The brave men and women who serve in our armed forces face many challenges transitioning from military to civilian life. Moving, settling the family and coping with a drastic change in day-to-day lifestyle can prove to be overwhelming. Finding adequate employment to provide for themselves and their families should not be part of that difficult transition. Unfortunately, for many, that is exactly the case. Nearly 7 in 10 veterans report that finding a job is their greatest challenge in returning from active duty.  (Prudential Financial, Inc. with Iraqy and Afghanastan Veterans of America, 2012)

Underemployment and Job Retention

Although overall numbers are down compared to a few years ago, unemployment and underemployment is still an issue that veterans face after serving their country. Even those who are eligible for Post 9/11 education benefits have a higher unemployment rate than non-veterans (Gross, 2017). Beyond that, even those veterans who are able to find work are drastically underemployed. In a study by VetAdvisor and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (Rosalinda Maury, 2016), only 4 in 10 veterans indicated they were in their preferred career field in their first job. Not surprisingly, the study also found that job tenure was highly related to working in a job or position in the respondents’ preferred career field. In fact, nearly half of the respondents left their first job in the first year and over 65 percent left within two years.

What Employers Want

So, what can be done to decrease underemployment and increase the likelihood of securing a job in one’s preferred field? In a word: Internships.

Internships provide the workplace experience that employers demand. In an employer survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education, employers said that internships were the number one attribute they seek when hiring recent graduates. (The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace, 2012).

Why Internships Are So Critical

Internships are not only important to employers, but also are critical for those transitioning — from college, the military or even another career. Through an internship, a returning veteran can:

  • “Test drive” their potential career field
  • Acquire career-specific skills and abilities that employers seek
  • Gain opportunities to network and seek mentoring guidance
  • Achieve a significant competitive advantage for employment

The results speak for themselves. Various surveys by the National Association of Colleges and Employers show that students who intern are more likely to get a job upon graduation, start at a higher salary and stay on the job longer.

A Unique Solution for Today’s Vets

The Internship Institute has a unique business model to help today’s transitioning veterans. Its TrainingCorps program hires veterans to help companies build or enhance existing internship programs, creating new internship opportunities to help students and veterans secure the right jobs for themselves and their families.

Author: Alexander Dorn

Mr. Dorn is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he served as an aviation ordnance team leader at the rank of corporal. He is currently completing his bachelor’s degree (2018) in Psychology at Gwynedd Mercy University and is dedicated to working with veterans to help them achieve their maximum potential. Mr. Dorn joined The Internship Institute in order to assist the organization’s goal to standardize internship programs and help veterans gain workplace experience.

Video Transcript:

AFTER RETURNING HOME FROM ACTIVE DUTY
AND REUNITING WITH THEIR LOVED ONES,
NEARLY 7 IN 10 VETERANS
SAY THEIR GREATEST CHALLENGE
IS FINDING A CIVILIAN JOB.
THEY RISK THEIR LIVES TO PROTECT US.
ISN’T IT TIME WE START TO GIVE BACK.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP.
YOUR SUPPORT WILL HELP VETERANS GAIN WORK EXPERIENCE,
INCREASE THEIR OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT,
AND EASE THEIR TRANSITION FROM MILITARY SERVICE
TO JOBS THAT PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES AT HOME.
DONATE TODAY AT www.VETSandINTERNS.org
NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL.
THE INTERNSHIP INSTITUTE
MAKING INTERNSHIPS MATTER
www.VETSandINTERNS.org

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