Each year approximately 200,000 servicemembers transition to the civilian world. For many, this means finding a new career path and unfortunately, this search can prove to be incredibly difficult. The unemployment rate among veterans tends to be higher than the general population. Two major challenges drive this statistic: First is the complexity of translating military work experience into civilian terms. Second is the difficulty for many active-duty military to complete traditional education, certification, and licensing programs in a timely manner.
Translating Military Experience to the Private Sector
Veterans bring a unique mix of work ethic, leadership, and resilience to civilian positions. While many employers recognize and cultivate these traits, many others have trouble linking the work completed in military assignments to everyday work on the homefront.
The VA set up the Office of Transition and Economic Development to help both veterans and private sector employers speak the same language and make connections between experience and job requirements. The DoD has a similar program, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP is an outcome-based program that bolsters and standardizes the opportunities, services, and training that service members receive to better prepare them to adapt to post-military career opportunities. Additionally, the private sector has a number of non-profit organizations that aim to make the connection to civilian opportunities for veterans including the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative. There are also a number of job fairs tailored specifically for veterans and companies that look to hire them.
Sometimes there is not a direct connection between military experience and private sector career goals. In that case, veterans can take advantage of a number of educational programs tailored to their needs. The most well known may be the GI Bill, a program that provides educational benefits to active service members, along with eligible veterans who have been honorably discharged. Additionally, the Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) helps to prepare America's veterans, service members, and their spouses for meaningful careers through a variety of programs and educational opportunities.
Forging An Independent Path
The leadership skills of our veterans lead many to entrepreneurship. There are a number of resources that help guide veterans through the various elements of starting a business from developing a business plan to funding a growing business including the National Chamber of Commerce Veteran's Guide to Starting a Business. Specialized programs exist for service disabled veterans and women, among others.
GovEvents features many job fairs and professional development opportunities that support military to private sector transitions. Visit GovEvents.com to browse career opportunities and find the right fit.