My father is both an Army veteran and a Navy veteran. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War. Sometimes he talks about being in combat but tries to limit the conversation to more “kid-friendly” topics such as the strange food he ate, a pet monkey, and the day he toured Martha Raye around camp (he really liked that). When he returned home, he took a job at Niagara Mohawk, a power company in Western New York, as an electrician and began his civilian career.
After working for the power company for eight years, he was laid off. He didn’t have many options for other jobs at that time, so he returned to what he knew and enlisted into the Navy, where he worked as an electrician on airplanes until he was medically discharged with a service related illness.
My father brought us back to western New York, but he could not find work there, so we moved to Maine, where he had previously been stationed. There he was able to find work as an electrician at Bath Iron Works, building ships for the Navy.
Resources That Can Help Veterans Secure Employment
Like so many veterans, my father struggled to fit in and to find work after his service to our country. Today, veterans have more resources to choose from. One new resource is Veterans.gov. The site is designed to be the virtual “first stop” in the employment search process for veterans, transitioning service members, their spouses and employers. The site brings job banks, state employment offices, American Job centers, opportunities in top trending industry sectors, and employee assistance all in one spot.
For the job seeker, Veterans.gov allows users to:
- Connect with one-on-one assistance in the nearly 2,500 American Job centers located conveniently in communities across the country;
- Explore Veterans’ Job Bank/National Labor exchange online job listings;
- Search career paths by industry, by similarity to military careers or by keyword;
- Locate approved local training programs (like Goodwill®), college and universities;
- Access resources from Federal partners to connect with industry career programs in sectors including agriculture, transportation, energy/utilities, homeland security and employment in the federal government;
- Learn how to start a business; and
- Link to the Veterans employment Center portal
Goodwill also plays a key role in assisting veterans with their transition to civilian careers. In 2015, the Goodwill enterprise served more than 60,000 veterans, translating military skills to civilian skills, connecting veterans to credentials and creating opportunities for family sustaining civilian careers.
GoodProspects® extends Goodwill’s on-the-ground work into the digital age, providing a virtual community where entry- and mid-level career advancers can build job readiness skills, explore career paths and make valuable connections with peers and mentors. Nearly 40,000 users have registered for the site to date.
Membership to the site is free; upon registering, veterans gain access to the site’s key features including:
- The Career Navigator, an interactive checklist that guides job seekers through a series of learning objectives and activities on the journey from unemployment to long-term career and financial stability.
- Virtual career mentors, a group of volunteer professionals recruited by Goodwill’s corporate partners, sponsors and investors. By filling out a short application form, job seekers can request a mentor from GoodProspects’ pool of talented volunteers equipped to guide them on their career journey.
- A digital library of article, video and infographic content spanning 11 career industries and 19 skill-building topics.
- Industry-centered discussion boards where job seekers can ask questions and share resources related to career paths of interest.
If you are a veteran, transitioning service member or a military spouse, looking for support in your career search, take a moment to check out these resources.