Each year, more than 15,000 Sailors and Marines stationed in and near San Diego separate from active duty military service. With over half of these men and women remaining in the area, San Diego County boasts the third largest population of Veterans in the nation. With so many Veterans concentrated in one area, competition for jobs and Veteran resources in such a relatively small community can be tough. Veterans need all the assistance they can get to maintain an edge in the job market, even over other Veterans. The good news is that a new community collaboration called “Zero8hundred” has begun assisting San Diego area Veterans to transition into civilian jobs.
The name Zero8hundred is the spelled out way of saying the military time of 0800, and can be attributed to a few concepts that the organization wishes to represent. The time 0800 or 8:00 a.m. is the time of day when many civilian professionals arrive at work. This reference is intended to recognize the ambitions of professional employment that many Veterans aspire to. Also, according to Zero8hundred’s Executive Director, Sean Mahoney, a retired Coast Guard Captain (O-6), Zero8hundred’s name also pays homage to the daily military tradition that occurs every day on base at 0800– morning colors, when the U.S. flag is raised, and service members stop what they’re doing to salute the raising of the flag. Mahoney hopes that his organization will reflect that daily observance by the community, stopping what they’re doing, and honoring Veterans.
The stated mission of the Zero8hundred organization is to “proactively link transitioning military families to a broad range of resources and opportunities in the community, helping them successfully transition to civilian life.”
In order to achieve their mission, Zero8hundred asks Veterans to subscribe to their site. Once their free account is activated, service members, Veterans and their family members have access to a wealth of resources through Zero8hundred, which include Basic Needs, Education & Jobs, Physical & Mental Health, and Social/Personal Connections.
Zero8hundred also assigns its subscribers with “navigators.” These men and women are all interns from the University of Southern California’s social work master’s program. Navigators track exiting service members, beginning as far out as six months before their discharge from active duty, and touch base with their Veterans at three month intervals, for one full year after separation from service.
The purpose of Zero8hundred is to give Veterans their best chance to be successful in every aspect of their civilian lives, whether it is through benefits information, education advice, counseling for PTSD or substance abuse, or even helping them locate emergency financial grants.
It is the hope of Zero8hundred leaders that they will become a national model for effectively connecting transitioning military families to a broad array of community resources, all of which will ease their transition into the civilian sectors of their communities.
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: Zero8hundred: Pioneering Veteran Assistance: By Debbie Gregory