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Helping Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

There are many resources available for veterans to help them transition back into civilian life. The Department of Defense Office of Warrior Care Policy has dozens of resources designed to help veterans returning from war. One post in particular, Wounded warriors and families encouraged to keep minds and bodies strong, utilize health resources states:

“With the serious medical issues that wounded warriors and their families and caregivers face everyday, it is easy to overlook the healthy behaviors that prevent or reduce the likelihood of future medical problems,” said John R. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy (WCP). “We want to encourage them to take advantage of the many programs and resources, such as WCP’s Warrior Athletic Reconditioning Program activities, available to help make healthy lifestyle choices.”

The post encourages wounded warriors and their support network to work collaboratively to improve wellness all year round, some great resources they provide are:

All of these are important solutions to help veterans transition to civilian life. Further, providing a clear path to civilian employment is also part of the solution, as many veterans have launched successful companies. On August 9, Google, Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Startup Weekend, participated in an event in San Diego which highlighted Veteran entrepreneurs. Google states that although veterans represent only 6% of the US population, they represent 13.5% of US small business owners.

At Startup Weekend, veterans were provided trainings to learn how to best take advantage of the web to grow their business. “More than 200 service members learned about free tools to create a web site, track and measure their web presence and market their product or service,” stated Google.

Google highlighted some of the veteran owned businesses in attendance, including Misty Birchall, founder of PubCakes. Misty is a Navy Veteran and PubCakes combines baking and craft beer. The post also states, “Marine Corps sergeant turned organic farmer Colin Archipley brought many participants from Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training, an entrepreneurial incubator program he founded to help transitioning veterans train for careers in sustainable agriculture.”

For Google, the commitment to help veterans extends beyond just Startup Weekend, Google for Veterans and Families is another great resources for veterans. The site description states:

“This site was made by some veterans, family of veterans and friends who work at Google. We understand the challenges of serving, coming home and transitioning to civilian life. We’ve been there. Some of us are still figuring it out. Here are some free Google products we’ve gathered together that have made our lives easier. Hopefully, they can do the same for you.”

The Tools for Veterans Section offers a lot of services that can be used by soldiers either abroad or during their transition into civilian life.

  • Record your military story
  • Explore your life after service
  • Connect with fellow veterans
  • Reconnect with your loved ones
  • Connect with civilians
  • Stay in touch while you’re deployed

The tools for families also provides a lot of great resources:

  • Reconnect with your veteran
  • Connect with peer support

Veterans deserve the utmost care and support when returning home from war and transitioning into civilian life. Providing broader access and sharing knowledge about programs designed to help aid in the transition to civilian life is a great first step, and important to providing the care and attention that our veterans deserve.

Google is a public and profitable company focused on search services. It’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Check out their Google for Gov group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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Kathleen Smith

There are many great programs out there for companies and individuals to be involved. It just takes a long term commitment on their part.

Chris Cairns

Great piece. I’m really encouraged to see such community involvement from the likes of Google in helping vets transition to civilian life.

Pat Fiorenza

Thanks for the comments. It is for a sure a life long commitment, as you have identified, Kathleen. I was really happy to have found the Google for Veterans and Families site, it’s great to see people reaching out and supporting on another, and support from Google as well. There are a lot of great initiatives going on to help veterans, but there is a lot more work that needs to be done as well to properly take care of our veterans.

Daniel Crystal

Connecting with other veterans is really key. I wonder if the VA has any sort of national mentoring program for transitioning veterans. I chose my first post-Army job specifically because my boss was a retired Army major, and figured that he could help me transition from military to civilian life. Having someone that has seen both sides really helped.

Pat Fiorenza

Hey Daniel, thanks for your comment and more importantly, thanks for your service.

I did a quick Google search and found this mentorship program, specifically for Vets in the workforce: Veterans as Mentors.

Here is another: Mentor-Protege Program

And another!

Vets-for-Vets (from Sacremento State)

Also, I remember seeing online that the Marine’s having something on their Facebook page, “Find a Marine,” which connected veterans to each other. I thought that was a great service to offer. Another site I found (not a .gov, but still interesting) is “Together We Served

I bet there are quite a few more out there too, thanks again!

David Dejewski

Having worked for the Military Health System for 18 years, I’m familiar with most of the programs listed above. The MHS is deidicated to helping active duty, veterans, and their families to stay healthy and employed.

A not-so-widely known program is called the Computer/ Electronic Accomodations Program (CAP). The program exists to ensure that people with disabilities and wounded service members have equal access to the information environment and employment opportunities in the Federal government. The woman who runs the program, Dinah Cohen, is a delightful woman. Her office was down the hall from mine at one point. I know she and her team to be dedicated to supporting people with disabilities.

“CAP is working to remove barriers to federal employment opportunities by eliminating the costs of assistive technology.”

Perhaps one of the coolest features of this program is the fact that they will pay for assitive technology – even building renovations – to accomodate qualified applicants. They make working for the Federal government a lot easier. If you or someone you know may qualify for this program, I highly encourage you to take a look at the FAQ / Brochure I linked to and contact the office.