By Emily Anderson, U.S. Army Warrior Transition CommandNovember 2, 2012
Alexandria, VA -- Employment for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers is a priority for Army leadership, Soldiers and Veterans. There are several avenues for assistance and Army experts emphasize that Soldiers must do their part by researching their chosen career field and being prepared when they take on entering the civilian job market.
"It's important that Soldiers start the Army Career and Alumni Program process as early as possible, and take the Transition Assistance Program workshops seriously," said Nancy Adams, Career and Education Readiness branch chief, Warrior Transition Command (WTC). "They need to do the research, and go the extra mile".
"The process is easier for some Soldiers than others. It can be very difficult for enlisted Soldiers or officers who want to return to duty to even think about leaving military service as a possibility," she added. "However, they all need a plan B, whether it is going to college or getting an extra certification. Soldiers should think about and consider these as potential options that will make them more marketable, provide more professional credibility and increase their skill sets."
Jennifer Leonard, a WTC action officer, also believes that research is key for Soldiers and Veterans who are transitioning out of the military into civilian life.
"Soldiers should look at their hobbies as well as military duties and skills," Leonard said. "I always ask - in addition to what you did in the military, what do you like to do?"
"While people transitioning out of military service should consider their military skills and abilities, it's also important to do what you enjoy," Leonard said. "they should make sure what they want to do will provide financially for their family in the location they are looking to live and consider that salaries are not likely the same in Des Moines, Iowa as in Washington D.C."
According to Adams, one major obstacle is common. "The biggest challenge is having Soldiers come to us with a well thought out plan and having a sense of what they want to do, and being willing to try something different," Adams said.
"They need to be open to suggestions of career counselors, willing to take control of their career search, understand their "new normal" with a disability, and know what they can and may not be able to do," she said. "There are opportunities out there -- whether it is education, a new job, an internship, or starting your own business. Soldiers can continue to thrive and contribute whether in the military or not."
Soldiers and Veterans looking for additional assistance can visit:
Army Career & Alumni Program - ACAP helps Soldiers transitioning from military service to make informed career decisions through benefits counseling and employment assistance. ACAP is responsible for delivering both transition assistance and employment assistance services. While the ACAP Center traditionally has been the principal service provider for these services, now transitioners have the option to use the ACAP On-Line website to receive services from any location with Internet capability 24/7. https://www.acap.army.mil
Department of Labor -- Each state Department of Labor employs Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) representatives and Local Veterans Employment (LVER) Representatives who work in the one Stop Career Centers. To find your local DVOP/LVER use the DVOP/LVER locator website. http://dvoplverlocator.nvti.ucdenver.edu
Hero 2 Hired - Hero2Hired (H2H) was created to make it easy for service members to connect to and find jobs with military-friendly companies. H2H also offers career exploration tools, military-to-civilian skills translations, education and training resources, as well as a mobile app. Support for H2H is provided through the Department of Defense's Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. https://h2h.jobs
U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command - Serves as the lead proponent for the Army's Warrior Care and Transition Program. WTC ensures that non-clinical processes and programs that support wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers are integrated and optimized throughout the Army, and supports the Army's commitment to the rehabilitation and successful transition of wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers back to active duty or to Veteran status. http://www.wtc.army.mil/