The Defense Department estimates that as many as 245,000 enlisted service members and officers will leave each year through 2019, according to "US Military Veterans' Difficult Transitions Back to Civilian Life and the VA's Response," a report published by Brown University.
And many service members are not remotely prepared for their transition, even after attending a transition assistance program. And the choices about how and where to get help are confusing, not useful or out of date.
Here is a list of various resources, websites and organizations that can help former military service members find -- and thrive -- in their next occupation.
Federal Government Veterans' Employment Resources
Veterans Employment Center: The VEC is the federal government's single online tool for connecting transitioning service members, veterans and their families to meaningful career opportunities in the public and private sectors. The VEC was created in collaboration with the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Labor, Defense and Education, the Small Business Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.
U.S. Department of Defense - Veterans: The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest federal employer of veterans. This DoD recruitment website provides veterans who want to serve as a DoD civil servant the information and opportunity to do so.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Provides a veterans guide and FAQ for understanding employment rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in areas such as recruiting, interviewing, special hiring preferences and accommodating veterans with disabilities.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) FEDSHIREVETS: This OPM government-wide veterans employment website provides federal employment information, including details about veterans' preference, how federal jobs are filled and unique veteran appointing authorities designed to help veterans find a job within the federal government.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL): The DOL has multiple websites providing employment resources and assistance to veterans, including but not limited to:
- America's Heroes at Work: provides an employer toolkit for developing or enhancing a veteran's recruitment and hiring initiative.
- Recovery and Employment Assistance Lifelines (REALifelines) provides online resources and contact information for one-on-one employment assistance to help wounded and injured service members and veterans transition into the civilian workforce.
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides information from the DOL Veterans' Employment and Training Service, including rules and regulations related to employing veterans, fact sheets and access to the USERRA's interactive tool that answers questions about employer rights and responsibilities.
- Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) provides employment resources and expertise for meaningful careers for veterans, employers and service providers.
- Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, as amended (VEVRAA), provides information and technical assistance resources related to the DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program's (OFCCP) new regulations to improve job opportunities for protected veterans among federal contractors, such as hiring benchmarks, invitation to self-identify and data collection.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): The VA has multiple websites providing employment resources and assistance to veterans, including but not limited to:
- Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) provides information on CWT also known as Veterans Industries, and access to the VA vocational rehabilitation program that matches and supports work-ready Veterans in competitive jobs, and consults with business and industry regarding their specific employment needs.
- The Veterans Affairs Career (VA Careers) site provides career development resources and detailed information about career opportunities offered at the VA.
- The Veterans Employment Toolkit provides a variety of resources for employers, managers or supervisors, and human resource professionals.
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment for Veterans provides access to vocational rehabilitation and employment services to help with job training, employment accommodations, resume development and job-seeking skills coaching. Other services may be provided to assist veterans in starting their own businesses or independent living services.
Private Sector Veterans' Employment Resources
Following is a list of select private sector veterans employment resources providing free career, training and employment services and support.
AbilityOne program: The Defense Department is the largest customer of the federally managed AbilityOne program, which works with private and public groups to provide goods and services to the government and jobs for the blind and other people who have severe disabilities. The program's diverse national workforce includes more than 1,500 military veterans with disabilities.
CareerOneStop: An American Jobs Center website providing veterans access to valuable online resources to find or keep a job.
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV): EBV, a collaboration of eight college, university and training institutions, offers cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business development and management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. All services are free of charge to eligible veterans.
Helmets to Hardhats: Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects trades and other employers in the construction industry with qualified veterans and provides free federally approved apprenticeship programs. Helmets to Hardhats supplements its existing program with the Disabled American Veterans' "Wounded Warrior" program.
Hero 2 Hired (H2H): H2H employment coordinators provide free quality career readiness assistance to Reserve component service members preparing for the next civilian career, as well as assistance to employers interested in hiring veterans. H2H has employment coordinators in each state, territory and the District of Columbia.
Hire Heroes USA: Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military transitioning service members through personalized employment training and corporate engagement. Services, such as effective job search, job application, job interviewing techniques and resume review, are provided at no cost. A partner website, VetNet, is a career resource collaboration between the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Hire Heroes.
Hire Our Heroes: Hire Our Heroes assists transitioning veterans in gaining full-time employment. No-cost services include one-on-one monthly coaching and mentoring sessions by veterans and volunteers out of Corporate America, networking events and group training across North America. Assistance with resume writing, social media training and connecting with employers looking to hire veterans is also provided.
JOFDAV -- Job Opportunities for Disabled American Veterans: Offering a nonprofit job board for Disabled American Veterans (DAV), this organization works in concert with many Wounded Warrior transition command centers, disabled veterans outreach programs (DVOPs), local veterans employment representatives (LVERs) and multiple military organizations to support veterans in their job search for employment. Veterans can register free of charge and post resumes to gain access to more than 40,000 active jobs.
Paralyzed Veterans of America -- Operation PAVE: Operation PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment) has offices in every VA spinal cord injury center and provides one-on-one career counseling to all veterans seeking to transition to civilian employment. All services, from résumé assistance, interview preparation, vocational counseling or employer networking, are provided at no charge.
RecruitMilitary: RecruitMilitary is a veteran-owned and -operated firm specializing in assisting employers with military-to-civilian recruiting by using veteran career fairs, professional recruiting services and a diverse range of targeted online and traditional recruiting mechanisms. Recruit military also provides job board registration free of charge to veterans and their spouses.
Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF): The IVMF provides resources and support services to veterans and their families to identify and pursue employment opportunities, leveraging skills and experiences gained in military service and new skills and knowledge gained post-service. The IVMF assists employers with strategies to recruit, assimilate, retain and advance veterans and military families in employment.
Veterati: Veterati is a first-of-its-kind digital mentorship platform built by veterans and a military spouse specifically for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses. This platform allows our target audience to network and connect with multiple business professionals who volunteer their time to provide feedback, guidance and advice through live conversations. This past year, Veterati helped thousands of service members and military spouses receive career guidance, job preparedness, job leads and land real jobs.
Wounded Warrior Project - Warriors to Work Program (WWP): Through its economic empowerment services, the WWP offers higher education programs, information technology training and employment assistance services to encourage economic empowerment to provide long-term financial stability supports to wounded warriors who incur service-connected wounds, injuries and illnesses (physical or psychological) on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Employers interested in this program can post jobs and review the resumes of qualified veterans with disabilities.
Want to Know More About the Military?
Be sure to get the latest news about the U.S. military, as well as critical info about how to join and all the benefits of service. Subscribe to Military.com and receive customized updates delivered straight to your inbox.