The Schultz Family Foundation today announced $7 million in investments in four veteran service organizations to improve employment outcomes for young veterans transitioning from the military to civilian life. The United Services Organizations (USO), VetJobs.org, and Hire Heroes USA received grants to create an integrated system that will support 10,000 junior enlisted veterans from transition to employment and ultimately offer best practices to scale the initiative to serve thousands more. The Foundation is also supporting the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) as they expand the Onward to Opportunity (O2O) program to tailor training curricula to meet the specific needs of young veterans and introduce new and relevant learning pathways aligned to the career goals of this subpopulation.
With over 40% of the military between the ages of 18-24, nearly all of whom are junior enlisted (E1 – E5) service members, the need to understand the unique challenges facing young veterans is greater than ever. The average age of junior enlisted personnel at the time of transition from military to civilian life is 25 and nearly half are people of color. Only 21% of junior enlisted have a job lined up before transitioning out of the military - compared to 46% 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% say they are at risk financially. Only 23% report have a secure financial situation.
"Together with our partners, we’re eager to support young veterans who are returning home with tremendous skills and potential," said Tyra A. Mariani, president of the Schultz Family Foundation. "By developing a cohesive data framework that will paint a clearer picture of how to reach junior enlisted service members in need of supports, as well as tailoring training content and offering relevant learning pathways throughout their transition, our partnerships will serve those who have selflessly served our country.”
The Schultz Family Foundation is supporting four organizations in this work:
- Funding will support the USO’s Pathfinder Transition Program, focusing on engaging and supporting the junior enlisted segment of the military population as they navigate the initial stages of their transitions from the military to civilian life. The program will offer direct coaching and support to service members, and, through an integrated technology solution, seamlessly refer service members to partners to assist with job placement, skills enhancement, etc. Through this work, USO will be able to assess where the transition process is serving junior enlisted members effectively, to identify gaps and to share insights with key stakeholders.
- This investment will enable VetJobs.org to expand its focus on junior enlisted and the young veteran population using its proven job placement delivery model. VetJobs.org will help junior enlisted transitioning service members identify a career path, connect how their skills and qualifications apply to their chosen career path, present gaps in skills and qualifications, and assist with job placement.
- The Hire Heroes USA investment will broaden the reach and impact of their Junior Enlisted Program, increasing the resources and staffing for additional scale. Hire Heroes USA will leverage their one-on-one career coaching, resume development, mentorship, and placement model to empower young veterans to obtain careers that meet their professional goals and financial needs.
- The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) investment supports Onward to Opportunity (O2O), which provides end-to-end support for training, professional certifications, and job placement for transitioning service members, with a goal to increase supports tailored for young veterans.