Preparing veterans to enter or re-enter the civilian labor market is a critical imperative. While there are many challenges facing the men and women who have served their country in the armed forces, there are numerous resources to assist their reintegration with work, and the workforce and educational providers who serve them.
Veterans are among the targeted populations served by the US Department of Labor’s H-1B TechHire Partnership Grants, which support accelerated training in high-demand IT skills and credentials. To assist TechHire grantees in better serving veterans, JFF convened a small group peer-learning call on May 23, 2018 to discuss successes and challenges, and exchange information. The participants on the call were assisted by subject matter expert Joe Raymond, who supports veterans-serving programs through his work at ICF, a Washington DC-based consultancy. In his remarks, Mr. Raymond stressed the importance of understanding veterans’ unique cultural experience in the armed forces. In addition, he recommended the following strategies.
- Know the population: differentiate among transitioning service members (from local installations, and those from other states), and veterans in your community, as well as the diverse needs of officers, enlisted service members, and spouses
- Make use of data:use available public and private sources to analyze and respond to needs of the population; develop and use measures of achievement
- Collaborate: no one organization can serve the veteran population; identify and work with a range of public and private service providers; develop relationships with local military installations’ leadership
- Anticipate: help service members plan for transition before leaving the service
- Engage employers: support transitions through employer-driven strategies
- Support the whole person: reach beyond a narrow employment focus; assess strengths as well as challenges comprehensively; use motivational interviewing
- Crosswalk: use tools to illustrate the transferability of skills used in military service to civilian employment
Mr. Raymond emphasized that there is “no clear roadmap” for the transition to civilian life and employment, and little coordination among various service providers. Veteran-serving professionals, however, can assist the journey with a variety of tools and organizations. With Mr. Raymond’s assistance, JFF has assembled the resources below to support successful transitions of service members into the civilian workforce.
For veterans and their public and private service providers:
- AmericaServes is a coordinated network of service providers to veterans, active service members and their families in 12 cities and regions nationally. Its members offer strategies, innovative practices, technology, expertise, and analysis to communities, organizations, and individuals.
- Institute for Veterans and Military Families (Syracuse University)offers programs in career, vocational, and entrepreneurial education and training to post 9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses, as well as programs tailored to veterans of all eras; it also provides research, policy analysis, and program evaluation.
- LinkedIn for Good LinkedIn offers eligible service members, veterans, and military spouses assistance in networking and other career services, including one-year free premium subscriptions to the service.
- Military Family Research Institute (Purdue University) conducts research and outreach for communities and professionals who serve military and veteran families, and helps communities and organizations use research and best practices to achieve their goals.
- Mission United, a service of the United Way and its partners, offers full case coordination and comprehensive services to veterans and their family members to support their health, education, and financial stability; it operates in over 20 locations in FL, CA, AL, GA, VA, IN, IL, MD, PA, and NY.
- My Next Move For Veterans is a search resource to assist veterans seeking to transition to civilian careers; it includes tools for “cross-walking” military roles and civilian occupations.
- National Resource Directory is a website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers to programs and services that support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration, including education and training and employment.
- National Veterans Intermediary works with local organizations to maximize their collective impact in serving veterans, by aligning stakeholders around common goals, fostering collaboration, maximizing existing resources, and collecting and analyzing data to enhance service delivery.
- PsychArmor Institute is a nonprofit organization offering free online education to those serving the military and veteran communities, in areas such as communication skills with veterans and military culture.
- Veterans Employment Services Office, a service of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, provides employment readiness assistance and outreach to transitioning service members and veterans
- America's Heroes at Work — Veterans Hiring Toolkit The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service of the US Department of Labor assembled a variety of resources in this step-by-step toolkit targeting employers.
- V3 Program (Virginia Values Veterans) trains employers in nationally recognized best practices in recruiting, hiring, and retaining veterans, and certifies participating employers with the objective of setting measurable goals for hiring and retaining them.
For General Interest:
- Sea of Goodwill: Matching the Donor to the Need and After the Sea of Goodwill: A Collective Approach to Veteran Reintegration. These white papers, sponsored by the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (US Department of Defense) outline the challenges for coordinating the multitude of services to veterans and offer proposals for addressing the “reintegration trinity” of education, employment, and health care.