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24 Resources For Veterans Re-Entering The Workforce

In honor of Veterans Day, this collection of resources can help military veterans and their spouses find new careers, businesses, and opportunities in civilian life.

24 Resources For Veterans Re-Entering The Workforce
[Photo: Flickr user KurtClark]

Today the U.S. honors its active and retired military veterans by observing Veterans Day.  The Defense Department estimates that as many 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.

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As these veterans transition to civilian life, there are an increasing number of resources available to help them rejoin the workforce, advance in their careers, launch businesses, or find new occupations. By no means exhaustive, as a service to our veterans this Veterans Day, here is a list of various resources, websites, and organizations that can help former military service members find—and thrive in—their next occupation.

Government Resources

The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs has a wealth of online resources to help veterans find jobs, find companies committed to hiring veterans, and launch businesses. Its Veterans Employment Toolkit lists a variety of veteran-specific and federal employment resources.

Visit the Veterans Employment Center (VEC), which is a vast resource for transitioning service members, veterans, and their families to meaningful career opportunities. Here, you can find help with everything from writing your resume and finding job fairs to uncovering prospective job opportunities.

VetNet is a content-based site that offers training tracks to help veterans determine which career options may be the best fit, as well as basic job skills and entrepreneurship tracks.

For those who dream of being their own boss, the U.S. Small Business Administration has a number of resources for veteran entrepreneurs. Its dedicated Office for Veterans Business Development enables service members to tap into their transferable skills as they transition from service to startup. For the past four years, the SBA has hosted Veterans Small Business Week, which raises awareness of veteran business ownership and encourages communities to support businesses owned by individuals in the military and veteran communities.

In addition, 20 Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) nationwide are dedicated to transition assistance from service into entrepreneurship. The SBA also backs a number of programs that can help veteran entrepreneurs gain access to capital, such as the SBA Veterans Advantage Guaranteed Loans and programs through local VBOCs that offer guidance on the right SBA-backed loan programs for veteran-, military-, and military spouse-owned businesses, as well as online training courses and counseling to become lender-ready.

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The SBA also offers a number of training and transition programs, such as:

Boots to Business (B2B): Offered by SBA and the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. B2B provides participants with an overview of business ownership as a career. Classes are available on military installations.

Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (WVETP): For women veterans, women service members, and women spouses of service members and veterans as they start or grow a business via three WVETP grantees.

Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (SDVETP): This program helps military members who have service-related disabilities.

The National Archives also publishes a list of varied resources to help veterans find employment or business assistance.

Each of these organizations and websites has access to a wealth of other resources and information, so be sure to ask or look for specifics about your particular goals.

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Colleges And Universities

A number of universities have programs and initiatives specifically designed to support veterans. Many colleges and universities have dedicated offices that help veterans and military members access and make use of their training and education-related benefits. So, if you are interested in going back to school, look into these resources at the colleges and universities you’re considering.

One of the most comprehensive higher education resources is Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), an interdisciplinary academic institute focused on advancing the lives of military veterans and their families. IVMF helps veterans go back to school, find new careers, and launch businesses.

Nonprofits and Organizations

A number of nonprofit organizations’ initiatives are devoted to helping military veterans and their families transition to civilian careers. Hire Heroes USA has a singular focus on veteran and military spouse employment, offering training programs, workshops, career fairs, and other tools and resources. For those with specialized skills, Four Block is a nonprofit that helps high-potential veterans prepare for and land jobs at top companies.

The Veteran Business Owner Association (VBOA) provides training, networking, and even funding opportunities to veteran entrepreneurs. The National Veteran-Owned Business Association also provides connections and opportunities for the nation’s veteran-owned businesses.

The Milspro Project was founded on the belief that entrepreneurship provides a solution to military spouse unemployment. A membership organization with meetups around the country, an annual conference, and other resources,

The International Franchise Association (IFA) created VetFran, an initiative that promotes veteran franchise ownership. VetFran provides a $5,000 franchise-fee discount, mentorship, and training programs for any honorably discharged U.S. veteran transitioning to civilian life.

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For veterans who need someone to help them navigate the next steps, eMentor pairs veterans and military spouses with veteran and military spouse mentors online who can help them in their careers or businesses. And the Veteran Business Owners Association can help.

Other

In addition to formal programs, there are some specialized efforts and websites that veterans may find useful in seeking employment, researching career development options, or planning a business launch. The Vet2Biz Life podcast discusses the many aspects of transitioning to civilian life, including job readiness and career development. VeteranOwnedBusiness.com is a free listing for veteran-owned businesses, with more than 28,000 companies in its database.

And while there are too many for-profit companies with active veteran employment initiatives to list, Military Friendly has become a “Best Places to Work” for veterans and military spouses, listing best employers and schools for those groups.

There are many initiatives and organizations dedicated to helping veterans find their next vocation, with more launching each day to help those who have sacrificed in service for their country.

About the author

Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites. She was named a Small Business Influencer Awards Top 100 Champion in 2015, 2014, and 2012 and is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010), and several other books.

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