After years of valuable and appreciated service in the military, many veterans soon discover that getting a new job “on the outside” is not as simple as it might have seemed. Although you’ve picked up a wide range of skills, both interpersonal and practical skills, it’s not always obvious how these can be applied to a life of work beyond the armed forces.
For the lucky ones, getting employment is easy. They have contacts and know how to apply their skills when searching for new roles. There are also jobs boards for veterans – you might see some advertising on this site – where you can filter jobs and skills and reach out for appropriate positions. Some contractors can also apply for Military Assistance Programs to help vets transition to civilian employment.
Apprenticeships Help Plug the Skills Gap
In some cases, however, nothing out there seems to match your skillset. That’s where apprenticeships can be like gold dust. This is when you get trained up for new qualifications. If you’re lucky, you might be taken on by a company to train on the job. Sure, the salary may not be as high as you might have hoped to begin with, but that’s to be expected when you are still not trained or qualified.
But most likely, you’ll find training schemes that are free or at a reduced cost to help prepare for your new life as a civilian. Some might even run before you leave the military, meaning you’re ready to hit the ground running immediately.
Apprenticeships for Veterans
According to the latest Department of Labor figures, there were 326,000 unemployed veterans in the US in 2018. While 60% were aged 45 and over, 35% were aged 25-44, with the remainder younger than that. As the jobs market in the US is so healthy, these are not encouraging statistics. Apprenticeships tailored for veterans can help that, and they cover a variety of trades.
We’ll look at some of those in a moment, but it’s also worth noting other businesses offer discounted training to veterans outside of an official apprenticeship scheme. For example, many people like to learn financial trading as it can be done from home. The respected tutor FX Trader Paul, for example, offers introductory courses that are heavily discounted for vets – you can read more about his Veterans’ Trader Project online. If it’s something you’d like to consider, you’ll also need to investigate a suitable US-facing broker to use for your trading.
Now, let’s look at some of those apprenticeship programs.
Workshops for Warriors
It has an excellent strapline: “Rebuilding American manufacturing, one veteran at a time” and provides exceptional educational and vocational training in the plasma cutting, welding, computer-aided design, milling, machining, fabrication and woodworking. Visit their website for more.
Welding for Veterans
Welders are in huge demand across the country and the demand is expected to grow over the coming years. Veterans boast many of the skills that are required to be a welder, including analytical skills, precision and discipline.
New licensing from the Department of Veterans Affairs allows eligible veterans to be paid for a welding test or certification. This applies to veterans with G.I. Bill Benefits. There are also some institutions that offer specific welding programs especially for veterans which help the transition from the military and join up with like-minded people. See welding schools in your area to see if there are any with veteran apprenticeships.
United Association Veterans in Piping
The Association was created to help equip personnel leaving military service with sought-after skills that lead to careers in the pipe trades, which are increasingly in demand. The focus is on HVAC-R, welding and skills such as fitting sprinklers (all things that are always needed). And best of all, it’s completely free for veterans who can take part in participating military bases. Visit the UA-VIP website now.
Troops to Trades
Covering a wide range of professional trades, from plumbing, heating and cooling to electrical residential service industries, Troops for Trades works directly with small to medium-sized businesses to help them locate potential ex-service employees.
It provides scholarships as well as those career contacts to, as it proudly states, “Help veterans get hired”. The website adds: “We will work with you to determine what training you need to enhance your skills as an HVAC technician, electrician or plumber and provide a short-term training experience at no cost to you. Then we will work to help you find a job in the residential service industry in whatever community you are looking to live in.”
Look at the Troops for Trades website to see just what a difference it has made to so many people’s lives.
Helmets to Hardhats
We love the name of this excellent organization. It’s a national, not-for-profit program connecting National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty personnel with skilled training and good career openings in the construction industry.
The Helmets to Hardhats website is easy to navigate for veterans seeking advice while also doing a good job of encouraging potential employers to get involved in the scheme.
More Grants Announced
There’s plenty more information online for you to research, but the wind is in the veterans’ favor. Only last month, the Department of Labor announced a grants package of $184 million in workforce grants together with $100 million in grants to promote apprenticeships targeted at groups such as veterans.