Transitioning from military to civilian life involves far more than a change in lifestyle. For many retiring service members, navigating the move from active duty to a civilian career can be challenging. For one, it can be difficult to know where to begin the process of obtaining a job. What line of work would you like to pursue? Will you need to go back to school? How do you translate your military experience to match civilian job requirements? Which companies are actively hiring veterans? Are there are any scholarships, grants, or special programs you can take advantage of?
To answer the dizzying number of questions you may have, you can turn to one of the many career transition resources that have guided military personnel like yourself through the transition process. Here’s a look at just a few organizations that are dedicated to helping veterans make a seamless transition back to civilian life:
1. Call of Duty Endowment
In 2007, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick established the Call of Duty Endowment to provide military veterans with more than symbolic thanks for their service. Looking to fulfill an unmet need, he and his team sought to connect veterans with good employment. Since 2009, the Endowment has helped more than 54,000 veterans find reliable work by funding the charities and other organizations that directly assist them in their search for jobs.
The Call of Duty Endowment supports veterans in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Spending an average of $522 per veteran, the organization operates efficiently, spending just one-sixth as much as the government does to place a veteran in a well-paying job. (The average starting salary of a veteran placed by one of the organization’s grantees is $58,250.) Through these efforts, the Endowment hopes to find jobs for 100,000 veterans by the year 2024.
Vetted is the vision of a retired Navy Seal Lieutenant Commander who embarked on a mission to help other transitioning personnel find work in the private sector. Since partnering with the University of Texas at Austin and major companies like Facebook and Southwest Airlines, the organization has facilitated educational programming for veterans looking to become corporate leaders and entrepreneurs.
Through Vetted, retired service members complete a five-step transition process that begins with transition preparation. Over the following two phases, participants complete both distance and residence education. These courses cover nearly every aspect of business, from marketing to entrepreneurial finance. Participants also hone critical skills such as personal branding, business writing, and negotiation.
Following the successful completion of the educational program, participants then receive career placement services. Vetted also keeps in touch with the veterans it supports, providing ongoing mentoring services after the completion of the program.
3. Student Veterans of America
For many transitioning military members, obtaining a college education is the first step they must take on their path toward civilian employment. Nonprofits such as Student Veterans of America (SVA) support them on this journey by connecting them with the resources and networks they need to thrive in school.
SVA represents a vast coalition of more than 700,000 student veterans in almost 1,500 chapters worldwide. Not only does SVA provide scholarships to its members, but it also hosts leadership summits to help veterans build their professional skills. In addition, SVA’s Leadership Institute offers an immersive three-day program for outstanding chapter leaders.
Beyond its direct support of student veterans and student veterans’ groups, SVA also conducts research initiatives to inform the public and policymakers about the importance of education for veterans. The National Veteran Education Success Tracker, for example, provides insights on which majors veterans are choosing and how many complete their degrees.
Through all of these initiatives, SVA aims to help more veterans achieve success in both their academic pursuits and, ultimately, their civilian careers.
4. Helmets to Hardhats
The nonprofit Helmets to Hardhats navigates both transitioning and retired military personnel toward successful careers in the construction sector. The organization allows these service members to capitalize on their military skills by connecting them with trade employers in the construction industry.
Helmets to Hardhats facilitates several career programs that provide training to those who want to work in specialized construction fields. These initiatives place veterans in apprenticeships that enable them to gain experience in different areas of construction over a period of three to five years. This valuable on-the-job experience allows participants to earn money while acquiring the skills and knowledge for a long-term, well-paid career in the industry.
5. Veteran Jobs Mission
The Veteran Jobs Mission comprises more than 200 organizations from several industries. Since its humble beginnings as a group of 11 companies in 2011, the coalition has grown to serve over 500,000 veterans nationwide. Today, the Veteran Jobs Mission includes major companies like Accenture, Bloomberg, Cigna, Comcast, Delta, State Farm, and many more.
Transitioning military personnel can embark on their journey toward civilian employment by connecting with the Veteran Jobs Mission’s resources. For example, the coalition has collaborated with the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) to provide retiring veterans with career training.
However, the Veteran Jobs Mission makes its biggest impact through hiring. Not only do the members of the coalition constantly look to add the best military talent to their teams, but they also focus on helping their hires advance in their careers. By sharing their hiring numbers and best practices, these companies are supporting each other’s efforts to empower veterans and their families.