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The United States has the largest, most elite, and best trained military in the world. Each branch carefully trains our troops to become warriors to defend our nation's freedoms. But after years in the military, many need assistance transitioning or adjusting to civilian life. We need a comprehensive training program to prepare our veterans for life after the military!
Veterans leaving the service today are facing rising unemployment, homelessness, medical issues including PTSD, and a tragic suicide rate. They receive the best training for military life while serving, but without the proper training to reintroduce them to civilian life, they are being set up to fail.
The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs currently conduct transition assistance programs, but there are large gaps in the programs, and a lack of cohesive training that prepares veterans for the transition into civilian life, a new career, or higher education. Private organization exist to help pick up the slack, but those are often targeted at specific veteran groups. The training needs to come from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and it needs to begin well before troops get their discharge papers.
A "reverse boot camp" style training program, run by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, should give our veterans the skills and knowledge they need to find good jobs, apply for college, purchase a home, understand the benefits available to them through the VA, and deal with any social or psychological issues that may interfere with a smooth transition from a military career.
By properly preparing our veterans for life after the military, we can help decrease unemployment, homelessness, and suicides while at the same time getting some of our country's best and brightest integrated into our schools, neighborhoods, and the workplace.
A comprehensive discharge program for veterans is needed, and needed it's now. Tell the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs that our military personnel deserve a better transition program when they reenter civilian life. They serve our nation proudly, and they've earned it!
Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs:
The men and women of the United States military are some of the hardest working, disciplined, dedicated, and well-trained individuals. Yet, despite their training and character our veterans are plagued by a number of issues that hinder them in civilian life once their service in the military is completed. A comprehensive discharge training program for military personnel is needed to adequately prepare them for work and life after the military.
While recognizing that transition assistance programs are currently in place for military personnel leaving the service through the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, there are disparities in those training programs that need to be fixed, and a more thorough, individualized, and comprehensive training program needs to be implemented right away.
Unemployment among veterans has skyrocketed, with current sources showing 6.3 percent unemployment young veterans just leaving the military. The mental strains of combat can be seen in the number of veterans dealing with PTSD and the tragically high suicide rate. Homelessness continues to be a problem for too many veterans as well. They deserve an individualized training program to prepare them civilian life.
The current transition assistance programs run by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have problematic shortcomings for fully preparing veterans to enter civilian life with the best chances of success. The Department of Defense runs the "Accessing Higher Education" training program, but the Department of Veterans Affairs runs the benefits program for higher education. The same training program also fails to address non-traditional education options, such as vocational schools, which are only covered in a different training program. A member of the service may not know which program would best suit their needs, and thus many are missing out on vital information and training.
According to Task and Purpose, only around 40 percent of service members take part in the education training programs alone, while others are likely electing to not go through other transition programs to help them acclimate to civilian life. Our military would never allow its service members to go without proper training while serving in the military, and they should not be going without the proper training for civilian life at the end of their service either.
A comprehensive transition training program that covers all aspects of civilian life including education, employment, housing, medical needs, and benefits for all service members must be created and implemented, along with individualized assistance programs covering issues such as medical needs, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other personal issues.
In 2015, the Veterans of Foreign Wars testified before Congress on the issue of transition assistance programs and stated that many veterans were unable to participate in all training programs, even the ones which they wanted to go through. Creating a comprehensive transition program for all discharging service members would eliminate this problem.
A number of private organizations exist to aid veterans' transition into civilian life, or to help them overcome obstacles that arise in the months and years after their service has ended. The very existence of these organizations is evidence of the shortcomings in the current transition assistance programs offered. The military itself would be the best authority to help veterans in their transition out of the military, and veterans would naturally benefit from having that training before they are discharged instead of needing it later when problems arise.
Our veterans need to be set up for success in civilian life, with every opportunity afforded them and all relevant information given to them. Just as the United States military puts each service member through boot camp and training to train them and turn them into military personnel, each service member should go through an equally rigorous training program at the end of their service to equip and prepare them for civilian life.
I implore the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to implement a comprehensive transition training program for all discharging service members to prepare them for life outside the military; to assist, inform, and prepare them for employment, education, housing, medical needs, benefits, and adjustment from military to civilian life.