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JOBS AFTER MILITARY SERVICE By Vesta M. Anderson

Injured veterans seek civilian employment through Wounded Warrior Project

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ccording to the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) 2014 Annual Alumni Survey—a survey that has been completed annually since 2010, making it the most comprehensive and statistically relevant sample of this generation of injured service members—it is estimated that the unemployment rate for WWP Alumni is 13.9%; for non-active-duty Alumni the unemployment rate is reported to be 19.7%. After military service, many injured veterans have difficulty transitioning into the civilian workforce. Often, the career transition is unplanned, and it becomes daunting for the warrior to believe they will be able to care financially for themselves and their families without the military. Typically, retired veterans who incur a service-connected medical injury will require resources beyond their post-military benefits. As a result WWP focused data-driven attention on its Economic Empowerment pillar – one of the four pillars the nonprofit’s 20 free, programs and services are divided among, the others being Engagement, Mind, and Body. The Economic Empowerment pillar is centered on the belief that every injured veteran has the right to be successful in every aspect of their lives. It owns four programs—Education Services, TRACK™, Transition Training Academy (TTA) and Warriors to Work®—designed to help warriors accomplish their education and training goals by expanding their skills, experience and training in pursuit of a rewarding civilian career that will lead to financial stability. This year, Education Services has empowered more than 750 wounded veterans and their family members by helping to identify skill sets and passions and by connecting those skills and passions to occupational goals. As is often the case, these occupational goals can be best realized through a formal academic experience, which WWP helps the warriors and their family members identify. WWP assists the warriors in their transition from the highly structured military routine to the largely unstructured landscape of a college or university campus. Once enrolled, WWP continues to empower the injured veteran through regular check-ins to offer advice and advocacy as needed. More than 292 injured veterans have been enrolled in the TRACK program, and its overall graduation rate is 84%. TRACK takes a holistic approach to achieving personal, academic and professional success. All components of the curriculum are meant to heal, develop and train the mind, body and spirit of each warrior. The program includes two semesters of college, peak performance training, health and wellness curriculum, personal finance curriculum, adaptive sports, and a cohort experience. TTA empowers wounded veterans with the specific tools they need to return to life,

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HOMELAND / August 2015

www.homelandmagazine.com

Homeland August 2015  
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