and structure
- Ability to lead a team or work as part of one
Military experience can further help with:
- Understanding change
- Dealing with success and failure
Employers believe that veterans are:
- Able to work in a fast-paced environment
Proper self-marketing is crucial for employment.
Veterans should leverage:
- Value they provide employers
- Applicable skills
- Stories or examples of their character traits
- Work ethic
Jobs and roles that veterans may take on:
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- Project management
- Operations manager
- Business operations specialist
- Change management consultant
- Team manager
- Team strategist
- Political scientist
The Biggest Challenges
Findings of Pew Research Center survey of 1,853 veterans:
While more than seven and 10 veterans (72%) report they had an easy time readjusting to civilian life, 27% say reentry was difficult for them-a proportion that swells to 44% among veterans who served in the years since the September 11th terrorist attacks.
The lingering consequences of a psychological trauma are particularly striking: the probabilities of an easy reentry drops 82% for those who did not experience a traumatic event to 56% for those who did.
Some common difficulties and professional adjustment among veterans:
- learning how to look for an interview for jobs- something the individual may never have done before entering the military
- developing a formal resume
- a formidable game of catch up with in a previous held job
- adjusting to the numerous choices or opportunities presented in society may be overwhelming
- concerned about possible job loss while transitioning back into a roll
- a lower steak space at work, where civilian colleagues expect more flexibility than might have been granted in the military
- getting used to civilian workforce vernacular, which may be completely different than it was in the military
- difficulty relating to those that don’t know or understand military life
- understanding how to properly market their skills
- translating military strategies so that they work within the business world
Schooling may help add structure to a veteran’s transition. Online flexibility and benefit for veterans, while also ultimately enhancing career prospects. Various programs exist to help veterans gain access to such opportunities:
The VA GI Bill®*
- website describes the many educational benefits and programs provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs
- one of these benefits is the yellow ribbon program, which is a piece of the post 9/11 GI Bill that covers all tuition and fees for a public or private school, including graduate programs
DoD Off-duty Voluntary Education Programs
- each year, approximately 300,000 service members enroll in post-secondary courses leading to Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate Degrees
- voluntary education programs include college courses (traditional classroom and online delivery both on and off military installations); college credit by exam; licensure and certification; tuition assistance (TA); and Navy College programs for afloat college education open friend to see NC PACE) for Sailors stationed aboard a ship
Programs That Assist With The Transition
- Transitions GPS is a multi-day course that teaches future veterans how to put together a resume and apply for jobs
- Moving Forward is a free educational and life coaching program that teaches problem solving skills
- AfterDeployment is a collection of resources for veterans and servicemembers to help them make the transition to civilian life
Things For Veterans To Consider When Continuing Education
- think about ultimate career goals and Trace backwards. What schooling is required to get there?
- consider soliciting the help of an online career counselor
- review rankings, such as US News & World Report, which ranks colleges by state, program, and excellence
- decide whether online or in-person programs make the most sense for you
Government Programs To Assist With Finding A Job
The Department of Defense’s TAP (Transition Assistance Program)
- provides workshops for veterans
- -learn about searching for jobs and effective decision-making
- veterans who participated in TAP were employed 3 weeks before those that did not
The Department Of Defense’s Esgr (Employer Support For The Guard And Reserve)
- helps to establish cooperation and mutual understanding between reserve service members and their employers
- assist veterans and understanding their unique skills
The Department Of Labor Vets (Veterans Employment And Training Service)
- helps veterans and their spouses find employment
- educate to veterans on employment rights
“Veterans preference” laws help veterans move ahead of their competition when applying for federal government jobs
Private Efforts To Help An Employee Veterans
Veteran Jobs Mission
- a project that began in 2011, when 11 companies pledge to collectively hire 100,000 veterans by 2020
- as of November 2016, the Coalition has grown to 230 private sector companies that have hired 360,000 veterans
Wounded Warrior Project
- this project offers free programs and services two injured veterans, filling gaps in government care
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