If you (or someone you know) are a military veteran, transitioning to civilian life may seem overwhelming. Figuring out a new career, or starting school or work surrounded by people and a routine (or lack there of) completely different than what you’re used to can be a culture shock. And if you served in some pretty extreme situations that you are still trying to process, it can be difficult not having others who have experienced the same types of things as you by your side.
Luckily there are a lot of services out there to help ease this transition:
REALifelines was created by VETS (the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service). It can help you find out about employment services in your region (which can include one-on-one career counseling), funding options for returning to school, accommodations (such as skill or disability-related accommodations) to help you successfully return to work, and more. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/realifelines.htm
VETS also recommends CareerOneStop. It offers numerous online services including “Veterans ReEmployment” page that can help you match your military skills and experiences to a civilian career and find relevant educational and transition programs. Its “America’s Service Locators” page can help you find a job center right in your area that you can visit or call; the website also indicates which centers have staff that are specialized in working with Veterans one-on-one. http://www.careeronestop.org/ReEmployment/veterans/default.aspx http://www.servicelocator.org/
Feds Hire Vets
In addition to offering career counseling and transition services, FedsHireVets offers a list of federal agencies (from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services) that offer programs that specifically recruit veterans. http://www.fedshirevets.gov/AgencyDirectory/index.aspx
Education Programs Designed for Veterans
Numerous colleges and universities offer degree programs geared for veterans. If you are interested in a criminal justice or related degree, visit our schools by state page where you can request information from each school. (Ask schools that you are interested in if they offer military-friendly programs.)
There are several funding options for veterans that cover part or all of their tuition. These include the Yellow Ribbon Program, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill and other programs. This range of programs is not limited to only those who recently served.
Student Veterans of America
Once enrolled in an educational program, seek additional support specifically geared for veterans at your school. SVA has more than 700 chapters on university and college campuses across the country, which offer a range of programs including social events, peer support and counseling. “Today’s veterans face numerous obstacles in their path of attaining a college degree,” states Student Veterans of America (SVA). “These challenges range from a missing sense of camaraderie to feeling like an outsider amongst 18 year old traditional students to a lack of understanding by university faculty. When coupled with the visible and invisible wounds of war, a college degree can be an elusive goal for men and women returning from military service.” http://www.studentveterans.org/index.php/home/chapters.html
If you are looking for support because you are experiencing distress, anxiety, flashbacks, trouble sleeping, anger, guilt, numbness, suicidal thoughts and more, KNOW that you are not alone—many veterans can relate. Visit our PTSD page for more information on places where you can get help, as well as additional work re-entry resources.