Military veterans have risked their lives for their country but, until recently, have faced a rough time when leaving their military careers to find a job as a civilian.
Some people have begun to realize veterans’ difficulties in this respect and are acting to make things easier for them.
Life back in the real world
Military veterans and ex-service personnel leaving behind their careers in the armed forces face several difficulties. The first difficulty many are likely to encounter is readjusting to civilian life. Some veterans adjust easily, but others find the transition period hard. Why is there this difference? Research has thrown up some interesting answers. Commissioned officers who were college graduates before joining a service were able to adjust to civilian life easier than those who were enlisted, high-school graduates. This was also the case for those personnel with a clear understanding of their mission rather than those who did not know what they were supposed to do.
Of course, a major factor in adjusting to civilian life has been injury, both physical and psychological. Those who had been injured during a mission found it far more difficult to function as a civilian.
Some people and organizations are helping these veterans. In 2014 more than 30 different philanthropic organizations made a pledge to spend $170m plus over a 5-year period, helping veterans and their families with support services, training and assistance in finding jobs. Howard Schultz, the Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks, is at the forefront of a campaign to get ex-soldiers trained for civilian jobs even before their military service ends. His campaign, entitled Onward to Opportunity, works on the principal of plugging the gaps in veterans’ professional competencies, which experts cite as one of the major problems with them finding suitable job roles in civilian life.
Veterans have simply not learned the skills needed for ordinary jobs.
The campaign will target two professional sectors during its early stages, these being customer service and the technology industry. During 2015, the backers, the Schultz Family Foundation, laid out $1.7 million to this end. As well as the coffee chain, Starbucks, other joiners to the cause include JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft.
There are also charitable institutions who are asking for donations and active support to help veterans in getting back to work. One of these is the Call of Duty Endowment charity, which provides grants to the best non-profit organizations in the US who are employing veterans in high-quality jobs, thereby providing an incentive to employers. Veterans need this help because the charity’s research has proved that unemployment among veterans is three times the national average.
The driving force behind Call of Duty Endowment is Bobby Kotick, the founder, co-chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, an interactive entertainment company that has provided more than $18 million in grants to pro-veteran organizations. Call of Duty bestows its Seal of Distinction award on those organizations that have demonstrated a significant commitment to getting veterans back to work. Bobby Kotick tweets regularly so follow him on Twitter to get the latest Call of Duty Endowment news.
Another philanthropist with a desire to help veterans is Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and an investor in TV shows, and someone who began his career in the technology sector. Back in 2003, he founded the Fall Patriot Fund to provide support to families of veterans who injured or killed in the Iraq War.
The Healing Heroes Network is another philanthropic group, which aims to provide medical-based support. The group consists of professionals who try to provide medical care and financial aid to veterans injured during their military service. They also help the families coping with an emotionally fragile veteran. This is one group even the general public can get involved with. The Healing Heroes Network always needs volunteers, as well as donations, such as unwanted clothes and other household goods, and of course, money.
Those serving in the military do a great deal for the country and deserve our recognition and gratitude. They also deserve a decent career after their military service, and it is encouraging to see that there are people in the world with the money and social clout who intend to see they get the chance.