1 share

Improving employment outcomes for those leaving the armed forces

People leaving the military face particular challenges in re-entering the job market: lack of confidence and experience on the 'outside' can see them unemployed, or in a job not commensurate with their abilities.
People Impacted
$ 409B
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

Veterans continue to struggle to gain employment because of culture gaps between civilian society and their military pasts, as well as a lack of seamless integration amongst Veteran care programs (USDVA).

The veteran unemployment rate was reported to be at 3.2% as of September 2019. Providing resources that help vets apply their unique and valuable skillset to meaningful work can help reduce this unemployment rate (USDVA).

Symptoms and Causes

In spite of a strong work ethic and dedication to mission accomplishment, many veterans continue to find it difficult to secure a position in the civilian workforce. (USDVA).

1. Skills translation

Unless veterans are applying for defense contracting jobs, they have to translate their military skills into civilian terms. Civilians don't always understand military acronyms, MOS, or military terminology, and they aren't going to take the time to learn.

2. Skill mismatch.

The military helped transform the men and women of the armed forces into leaders with excellent work ethics, but that does not mean veterans are trained to do every job. Veterans would do well to remember that employers are looking for specific skills, not just general potential. Employers should keep an open mind and make it clear on job postings and websites what they are looking for. It may simply be an issue of skills translation.

3. Negative stereotypes

Some employers see veterans as too rigid or formal. Other stereotypes include problems with anger management or post-traumatic stress.  One way veterans can work to overcome the stereotype of rigidity is to prepare for interviews. Employers would benefit by remembering that this perceived rigidity is simply a sign of discipline and hard work. Veterans have learned to be adaptable and will soon learn to fit into work culture as well.

4. Concern about future deployments

Guardsmen and reservists face challenges associated with having to miss work for deployments, especially if they are seeking employment with small businesses. These individuals must maintain familiarity with the laws protecting reservists and be honest about their continuing military commitment. Employers should recognize that most veterans and active duty members of the military hold themselves to a high ethical standard, and will therefore be forthcoming regarding any commitments they may have.

5. Acclimation

Some employers are concerned that veterans don't completely fit into corporate culture. Fortunately, employers can do their part to communicate their culture, so that the veteran can determine this for themselves before applying for a position with the company. Often the concerns employers have about veterans are simply stereotypes or small hurdles that can easily be overcome.

the impact
Negative Effects

Having millions of men and women who formerly dedicated their lives to protecting a country that now fails to employ and house them is bad socially and economically. Due to rising unemployment rates rising amidst coronavirus pandemic, this group of people become especially vulnerable to homelessness, health issues and more.

The effects of veteran unemployment extend far beyond a lack of income and the risk of poverty. Especially in cases of extended unemployment, a veteran’s health can deteriorate in addition to experiencing financial and emotional decline. The two most prominent health related effects of veteran unemployment include depression and suicide (Cavness).

Economic Impact

More than 1 million veterans filed for jobless benefits in April 202, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At 11.7 percent, the unemployment rate for veterans was two points higher than its peak during the 2008 recession, and nearly triple the reported level from the first quarter of the year (3.5 percent in March)Younger veterans seeking jobs were hit even harder. Federal researchers reported a 13 percent unemployment rate for veterans of the post-9/11 era. Nearly half of all unemployed veterans in America left the service in the last two decades (Military Times).

Success Metrics
  • Reduce the veteran unemployment rate by at least 30%

  • Implement nationwide employment counseling services for veterans and employers alike

  • Eliminate the stereotypes concerning rigidity of veterans in the general public and workforce

who benefits from solving this problem
Organization Types
  • US Military Branches

  • United States Department of Veteran Affairs

  • Veteran Administration

  • Current Military Members

  • Veterans

  • Anyone who is a part of the workforce

  • Employers

financial insights
Current Funding

The USO creates and maintains strong connections between service members and their families, homes and country, no matter where they serve. The USO expresses America’s gratitude and commitment to service members and their families through programs focused on connection, strengthening, wellness and resiliency.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides information, resources, and tools to service members and their loved ones to help prepare for the move from military to civilian life.

Ideas Description

Promote Apps and Programs that Specifically Focus on Matching Military Skillsets to a Civilian Workforce

Developed by GoodPeople, a digital innovation agency specializing in employment matching services, Transition Force sees them turn their expertise towards serving those who have served.

Ensure Counseling and Financial Advisors are Readily Available to all Vets Transitioning to Civilian Life

While most service men and women are offered exit counseling and services when their tour is through, many veterans fall through the cracks once back on American soil. Struggling with the transition, PTSD, culture shock, and more, leads to higher rates of depression, homelessness, and suicide in this extremely vulnerable population.

Input Needed From Contributing Editors
(click on any tag to contribute)