The Struggle to Turn Military Skills into Civilian Jobs

Military 2 Career
Military 2 Career

The U.S. military provides high-level training for those in active service, but once their service ends, veterans are finding that this training doesn’t always lend itself to landing a civilian job. Even though the federal government is investing billions of dollars into veteran education and training for civilian jobs, a recent story by NPR’s All Things Considered noted that the veteran unemployment rate still remains higher than the national average.

One of the biggest challenges for veterans is being able to translate what they learned in training or during combat onto paper or in a resume. While some military skills do translate into certifications in fields such as security work, there are others that do not. In fact, the NPR program even found that a veteran who worked as a combat medic would not be considered to have the proper training to become an EMT.

With the American intervention in Afghanistan drawing to a close, there will be more and more veterans coming home with hopes of landing civilian jobs. The question remains, are the Montgomery GI Bill and Post-9/11 GI Bill, designed to help veterans get the training and education they need, serving our vets as they should, or are they still failing to find jobs to match their skill sets?

For this very reason, the Student Veterans of America conducted a study to track the success rate of veterans who are utilizing these bills to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate. The study found that these veterans had a graduation rate of 51.7%, a rate similar to traditional college students.

The study also noted that while it might take veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan longer to complete their degrees, due to the unique challenges they face, they are still determined to obtain their degrees, with some even going on to pursue additional higher education degrees. Additionally, because veterans are looking to obtain jobs in high demand, they are most interested in graduating with a degree in business, homeland security, law enforcement, computer and information sciences.

Making the Transition Less of a Struggle

While the transition from combat life to civilian life isn’t easy for veterans, with some even taking jobs below their skill level, this SVA study may help shed some light on the benefits of utilizing the GI bills to complete or pursue a degree. Many veterans’ groups agree more studies are necessary to understand whether or not these bills are translating into real jobs for veterans, and to ensure continued government funding.

Professional Diversity Network is proud to support our veterans through our Military 2 Career Network. If you are a veteran seeking a job, don’t forget to join this network, which connects you with companies recruiting military veteran professionals, or update your profile.

What are your thoughts on this new study? Have you used the GI bill to obtain a degree? Are you a recently returned veteran about to enter the civilian job force? Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

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