How the USO Prepares Service Members for Civilian Careers
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(StatePoint) More than 200,000 American men and women in uniform complete their service and transition out of the military each year. The shift to civilian life – especially the search for a new career – can be challenging for many. Veterans often struggle to translate their skills and experiences into qualifications for a civilian role and may encounter stereotypes impacting their ability to be hired.

To overcome these challenges, the USO works with military families through its Pathfinder Transition Program, which provides professional development services support throughout the service member or military spouse’s career, as well as when they settle back into civilian life.

Here are some of the ways the USO helps service members plan their next career move.

Pathfinder Action Plans

USO Transition Specialists work one-on-one with Pathfinder program participants to identify their personal and professional goals and develop individualized action plans that provide a roadmap for achieving them. These action plans also help participants identify and take full advantage of services and resources in the areas of employment, education, financial readiness and mentorship that are the best fit for their needs.

Transition to the Trades

The USO offers periodic webinars to help educate service members and their spouses about career opportunities in various industries, including the skilled trades. Recent webinars with Lowe’s Home Improvement highlighted careers and benefits of working in the electrical field, appliance repair, plumbing and the HVAC industry. More than 150 men and women participated in the webinars, with many indicating they would further consider career opportunities in the trades.

Professional Development Workshops

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Other webinars help transitioning service members hone networking and other skills that can lead to their next career. The USO’s Transition Talks sessions cover topics such as navigating LinkedIn and leveraging its networking opportunities as well as building a stand-out resume for federal job opportunities. Sessions also include training and certification programs and are available to service members and their spouses.

Google IT Support Professional Certificate

Through a partnership with Google, the Pathfinder Transition Program also incorporates the Google IT Support Professional Certificate for service members, veterans and military spouses. The eight-month certificate program provides participants with the skills and experience needed to qualify for entry-level IT support positions, helping them launch a new career in an in-demand field. After earning their certificate, participants are connected to a consortium of national employers hiring IT candidates.

To learn more and sign up for the USO Pathfinder Transition Program, visit USO.org/programs/uso-pathfinder-transition-program.

Service members and military spouses who are transitioning out of the military have years of employment and unique life experiences. Thanks to programs designed to support them during this time, they are better able to successfully launch post-military careers.

Photo Credit: (c) USO Photos