Getting out of the military can be a difficult transition. Once you're out, fitting into the civilian world can be even more difficult. Luckily, there are a plethora of resources and organizations committed to helping both transitioning service members and separated veterans with the change.
Here are 10 of the best free resources for transitioning out of the military
Apprenticeships.gov is your go-to resource for getting into an apprenticeship. You can learn a new trade, get certified in your current/former trade, or have your spouse do the same! These programs can last anywhere from 1-5 years and are essentially paid on-the-job training. You will get a paycheck, usually benefits, certifications for that industry, and typically a job offer after completing the program. Unlike the military, you can leave these programs at any time if you realize you just aren’t feeling it.
2. Save A Suit & Salute 2 Suit
Here are two great resources to build up your business/professional closet. Save A Suit provides free suits and Salute 2 Suit provides affordable, tailored suits. Veterans are highly encouraged to use these resources as civilians pay a pretty penny to purchase their suits, and even more to have them properly tailored. Check out your installation and see if they have a professional clothing closet as well if you have an interview coming up in the next week or two.
3. USO Pathfinder
The USO is a phenomenal resource for those who want more one-on-one assistance and the Pathfinder Transition Program is their premiere program. When you fill out their intake form, be specific with what assistance you would like from them. They have four main categories in which they can provide help - Employment, Education, VA Benefits and Financial Readiness. You will be paired with a Transition Specialist for the geographical area you are relocating to.
4. American Job Center
First, take a look on the AJC website to see if the local area you are moving to has a Veterans Representative. They are your SMEs who can provide unlimited resources for your new area. Interested in which colleges are the best? Ask them. Want to know what job fairs are coming up? Ask them. Need interview prep assistance? Great, let them know. They are your all-knowing, all-doing entities under the DOL.
5. Wounded Warrior Project
It may have gotten a bad rap in the past, but the Wounded Warrior Program is exceptional now. If you need assistance filing your VA claims, let them know. They are happy to make sure you have the correct paperwork and you get the correct claim. If you need help purchasing a suit, they have a fund for that. If you need help purchasing tools that are required for your new job, they also have a fund for that. If you want to network with veterans in your area, they have fantastic day and overnight programs to build relationships and make your transition into civilian life easier. Sign up, complete your intake form and let them know what you're looking for.
6. Disabled American Veterans
DAV is another great resource to help with your VA claims. They can help with travel to medical appointments, counseling, and employment resources. If you are not feeling WWP, reach out to DAV, or use both!
7. Recruit Military
One of the best resource offered by Recruit Military is their job fair search tool. They host countless veteran-friendly job fairs all across America and virtually! Every quarter, they host a National Job Fair, typically with 100 employers and around 20 universities in attendance. Their job fairs are top notch. Just make sure you research the companies, show up at the correct time, and have your updated resume ready to go!
8. Veterati & American Corporate Partners
These are two great veteran mentorship programs. Feel free to use one or use both. Veterati allows the service member to have multiple mentors through the platform. Like most mentorships, you will complete an intake form to better match mentors to your needs. These mentors can help with your transition, interview prep, resume review, and just about anything else you need. ACP-USA offers a more formalized mentorship. You will be paired with one mentor, typically a leader in his/her community, and you will meet either virtually or in-person 1 or 2 times a month. Your mentor can also assist with resume review, interview prep, job search, networking, small-business development and much more!
9. Corporate Gray
Corporate Gray is similar to Recruit Military. If you want to attend a veteran-friendly job fair, Corporate Gray also hosts these both in-person and virtually. The benefit to their job fairs is that they link them to the company’s LinkedIn and current job postings.
10. DOL TAP
Hopefully you have signed up or have already taken your mandatory Transition Assistance Program courses. If not, go sign up! You will need to have them completed in order to out-process. If you’ve taken TAP pre-2021, you were directed to the old website. However, they now have a new and improved website. From here, all 3 of the DOL TAP workbooks are available if you want a STAR refresh or run through LinkedIn or interview prep. If you were interested in the Career & Credential Course (C2E), but didn’t have time, the book is also available here. Veterans Preference advisor sublink can be found here as well as classes for your spouse. You can also search HIRE Vets Medallion awardees, learn more about Apprenticeships, and go more into GI Bill FAQs. This is a site full of handy resources from the DOL.
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