Simply put. Transitioning from the military is hard. Regardless of how long you serve, the job you had, or how amazing you think you are, the idea of leaving something that is a major part of your life is scary. I can speak specifically to my own transition, but I can also relate to the thousands of veterans I have had the opportunity to work with since my own transition. The one consistent theme through all of them has been, “I am not sure what I want to be when I grow up.”
Picture this….you have made a commitment that less than 1% of all Americans have made, to serve in the military. You commit your life 100% to the mission and it rewards you with a warm hug. There is comfort to know that I can provide for my family with pay and benefits. I can attend college for free through my GI Bill or pass that along to my children for their use. And on an incredibly basic level, I know what I am going to wear every single day which makes life way easier. Side note – I spent endless hours of my time in the military shining boots and ironing uniforms. That isn’t a thing those who serve these days will know because of the new uniforms. “Ok, Boomer!”
My personal journey led me to serve as a Military Policeman. When I joined I aspired to pursue a career post-military in law enforcement. Over time I recognized that wasn’t what I wanted to do and pursued a degree in business. It seemed broad enough to get me a job after I got out in something. So, there I was a year out from transition, a fast-tracking soldier trained in law enforcement and educated in business. Those two things don’t translate well on a resume. I had zero experience in the business world and no real opportunities to obtain “skills” needed for someone to hire. Combine this with a large lack of understanding of how a corporation works and an unclear career path to pursue I applied everywhere. I submitted applications for manager roles, for director roles, and even CEO roles. These were words that meant nothing to me but by reading a job description I felt confident I could do what was asked and I met most of their requirements. This resulted in zero success and an inordinate amount of stress tied to a specific date I knew I was getting out.
Let me assure you, this isn’t something unique to me. I have heard the story repeatedly from other veterans. The good news is there are some amazing programs that have started to help. Organizations like Hiring Our Heroes provides a veteran the opportunity to intern with a company prior to their transition. This is important because it provides not only perspective to a corporate setting but a clearer vision of what a veteran would like to do. Local military transition offices are continually improving their services and programs. Most recently they have added one-on-one coaching for every service member and help them work through a tailored individual career plan.
CyberUp would like to add a unique opportunity to assist. We have partnered with our friends at Boeing and Scott Air Force Base to provide free training through our LevelUp: Apprenticeship Program. While they are still on active duty, veterans will have the opportunity to obtain industry-recognized credentials in cybersecurity. With the combination of their military training, security clearance, and new-found cybersecurity skills we can reduce the amount of stress I described. These attributes are in high-demand for government roles and for government contractor roles. They immediately meet contracting standards and will have a clear path in an industry that is growing at an alarming pace with incredible amounts of earning potential.
I don’t know about you, but I like a warm hug. It makes me feel safe. It makes me feel more confident in myself. I think we owe every transitioning veteran an opportunity to have a clear path to transition. I believe our LevelUp: Apprenticeship Program is as close as you can get. If we can surround a veteran with smart people, good training, and most importantly a high paying job we can create our own “warm hug” and grow our regional workforce with some amazing people.