Civilian Credentials and Troops in Transition

Civilian Credentials and Troops in Transition

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

We hear a lot about credentials in today’s workforce development community. While technically, it’s “a qualification, achievement, or aspect of a person’s background that indicates they are suitable for something,” for those of us transitioning from military service to a civilian job it can open a lot of doors – or better yet, keep those same doors from closing.

In the military employment assistance environment, the credentialing of Veterans and Military Service Members is a complex issue, with partners and players at every level – national, state, and local. While credentialing authorities typically remain at the national or state levels, the critical effort has often been grass-roots, with a focus on building awareness at the local level. When I was involved with the State of Missouri’s Show-Me Heroes program, we had many of those initial conversations with our Governor’s Office, our Division of Workforce Development, and our National Guard headquarters. I’d like to think that those conversations, while strategic in nature, helped lead to some of the progress we’re seeing today.

There are certain jobs and skill sets that immediately come to mind during a discussion on credentialing. Jobs in the healthcare industry, law enforcement, or transportation might be considered the low-hanging fruit to some that are in this Veteran employment assistance space, but there are so many more potential options with regard to credentialing. Not only do some fields require credentials to legally perform certain jobs, but they can also serve to ‘amp up’ your resume and communicate to prospective employers that you’re among the most qualified for the job.

All branches of the U.S. Armed Forces offer some kind of credentialing or certification program for its Service Members; in no particular order, here are a few connections for you to explore:

Army COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line). A tool to help Soldiers find details on certifications and licenses related to their military jobs and potential civilian careers, you can use Army COOL to get information on credentials related to an Army Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), Civilian Occupational Pathways, potential gaps between Army training and civilian credentialing, and resources available to help fill those gaps. Check it out at cool.army.mil.

Navy & Marine Corps COOL. Although it sounds the same, the Department of the Navy’s (DON) credentialing resource site has a whole different feel; their website “represents the joint effort, close coordination, and shared resources that support the Navy and Marine Corps COOL programs.” For their ongoing commitment to Sailors, Marines, and DON Civilians, visit www.cool.navy.mil.

Air Force COOL. A Total Force enlisted program, the Air Force’s credentialing resource includes all enlisted AFSCs for active duty, the Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard. AF COOL is a one-stop shop for Airmen to explore credentials recognized by the civilian community; find more information at Air Force Virtual Education Center.

Coast Guard Certification Programs. Although the Coast Guard doesn’t offer COOL or organic online certification tools, it does encourage its Service Members to take advantage of certification finders sponsored by the Department of Labor, such as CareerOneStop (www.careeronestop.org/toolkit/training/find-certifications.aspx) and O-Net Online (www.onetonline.org/crosswalk).

Your path to picking up some well-deserved credentials may lead you to classroom training or online testing. There may be options to pick those up on the military’s dime while you’re still serving or by using your GI Bill benefits. Either way, hopefully it will help by making for a smoother transition or by making you more competitive in the search for your next job, so take a closer look at whatever tools you might have at your disposal.

Until next time…

 

5 Simple Ways Veterans Can Combat Stress

5 Simple Ways Veterans Can Combat Stress

 

Stress takes a major toll on combat veterans. PTSD is a serious threat can result in multiple issues among veterans, including homelessness, suicide, and addiction. Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans alone began seeking treatment at an alarming rate; in one year, the number of these vets seeking  treatment for PTSD rose by 70%. 

 

Get Out in Nature

According to a study conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, gardening could lower the risk of death from any cause by as much as 18%. Why is this? The fact is, our body has a natural link to nature and the Earth around us, even if we don’t often explore it as much as we should. After all, nature has long been linked to the ability to reduce stress and improve our perceptions of the space around us. Taking a simple stroll through nearby botanical gardens or going on a daylong hike through the mountains can have impressive results on the mind, especially if you make nature immersion a regular part of your routine. 

 

In a feature published in Psychology Today, psychotherapist and author Dan Mager said, “Wilderness areas, in particular, are portals to present-centeredness, transporting us to an attuned awareness of the here and now, capturing our conscious attention, and anchoring us in the moment. When we connect with nature, we re-connect—both consciously and unconsciously—with the most original and authentic parts of ourselves, and expand our capacity to connect with others and the world through an enriched awareness of the commonalities that link us all together, as well as a greater sense of our place as part of a much greater whole.”

 

Practice Mixed Martial Arts

On the surface, it might seem like combating war with more fighting seems counterintuitive, but this isn’t the case. Organized combative fighting can prove particularly effective at relieving stress, re-targeting emotions, and distracting the mind. “Learning proper self defense using the right disciplines is more of an art than anything,” says Hai Nguyen, who teaches muay thai in Houston at Elite MMA. “It’s about patience, practice, and deeply personal self-improvement.” 

 

Veterans who have returned to civilian life may struggle to get readjusted, which is completely normal. But in addition to learning more about the art of MMA, there are several possible side benefits that many practitioners can benefit from. For example, the social element of class brings together people of shared interests who are motivated to achieve something. Even if that “something” starts out as just getting a specific movement downpact, it tends to grow into something bigger, and the desire to achieve infiltrates other areas of a person’s life. 

 

Go On a Trip 

Traveling is a great way to relieve stress and open up the mind. If possible, veterans should consider going on a trip—however large or small—solo. Traveling alone allows you to address your fears head on, take complete control of your itinerary, make smart, planned decisions, learn new cultures, and embrace your thoughts. Traveling alone also allows you to “detox” from the day-to-day lifestyle and learn to be comfortable in your own skin again. And according to author Adam Galinksy, “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.”

 

Fortunately, there are many travel perks reserved for veterans, like airline discounts and TSA pre-checks. Even if you don’t see any deals online, you should consider reaching out to travel agencies to ask personally about their military offerings, as many companies are happy to work with you. 

 

Help Others

Volunteering has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress. When you engage in generous acts, you build upon empathy and receive back gratitude, which releases oxycontin—the hormone in our bodies that is responsible for giving us that “feel good” emotion. Think about what you’re passionate about and try to combine that passion with volunteer work. If you’re passionate about the well-being of eldery people, for example, volunteer at a nursing home. 

 

You can also combine the “giving back” philosophy with some of the other stress relievers mentioned here. For instance, combine getting out in nature with volunteering at a local garden, or helping a school plant trees and flowers. Or combine it with travel by participating in a volunteer organization abroad. There’s no right or wrong way to give back to communities and habitats around the world. 

 

Veterans Home Care: Helping Veterans Get The Help They Need

Veterans Home Care: Helping Veterans Get The Help They Need

“When Bonnie Laderman found out that her mother, the widow of a Korean War veteran, had been missing out on a little-known government pension for decades, she was furious. Unfortunately, it was too late for Bonnie’s mom, but it is not too late for the wartime veteran in your life or maybe that veteran’s surviving spouse. Bonnie started a company to make sure that no one else would have to go through her anguish. This is the story of that company: Veteran’s Home Care.”

Common Challenges to a Smooth Civilian Transition

Common Challenges to a Smooth Civilian Transition

 

Transition. According to Dictionary.com, it can be used as a noun or a verb, but in most cases it’s the “movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc. to another.” According to most of us that have worn the uniform recently, however, it means that we have taken that monumental step of separating from the military. And while the objective is usually to have a smooth-as-velvet transition, there always seems to be…challenges…to that goal.

 

For the rest of this post, I’m just going to pontificate on a few of those challenges, from my point of view. Many of you know that my perspective is that of a 30-year Army guy, but it’s also one that’s been influenced by dear friends from every branch of the Service. Some of these challenges were faced head-on by many of the strongest-willed men and women I know – with equal parts success and struggle.

 

And the point of a blog post like this one? Well, it’s doubtful you’ll have the ‘a-ha’ moment you’re looking for or have a revelation to put your struggle into deeper meaning…but maybe you’ll come to the realization that there are loads of warriors out there with the same struggles as you and I. And sometimes it’s good to reflect on the challenges…to a smooth transition…that we have in common.

 

Challenges within ourselves. Some of our biggest challenges during the transition from active duty to the civilian sector are internal. How we feel, how we cope with the change, how we internalize things…can have a tremendous impact on our new reality. Some of us feel the loss of our sense of purpose. Some struggle with no ‘command structure’ in place to help hold them accountable. Others feel like everything is so boring or ‘blah’ and miss the adrenaline rush that comes with certain assignments. And many of us feel isolated or alone, even when surrounded by family and friends with whom we’re desperately trying to reconnect.

 

Challenges with employment. Even if we qualify for an active duty retirement or VA compensation, most of us will be looking for our next job. And for sure, the job search can be traumatic enough, even if you’re not transitioning from military service. How a jobseeker goes about finding a job has undoubtedly changed…if you’re looking for your next job, you’ll have to craft resumes and cover letters, navigate applicant tracking systems, and deal with interviewers and talent managers. If you’ve already transitioned from the Service to a civilian employer, there’s a good chance you had to start a rung or two down the corporate ladder from where you should have been able to start, and you’re finding that often promotions come at a different pace and may be few and far between. Finally, if you’re a traditional National Guardsman or Reservist coming off a deployment and returning to your previous employer, you’ll probably face your own unique challenges with your old position, your team at work, and your supervisor. That’s a whole other topic in itself, and one we’ll cover later this year.

 

Challenges, period. If you aren’t wrestling with your own internal concerns and you have the job thing all figured out, consider yourself lucky (and maybe even among the fortunate few). But that doesn’t mean you won’t face other, just as stressful, challenges. Things you’ll need to take care of won’t be free, and often we underestimate the costs of transition. There’s a decent chance you’ll have to figure out who provides the services you’ll be using, from health care to child care and everything in between. You may still have bouts of post-traumatic stress or depression, for the simple fact that you’re in transition from military service means you’re moving on from one of the most impactful, stressful, demanding, and rewarding journeys a person can take.

 

At the end of the day, most of my colleagues just assume that this transition will be challenging, but it’s hard to predict how so. The transition between ‘military life’ and ‘life after military life’ will be different for everyone…different for retiring 40-somethings than for 20-somethings getting out after their first or second tour.  What are some things you can do? Take advantage of the DoD’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and get smarter on those subjects that will impact you. During the transition, make sure you eat well, get plenty of rest & exercise, and plan your approach to this next stage of your life. Be your own advocate and reach out if you need a hand with the transition – to a battle buddy, a Vet Center, the VA, or a Veteran Service Organization. Until next time…

 

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for VA Dental Care Benefits?

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for VA Dental Care Benefits?

Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com)

 

Affordable dental care is a right that everyone deserves. It is critical to total mind and body health, and some dental injuries can lead to bloodstream infections and worse. The hard part of today’s society is that dental care goes overlooked by a lot of people. Many don’t think they need it, but a lot of times, people just can’t find it affordably! 

 

It can be especially difficult for veterans to find dental care when they need it. Not all veterans are eligible for this care, and the language is very technical and convoluted when it comes to who gets care and who does not. This makes it hard for them to get the help they deserve. 

 

I understand this frustration because I have experienced it myself first hand. Before I established my own practice, I served as a dental officer in the Navy. Now, I have over 20 years of specialized experience that I want to share with veterans so they can understand their dental benefits and find the treatment they need. 

 

One of the ways that I do this is by trying to make the convoluted information much easier to understand. I want veterans to understand their rights, and know their options in case they don’t qualify for dental care. No one should go without proper dental care in this country, especially not the people who serve it. 

 

Who is eligible for dental care? 

There are 9 different classes of eligibility when it comes to dental care benefits for veterans. Although many people have endeavored to make this easier through their veterans benefits guides, it can still be difficult to navigate these classes. I have stripped away the convoluted language to make them very easy to understand. 

 

Class I

Anyone with a dental disability or condition covered through a connected service is eligible for the necessary dental care of this disability and condition. 

 

Class II

Anyone who did not receive a full dental examination and any appropriate treatment upon learning the results of the examination is eligible for one-time care with their unsigned DD214 Certificate of Discharge. 

 

Class IIA

Anyone who can provide and maintain a dentition that is fully maintained, as with Dental Trauma Rating 10-564-D, that also has a noncompensable dental condition or resulting disability as a direct result of their time spent in service is eligible for necessary dental care as determined by the VA Regional Office Rating Decision. 

 

Class IIB

Anyone who is enrolled under VHA Directive 2007-039 as a care receiving or homeless veteran, and who has a medically necessary procedure that will treat gum conditions, relieve pain, or assist with obtaining gainful employment may be eligible for a one-time care to correct this problem. 

 

Class IIC

Anyone who was ever made a prisoner of war is eligible for any necessary dental care. 

 

Class IV

Anyone who has a disability that rates 100% on the disabling scale that occurred during your time of service is eligible for the necessary care and relief. Unemployed and unpaid veterans who are unemployed or unpaid as a direct result of this disability also qualify. 

 

Class V

Any veteran who can meet the criteria of their 38 USC Chapter 31 vocational rehabilitation program while participating in it is eligible for necessary dental work. 

 

Class VI

Anyone who is currently receiving, or scheduled to receive, inpatient care of any kind that would be adversely affected or complicated because of an oral condition is entitled to the necessary dental care to treat the potential complication before receiving that inpatient care. A VA dental professional can make that assessment. 

 

Further questions can be addressed directly with the  US Department of Veteran Affairs. Their website has extensive information and contacts for local offices who can better assist you in navigating your rights. 

 

What if I don’t qualify for those benefits?

There are some options available for people who don’t qualify for direct VA benefits. Don’t lose hope because the  National VA Dental Insurance Program will still provide dental insurance to veterans through their Civilian Health and Medical Program. This works like regular dental insurance (with a copay and monthly payments) but it is drastically discounted in an effort to make it affordable for veterans. This program includes surgery, restoration, emergency, and preventative care as well as endodontics. 

 

What if I can’t afford that program?

If you still haven’t found a solution that works within your capabilities, there are still a lot of resources available. Many dentists are former servicemen, just like myself. Because they empathize first hand, they have begun offering free dental care to veterans. Those who don’t usually offer drastically discounted rates and payment options that work within your budget. 

 

Everyone deserves affordable dental care. It can be extremely frustrating to know that you are ineligible for benefits, but don’t give up because there are tons of people who want to help the veterans who sacrificed so much in service to their country.  

 

How to Connect With Military Members as a Business Owner

Like any other market demographic, connecting with military members as a business owner requires a tailored approach. Any time you’re targeting a specific audience, it’s important to think about the steps you’ll take to attract that audience. If you’ve been a member of the military, then you have the upperhand: you know what it takes to attract a customer like you. But with no knowledge of the military, you have to put in a little more effort. 

 

There are many reasons why you’d want to target members of the military. Perhaps you’re developing holiday promotions and want to create a military offer for Veteran’s Day. Or perhaps you own a business that offers services or products that military members would find attractive. Whatever the case, knowing how to move forward will improve your chances for success. Here are a few tips: 

 

Understand Consumption Patterns of Military Members

Before you start creating a strategy of your own, it helps to understand what drives military purchases and what the purchasing patterns for this group looks like. The veteran community alone generates $19 billion in annual revenue, spread across 20 million veterans. Active military members earn over $32,000 annually on average. Accummatively, active members, veterans, and their spouses have $1 trillian in buying power annually. With this level of potential in mind, it’s clear that marketing to this group in tailored way can be beneficial to both your business and the members you serve. 

 

Creating a Gated Offer

You may have heard of gated offers before and simply don’t know there’s a terminology for it. Gated offers are accessible to only qualified buyers, typically through a verification process. Military members enjoy a myriad of gated offers; by showing their ID, they can receive exclusive discounts and deals at restaurants and retailers, for example. 

 

Studies have shown that gated offers evoke positive feelings among consumers, and drive purchase behavior. Eighty-two percent of customers that were introduced to a brand via a gated offer were more likely to return, and 68% of consumers believe that gated offers are more appealing than discounts intended for anyone. As a business owner, you can create your own gated offer to boost awareness, build buzz, and attract military members to your offering. 

 

Be Authentic

No one wants to be a simple transaction, and this especially applies to military members who have put their lives on the line so that all Americans—including business owners—can lead safe lives in their homes and country. Therefore, the messaging you use is important. Always thank a military member for their service; this token of appreciation goes a long way, time and time again. When possible, take your efforts a step further. For example, why not spearhead a direct mail marketing campaign, using personalized envelope printing and handwritten cards? This level of authenticity is rarely found in business, and will help you stand out from your competition. 

 

Promote During Relevant Holidays

If you’re spearheading a military-based campaign, it’s best to align it with a holiday relevant to military members. For instance, May is Military Appreciation Month, but you also have Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day. Each of these would be a great time to launch your program. However, no matter when you choose to promote it, your promotion tactics are equally important. Create targeted social media campaigns, and design marketing materials with strong patriotic imagery. 

 

Engage With the Military Audience

You can combine your targeting efforts with genuine connection by turning to social media to engage with the military audience. By engaging in dialogue, it shows that you’re interested in learning more about the people you intend to target. Ask for their advice, offer kind words, and be transparent. You should also get involved with your military community, too. Head over to Meetup.com and search for military-minded events in the area. You may even be able to sponsor an event for military members, which further builds awareness around your brand and allows you to have more of a face-to-face connection with your audience. 

 

Teeing Up Our Nation’s Heroes For Recovery

Reflecting on the healing powers of adaptive sports after the World’s Largest Golf Outing

Earlier this month, I had the chance to witness hundreds of golf courses and golfers across the country join forces to participate in the World’s Largest Golf Outing (WLGO). As an avid golfer, seeing so many golfers take the courses was even more special for me because, for the fourth year in a row, the event sought to raise awareness and funds for Fisher House Foundation. 

For most WLGO participants, the tournament is another great way to hit the links, but for our nation’s heroes, golf and other sports can mean so much more. For many returning service members and veterans, the battle is only just beginning. Thousands of veterans have wounds both visible and invisible that require an incredible amount of strength to overcome. In fact, in 2016, approximately four million veterans reported having a disability related to their time in service (U.S. Census Bureau). 

After an injury and a world turned upside down, patients embark on the difficult path to recovery. Throughout the rehabilitation process, some turn to adaptive sports. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, those who participate in adaptive sports experience less stress, lower dependency on pain medicine, fewer secondary conditions and greater independence.

Captain Will Reynolds has experienced the healing power of sports firsthand. In 2004, Will was severely injured by in an IED explosion that led to 26 surgeries and the eventual amputation of his left leg. In an effort to relieve stress and set recovery goals, Will turned to sports, going on to compete in the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games, where he won three bronze medals and served as captain of the 2016 U.S. Invictus Games team.  

Or take a look at U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brad Snyder. In 2011, Brad stepped on an IED while helping victims of a nearby bombing, leading to severe injuries including a shattered eardrum and loss of vision. In his difficult recovery and journey back into civilian life, he found solace in swimming and went on to win seven gold medals at the Warrior Games and one gold medal at the Paralympics.

Fisher House is proud to support our military members throughout their recovery and to work with the unique organizations paving the way through adaptive sports. At the WLGO, it was incredible to watch community members of all ages coming together to honor our military and witness many recovering veterans and service members get out on the course and play. Through this support, Billy Casper Golf raised more than $308,000 to help us continue to our mission to serve our nation’s heroes.

At Fisher House, we know that the best medicine doesn’t always come from a doctor’s office. It can come from a family’s love, the connections we make with one another or the healing power of sports. We’re proud to stand with military families through the tough times and be there to witness their triumphs on or off the field. Giving back and standing beside our military can also come in a variety of different ways. Whether it’s through a donation, volunteering or simply thanking a veteran for their service, I urge readers to take the time to give back to our nation’s heroes.  

Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House

Great Things for Returning Veterans To Learn

Great Things for Returning Veterans to Learn

Returning to civilian life after military life isn’t easy. It takes some time to adjust to your new lifestyle and your new routines. One question that a lot of veterans face once they return home is “What’s next?” Finding a job after the military is often tough because vets can’t imagine themselves doing anything else. But luckily, there are a ton of jobs out there that are looking for veterans. You just might have to learn a few extra things in order to get the job. Here are some great things for vets to learn when they get home to help them land a job and improve their lives.

How to Start a Business

Before you start thinking about how to get a job, why not create a job? Many veterans are able to turn the skills they’ve acquired into starting their own business. What’s something you’re passionate about or have an interest in? Start exploring the possibilities and developing business ideas. From there you’ll just need to learn a few other things, like how to write up a business plan, how to secure funding, how to find a location for your business, and how to bring in customers/clients. Starting a business isn’t easy, but you wouldn’t have joined the military if you didn’t like a challenge.

How to Teach

A great post-service career for veterans is that of a teacher. Teachers are always in demand, and your skills learned during your service will make you an attractive hire. Many veterans are looking for ways to continue serving their community after they exit, and teaching is a great way to do this. To become a teacher, you’ll likely have to earn your degree or some teaching certifications. What you need will vary from state to state, so check out the rules in your local area. In the meantime you may be able to start substitute teaching so you can try it out and see if you like it.

How to do Construction

Some veterans would prefer to work with their hands, so learning how to do construction is a good choice for them. With construction work you get to spend the day doing tough labor, but at the end of the project there’s an enormous sense of pride. You may need some skills or certifications before you can begin, but these aren’t too tough to get. For instance, you could check out a local vocational school to learn things like welding. Or you could even get an online forklift certification. Think about what type of construction work you want to do, then look into the skills and certifications necessary to land a job doing it.

How to Manage Your Finances

Whatever job you get, it’s important that you learn how to manage your money properly. You don’t want to land a job and quickly find yourself in debt or realize too late that you didn’t plan well for your retirement. Look for some local classes in your area that can teach you about budgeting, saving and investing. These money management skills can then not only help you in your personal life, but you can even use them to land a job.

Computer Proficiency

These days many jobs are all about computers. Even a lot of entry-level jobs will require that you have proficiency in things like social media, spreadsheets or word processing tools.  To make your resume more attractive for whatever job you’re after, it’s good if you have some basic computer skills. Most areas offer classes either at schools or your library, or you can even find some online courses. Don’t worry if computers aren’t really your thing at the moment – mastering the basics isn’t too difficult. And who knows, you may develop a love for computers and end up getting a job like a computer systems analyst or web designer.

Mechanical Skills

Finally, another option for those of you who want to work with your hands is getting some mechanical skills. There are many jobs you can do where you’re fixing or installing machinery or equipment, but you’ll need some training before you do. Consider looking into becoming a certified HVAC technician, a mechanic, or even an electrician. You can do this through vocational schools or perhaps an apprenticeship program. Once you have these skills, combined with your military service, you’ll be an attractive hire for any business.

So, take some time to think about what type of job it is you’d like to do. Then get started acquiring the skills necessary to do it. The military gives you plenty of skills to get a job, but adding in a few extra never hurts.

Texas Continues to Deliver Resources Veterans Can Use for Their Startups

Texas Continues to Deliver Resources Veterans Can Use for Their Startups

When your service in the military ends, a big question then looms in front of you – what next? Many veterans embark on their new career, using the skills they learned in the service to land a job. Others use the opportunity to start that business they’ve always dreamed of.

Small business ownership is a great option for veterans, as it requires many of the skills you gained during your service, such as passion, leadership and ingenuity. Best of all, there are many resources available to veterans to help them start the business, especially if you live in a place like Texas. Here are just a few of the types of resources Texas provides to veterans looking to create a startup.

Learn How to Start a Business

As is often the case for both veterans and non-veterans alike, you have a strong desire to start a business, but you have no idea where to begin or how to do it. You feel like you’d be excellent at running a business once it’s started, but getting there is a mystery. Luckily, there are some great organizations that can provide all the information you need.

For example, there’s the Veteran Entrepreneur Program run by the Texas Veterans Commission. This program provides a ton of information and resources. They work with veterans along every stage of the startup journey, providing guidance wherever you may need it. They can also provide you with a “Veteran Verification Letter” for your business and put you in contact with other businesses owners in the area.

 Another option is the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), which also provides veterans with resources for starting their own business. This one is located in Edinburg, so perhaps it’s a little closer to home depending on where you live. But no matter what area of Texas you’re currently residing in, you can rest assured there is some program nearby that aims to help veterans learn how to start a business.

Get Help Winning Contracts

Once you have your startup running, you may need to secure some contracts. If you’ve never done this before, you may need some help learning not only about how it works, but about how you can win them. For this you can turn to a resource like The Angelina College Procurement Assistance Center. The ACPAC is a nonprofit that assists businesses in East Texas in securing contracts from government agencies. They provide workshops, counseling assistance, and much more. If you’re in the area, schedule an appointment and see how they can help you.

Make Connections

Another important aspect of running a successful business is forming connections with other business owners in the area. By networking and making connections with other business owners, you can find ways to improve your business and generate new customers. However, it’s not always easy to make these connections when you’re first starting out.

One way to start is by looking at organizations like The Texas Military Officers Association. This nonprofit is for current and veteran military officers who want to become business owners. They have monthly gatherings where the members can meet to discuss their business plans and make connections. This particular organization is located in the Austin area, but there are plenty of other ways to network throughout Texas.

Get Discounted Supplies

Finally, your business will need some supplies to operate. As a military veteran, you can get a discount at places like Office Depot and OfficeMax to help supply your business. If you need to set up an entire office space, there are other ways to get discount supplies.  For example, let’s say you wanted to install some cubicles in your new office space. According to ROSI Office Systems, a provider of used cubicles in Houston, you can “save up to 70% with used or remanufactured cubicles.” This is just another way that Texas businesses make it easy for veterans to get started on a tight budget.

Make the Most of Available Resources

Veterans are used to operating within a team. Once you leave the service, it’s important to remember that there is still a team of people you can rely on, especially when it comes to starting up a business in Texas. There are many organizations and non-profits standing by to provide you with all the assistance you could possibly need, from planning your startup to landing your first customers. So, once you decide that you want to start your own business, don’t feel like you have to go it alone. Make the most of the resources that are available to you, and before long you’ll have the small business you’ve been dreaming of.