FINDING SUPPORT THROUGH VETERAN & EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUPS

By Alex Harrington, Executive Director (Acting)

Photo source: RODNAE Productions

One of my favorite all-time movies is “Seabiscuit (2003)”, a story about an undersized Depression-era racehorse who achieves many victories on the racetrack that not only lifts the spirits of the team, but also the nation. There is one particular scene where Red Pollard’s (the young jockey) parents abandon him at an early age. As his parents walk away he is engulfed with fear and anxiety; an overwhelming feeling of desertion as he is thrusted into the harsh world.

For many veterans, especially the enlisted, who transition from military service back to civilian life, they probably can identify with Red Pollard: feeling anxious and alone where once they were part of a unit in an structured and extremely organized environment, wearing the same uniform and executing the same orders, now face non-military life with no comrades to rely on nor clear expectations of operations and missions.

I can personally relate as well, because I faced the very same feelings of anxiety and loneliness when I transitioned back to civilian life, after honorably serving six years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

But unlike my transition back to civilian life many years ago, veterans today have a wide choice of support programs and services to help them acclimate back to private life, especially in federal and non-profit employee resource groups.

Moreover, for those service members who transition back to civilian life—about 200,000 a year—there are well-designed bridge programs that can help them learn the ropes of the private workforce.

Federal veteran employee resources

  • FEDSHIREVETS – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Government-wide Veterans Employment Website is a single site for Federal employment information for Veterans, transitioning military service members, their families, and Federal hiring officials.
  • AmeriCorps Mil-Vet Community – the AmeriCorps program recruits veterans, particularly those who are transitioning from military to civilian life, into service opportunities, including those that utilize military experience. Veterans who serve in AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors gain valuable professional, educational, and life benefits, and the experience can have a lasting impact.
  • Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) Wounded Warrior Program – provides wounded, ill or injured active duty service members with meaningful work experiences intended to assist with their recuperation and transition into the workforce through DIA-wide internship opportunities.
  • Department of the Interior Veterans Employee Resource Group – works to keep Veterans informed and strengthen the ERG relevance by seeking best methods in communications and supporting Veterans to make their lives better through meaningful employment.
  • Department of Labor’s Employment Navigator & Partnership Pilot – provides one-on-one career assistance to interested transitioning service members, and their spouses, at 13 select military installations worldwide.
  • VA 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. 

Non-profit veteran employee resources

Additional Veteran Employment Resources

Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor

Department of Labor Employment Workshop (DOLEW)

American Job Centers and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies

Veteran Entrepreneurship Programs

Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC)

Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP)

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Author: Alex Harrington is currently a Federal civil servant and a Certified Career Services Provider and Global Career Development Facilitator. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a Persian Gulf War veteran.

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