How military veterans struggle to find jobs in the civilian marketplace

Piloting civilian life can be a collision to a veteran’s system, particularly regarding the myths veterans discover about how uncomplicated it is to achieve post-military employment.

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Piloting civilian life can be a collision to a veteran’s system, particularly regarding the myths veterans discover about how uncomplicated it is to achieve post-military employment.

“We [veterans] always hear ‘Oh, it’s so easy – you served in the military, and everyone’s going to want to hire you,” said Justin Justice, co-founder of Operation New Uniform. “None of those things are true. What no one wants to talk about is that these [jobs] are mostly entry-level opportunities.” Operation New Uniform (ONU), the veterans’ non-profit organization Justice operates, is out to change that. “We offer companies an opportunity to be more than ‘veteran-friendly,’” he said.

“Veterans are trained to be performance, and results-oriented, any size business would benefit greatly with our nation’s heroes in their organization,” said entrepreneur and NFL veteran Drayton Florence.

“We offer the business community an opportunity to take action, invest in veterans, and be committed to their post-military professional success.” ONU’s training program helps veterans understand their military training and experience from a business perspective, and guides veterans while they manage the transition into the corporate world. “The biggest part [of that] is understanding strengths of their military background,” Justice said. Veterans learn how to confidently market their skills in sync with the jobs they want. “Veterans are trained to be performance and results-oriented; any size business would benefit greatly with our nation’s heroes in their organization,” said entrepreneur and NFL veteran Drayton Florence. Justice said veterans are a source of untapped value and potential, and they deserve a fighting chance at roles with more responsibility. By under-utilizing veterans, businesses are hurting themselves: decreasing productivity and increasing turnover. “You need good leadership to increase productivity and affect your bottom line, and veterans make great leaders,” he said.

When a veteran is accepted into Operation New Uniform’s cohort program, they first attend a month of classroom training at ONU’s office in Jacksonville, FL. After classroom training is complete, veterans spend three to four months in individualized coaching, development, and networking with employers. At the moment, the demand for ONU’s services is much greater than ONU’s small staff can supply. Justice said ONU was unable to serve 40 people who applied to the most recent cohort, although “we do our best to push them to future cohorts,” he said. “At a minimum, we have to double our staff within the next 12 months,” Justice said. “We could have four times as many classes as we currently have right now and still not meet the demand.”

“I think we owe it to those veterans to be in those markets where they’re leaving the military, and do the work that we do,” he said. “It might be ten cities; it might be 30 cities. Wherever the veterans are saturated and frustrated, we owe it to them to bring ONU to those markets.” Any business, organization, or individual interested in learning more about getting involved with ONU can email Justice at invest@operationnewuniform.org.

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