“You are too qualified for this job.”
“We love your resume, but you just don’t have any industry experience.” These are phrases heard too often by service members, veterans, and spouses as they look for new employment after the military. While the economy is picking up, veterans are not getting placed into higher-paying job opportunities because they lack industry specific skills. And traditional job fairs, workshops, and job boards aren’t providing any solutions.
Many veterans are looking to newer employment programs that combine industry certifications and job placement.
One such program is the Onward to Opportunity (O2O) program developed by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The program is free to post-9/11 veterans, transitioning service members, and spouses, and participants can access the courses starting six months before they transition from service to civilian life.
“For those veterans and spouses [who] complete the training and certification, we’re consistently getting over 90% placed into career positions,” said O2O program director and Army veteran, Michael Bianchi. “And these are with solid employers like Microsoft, Accenture, Apple, USAA, and J.P. Morgan Chase.”
There are other industry-specific veteran programs that focus on a single career field such as Troops to Teachers or Warriors to Wireless. In contrast, O2O offers more than 30 career tracks, including IT, cyber security, programming, and HR.
A lack of industry-specific training and the mobile military lifestyle can limit career opportunities for spouses. The 2017 Blue Star Family Survey found that military spouses are earning far less than their civilian counterparts
The survey also found that an employed military spouse was associated with a positive veteran transition experience. “Spouses are a big part of the O2O program,” added Bianchi, “with over 30% of job placements occurring with spouses.”