Helping Active Duty Military and Veterans Successfully Transition to Civilian Life
Jun 28, 2012
Since September 2001, roughly 2 million veterans have returned to civilian life; this number is on the rise as an anticipated 200,000 veterans are expected to enter the workforce annually.
For many veterans, this transition is a delicate and uncertain period in their lives. After spending years in the military where their daily duties, healthcare, housing, and financial needs were accounted for, transitioning service members now must figure out how they will provide a life for themselves and their families.
In 2010, Maurice Wilson, President and Executive Director of National Veterans Transition Services, Inc., and a resident of San Diego, home to the second largest veteran population in the state of California, set out to create a program that would give transitioning military tools for work and life success.
“Veterans were returning to civilian life and facing a number of issues including high unemployment and suicide rates,” said Wilson. “I wanted to do something to help them transition so they would have a chance at being successful in civilian life.”
As a result, Wilson developed a program called REBOOT, a three-week reverse boot camp designed to help transitioning active duty military and veterans keep their core military values intact while learning how to shift their mindset from being part of a military team to that of an individual with a unique set of goals and aspirations. Armed with a vision and business plan, Wilson approached Bank of America for financial assistance to get the program off the ground.
“When Maurice introduced us to REBOOT and showed us how the program would help active duty military and veterans make a smoother transition to civilian life, we jumped in with both feet,” said Bank of America Senior Vice President and San Diego Market Manager Judy Forrester. “We now provide philanthropic support to the program, but more important than that, our people became involved. Bank of America volunteers teach classes on job seeking skills and provide financial education training.”
With the support of Bank of America, National Veteran Transition Services has provided the REBOOT workshop for over two years. Numerous military have used the program to transition to civilian life and even recommend REBOOT to their peers.
“Upon completion of the REBOOT program returning military no longer depend on a system to support them,” stated Wilson. “These individuals are independent and able to provide their families with the emotional support they need. They’re ready to embrace their new life and know the direction they want to take.”
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