San Diego, CA — Today, Hesperus is pleased to announce a $100,000 grant from the Schultz Family Foundation to connect Hesperus to the USO’s Pathfinder Transition Program to enhance employment pathways for young veterans. The grant is specifically focused on supporting Native American service members, with the goal of increasing the number of junior enlisted personnel who benefit from career mentoring, referral, and placement services.
Hesperus was founded to invest in the next generation of Native American leadership and solve issues affecting Native Americans and Alaska Native tribal communities. Hesperus is the only national Veteran Service Organization (VSO) with a specific focus on supporting and connecting Native American veterans to employment pathways. Native Americans serve in the U.S. Armed Forces at a per capita rate that is much greater than the national average. Of the nearly 24,000 active-duty service members who identify as Native American or Alaskan, approximately 71 percent are junior enlisted service members.
Veterans return to civilian life with diverse skills and tremendous potential, but many experience hardships transitioning from the military. Young veterans, in particular, experience the worst transitional outcomes of any veteran subpopulation. More than 40 percent of active duty service members are between the ages of 18-24, nearly all of whom are junior enlisted (ranked E1 – E5). Only 21 percent of junior enlisted have a job lined up before transitioning out of the military - compared to 46 percent of officers and more senior enlisted personnel. Veterans from the junior enlisted ranks are less likely to use online job databases, career fairs, resume writing assistance, job placement, career counseling, and training or certification programs. One-third of veterans from the junior-enlisted ranks report precarious financial status and 44 percent say they are at risk financially. Only 23 percent report have a secure financial situation.
The Schultz Family Foundation is committed to understanding the unique challenges facing young veterans and improving employment outcomes for junior enlisted personnel transitioning from the military to civilian life, and is thrilled to work in partnership with Hesperus to improve employment outcomes for young Native American veterans in particular.
About Hesperus: Hesperus is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the Native American community. Hesperus provides pathways to education and employment for members of rural and tribal communities. We are dedicated to supporting underserved tribal populations, with a focus on veterans, including Native American Veterans and their families, and creating educational and employment opportunities across the United States through skills training, workforce development, and technology.