By Debbie Gregory.
The skills that Veterans gain while they are in the military, such as organization, discipline and problem-solving, should translate well into the private sector. So then why do they face employment obstacles and civilian disconnect after they transition?
One of the main barriers to employment for Veterans include lack of preparation for finding civilian jobs, and unrealistic expectations for the kind of work and salary for which they qualify. For those in supervisory positions, having led troops in battle, often on multiple deployments, doesn’t always translate to a similar civilian position. Many of the boots on the ground service members are trained just for the jobs they do in the military, which don’t translate well in the civilian job market.
Another barrier is unaddressed mental health issues, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many employers are wary of hiring veterans with mental health disorders, viewing them as “broken.” Although many civilian employers want to do the right thing and reward those who have served, they struggle to understand them.
So how do we fix this? According to a report produced by the University of Southern California and Volunteers of America “civilian basic training” is needed as troops transition out of the armed services.
Study co-author Anthony Hassan, an Army and Air Force Veteran, feels that an honest discussion regarding the challenges Veterans face and what they need to succeed needs to be had. While the DoD had put the focus on training troops for war, civilians need to help our troops after they leave the military.
Hassan, the director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families said, “I don’t say veterans are all broken but I don’t say all Veterans are employment ready, either.”
Perhaps what is needed is an expansion of the Transition Assistance Program, aimed at giving troops a crash course in the civilian world. Because the program is the last step between exiting the military and entering the civilian world, many of those participating are just looking to get it over and done with as soon as possible. If the program was expanded, elongating the process so that it wasn’t something to just rush through, it just might prove to be more beneficial, with a better outcome.
Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.
Military Connection: Planning a Successful Transition: by Debbie Gregory