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Veteran Transition

What do Canadian Veterans need?

Canadian Veterans

Canadian veterans are people who have served in the CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) or the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). They are national heroes who make all kinds of sacrifices for Canada. They dedicate their lives, energy and time to the safety and security of Canadians.

However, veterans in Canada do not serve forever. After a certain period of service, they have to retire or leave their duties. They have to take off their precious uniforms and become a civilian citizen.

The transition of veterans from military or police duty to civilian roles has challenges. Veterans need to be prepared for this big change in their lives and external support may be very helpful during this shift.

Veterans serve Canadian people. Canadians have the responsibility to assist veterans after their retirement or leave. This is both a government and social duty for all citizens.  

Government organizations such as Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) and many veteran nonprofit organizations offer veteran welfare and support services for Canadian Veterans. There are also several companies that hire veterans.

The national media channel CBC addresses homelessness, exposure to chemicals, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health as the four main challenges of Canadian Veterans. This is sad and unacceptable. It is also evitable by simple measures.

We propose 4R as the framework of the solution set to make life easier for veterans. As illustrated in the figure the 4R stands for Respect, Rehabilitation, Resources, Reinforcement

Recognition: They deserve our recognition and respect. We have to show them they are not been forgotten even after they take off their uniforms.

Rehabilitation: Receiving support during the transition is necessary. We can not and shall not expect Canadian veterans to switch from a military or police role to civilian life without a glitch.

Resources: They will need resources to start and build their new civilian life. This includes financial resources, transition tools, official services, and most importantly community support.  

Reinforcement: They have the potential, capacity, and passion to continue to add value to their communities even after their retirement or leave. They just need our support.

Veterans are valuable members of Canadian communities. They may be invisible, but they are not vain. They can play key roles in society as they did when they are on active duty.

By: Omer Livvarcin, PhD

Amazon vows to hire 100,000 veterans and spouses by 2024

amazon-hires-veterans

Amazon recently pledged to hire 100,000 US veterans and veterans’ spouses by the year 2024. This is big news for veterans and veterans’ spouses.

Over 40,000 veterans and military spouses are currently employed by Amazon, from operations to Alexa to sustainability to Amazon Web Services (AWS), company officials say.

“Amazon is focusing on recruiting and developing military talent with training programs. Above all these programs specifically designed to help veterans transition into roles in the private sector,” said John Quintas, Amazon’s director of Global Military Affairs.

Vice president at the US Chamber of Commerce, Eric Eversole, spoke highly on behalf of the company’s goal, according to a statement from Amazon.

“Amazon recognizes the diverse backgrounds and experiences veterans and military spouses bring and how they strengthen the workforce, through their commitment to provide upskilling and employment opportunities in high demand careers, Amazon, therefore, is equalizing opportunity for veterans and military spouses,” said Eversole.

The company will continue to offer opportunities to help transitioning veterans and their spouses to find a career within their preferred interest. “This includes access to company-funder skills training in high-demand areas, such as cloud computing, through initiatives like the Amazon Technical Apprenticeship Program and AWS re/Start,” a statement from amazon said.

Free exclusive opportunities will be available for military members to gain new technical skills to move into higher paying jobs. Programs include, for instance, Career Choice and Amazon Technical Academy.

Amazon’s goal is to hire 16,000 military spouses.

Military Spouse programs are available for military spouses to apply for jobs that best fit their skills. Amazon is also offering classes, and a mentorship program.

“Amazon truly, truly, values what military spouses bring to the work force.” Beth Conlin, program manager of Military Spouse Programs at Amazon told Military Times. (continue reading)

Canadian Veteran benefits from the Veterans Independence Program

Veterans Independence Program

Canadian Veteran benefits: Howard Elson has experienced his share of action and adventure in his 31-year career with the Canadian Army’s Artillery division. His advice to CAF members and Veterans in life after service is to take advantage of all the benefits and services available.

Mr. Elson joined the Army from his home in Newfoundland. He served with the Artillery in postings was posted across Canada, and even on the Rhine river in Germany. He achieved the rank of Master Corporal, and then in the Reserves Rangers, rose to Lieutenant.

An accident in 1979, while working with 155mm artillery shells, left Mr. Elson with a permanent back injury. He transitioned out of the CAF and pursued a number of opportunities, after his service. These include being a training officer for the Canadian Rangers, working as a security guard for a Labradorean mining company.

Now 78, Canadian veteran Elson receives support like snow removal and assistance around his Nova Scotia home through the Veterans Independence Program(External link).

He encourages any Veteran who feels they might benefit from the program to apply. “By all means, look into it. I’ve been happy with what the program has to offer. It’s always easy to get answers if ever I have questions.”

If you’d like to know more about what the Veterans Independence Program can do for you, please click here to visit our website(External link).

It’s All About Service: 4 Tips For Finding The Right Entrepreneurial Fit for Veteran Transition

veteran transition program

One thing veterans have in common is the entrepreneurial spirit. It is developed by the discipline and skills that come with being in the military. These skills include determination, relationship building, process orientation, and a passion for service. And these invaluable skills are easily transferable to building and operating a business during the veteran transition.

Veterans have long been an entrepreneurial force in the U.S. But these days, the number of veteran-owned businesses is declining. Only 4.5 percent of post-9/11 military veterans have gone on to open a business, compared to 49.7 percent of WWII veterans and 40 percent of Korean War veterans.

This sharp decline in veteran business ownership isn’t for a lack of drive: 26 percent of veterans say they’re interested in starting a business of their own. However, veterans face significant obstacles in their quest to start a business, from knowledge gaps to financing challenges.

Mat Noe is a veteran who managed a successful transition recently. He said: “I made the final decision to return home and give up my active role in the military. I knew I had to be selective and have a long list to consider when deciding what to do. I relied heavily on my experience and skills to find the right one. After a lot of research, it turned out that franchising was the right path for me. Then I finally found a drug testing franchise called Fastest Labs that ticked all the boxes that I personally tried to fill in this business.”

While transitioning to a more traditional career after serving in the military for more than 4 years can be an adjustment. So Mat decides to share a few tips, all of which are beneficial for new veterans taking advantage of opportunities and looking to take the next step. A common thread throughout this fascinating new adventure. Here are Mat’s veteran transition tips:

Some Tips:

  • Ask how you can give back to your community
  • Search for an industry you have a baseline understanding of
  • Focus on the skills required not the tasks you’ll complete
  • Have the hard discussions early

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Veteran success story: David Fraser

david-fraiser-canadian-retired-general

Canadian Major-General (Ret) David Fraser, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan, has excellent advice for veterans and for those about to transition from military service.

Retirement doesn’t mean doing nothing

Corporate executive, bestselling author and financial mentor at one of Canada’s leading business schools, Major-General (Retired) David Fraser could be called one of the most successful veteran transition stories. But his post-military career also focuses on helping guide fellow Veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Continuing education

David Fraser served with the Second and Third Battalions in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He served with the Reserves both at the unit level and as chief of staff for the Alberta District. His operational command experience also includes tours in Bosnia, Cyprus and Afghanistan. He commanded the Southern NATO Coalition forces in Afghanistan and led Operation Medusa.

Education has been a continuing theme in David’s career. He joined the CAF after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University in 1980. Fraser graduated from the CAF Command and Staff College in Toronto in 1990, and earned a Master of Management and Policy from the Royal Military College and Queen’s University in 2001. He went on to Command the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, implementing distant learning and rewriting the National Security Program for CAF leaders.

After retiring from the CAF in 2011 as a Major General, David went to the Ivey Business School. Upgrading his financial education gave him knowledge he put to work in the private sector. His first post-service job was Chief Operations Officer (COO) for then-new Blue Goose Pure Foods. (continue reading)

This veteran-run company is streamlining the way vets access care

helthcare professionals for veterans

Each year about 200,000 service members separate or retire from the military, many without clear employment and healthcare plans for the future.

Among key issues, veterans face include navigating VA healthcare and benefits, acquiring and maintaining employment, adjusting back into civilian culture, and the myriad financial struggles that can stem from each.

Adding to that navigational difficulty is the fact that there are currently more than 45,000 nonprofits in the US. They all trying to provide services that range from housing and mental health to food security, as mentioned in the 2015-report from the nonprofit GuideStar.

Veterans Dan Brillman and Taylor Justice saw this fragmented system firsthand.

Brillman served as an Air Force reserve pilot who deployed to the Middle East in 2010 and 2012. Justice left the Army in 2007 after serving as an infantry officer due to medical reasons. They met in 2012 at Columbia Business School.

“Within about five minutes [of meeting] we both realized a shared passion and vision for what was needed,” says Justice.

Difficult to Navigate

The veterans are attempting to navigate the world of healthcare and social services. The delays and administrative nightmares alone can be enough to discourage seeking help, they said. Moreover, some agencies were even working with outdated sticky notes and word of mouth to communicate with other agencies.

“When you’re working with someone dealing with PTSD or other mental health needs you have to be very careful. Because putting them into an environment that is super frustrating can be triggering,” says Justice.

So, In 2013, Brillman and Justice co-founded the technology company Unite Us, with the intention of bridging the gap of coordinated care and providing an access point to community, healthcare, and other veteran services. Today, Unite Us supports 42 states across the country and offers software accessible to any military member, veteran, or military family member, regardless of discharge status.

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Andrei Roberge: Transition tips from a Canadian Veteran who did it twice

veteran transition tips

Transition tips from a Canadian Veteran who did it twice: Like many Veterans, Andrei’s career in the Canadian Armed Forces took him around the world. Today, he continues to operate internationally, planning logistics and managing operations for Team Rubicon. This organization mobilizes Veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises, around the world. These can range from hurricanes in the Caribbean to flooding in Alberta, and any place in between.

Andrei’s military career began when he joined the infantry reserve in 1997, at the age of 17. He was in basic training on his 18th birthday. “It was an occasion that was short on cake,” he recalls.

He fit in well with the Reserves, serving in 2000 in Bosnia. He transferred to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and was again in Bosnia in 2002.

Andrei attended the University of Manitoba under the University Training Plan for Non-Commissioned Members. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, he was commissioned as a Logistics Officer and assigned to the First Service Battalion.

Later, as a member of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, he was deployed to Afghanistan, Libya, Africa and Europe. After five years in CSOR, he returned to the regular army in 2014 as a Reserve Force liaison officer, and then released for the first time in 2014.

He returned to the CAF by 2017, and spent three years with the Fourth Canadian Division Headquarters in Toronto. In July 2020, he left CAF for medical reasons
Today, he lives near Toronto with his wife Jillian, who completed medical school in 2016 and is now in her final year of medical residency, and his daughter, Lauren, 9.

Transition: good and…not so good

So what was the difference between the transitions in 2014 and 2020?

“My transition in 2014 was … not very good. There was no support. One day you’re in the service, the next you’re out. There was no guidance. I felt a bit bitter about it,” he recalls.

Making the transition for the second time, in 2020, was completely different, especially with the pandemic. “I had low expectations, but my case manager was amazing,” Andrei says. (continue reading)

Click to read more veteran news.

VA wants more money to expand popular tech training program for job-seeking vets

military technical training

Veterans Affairs officials are pushing Congress to lift the funding cap on a popular pilot program for transitioning vets via tech training. The program focuses on technology training and they expect to use up all available funds by mid-summer.

“This is an extremely important tool in our toolbox,” Ronald Burke, deputy under secretary for policy at the Veterans Benefits Administration, told lawmakers last week. “If we are really serious about better employment [for veterans], this is one that needs to stay in that toolbox for vets technical training.”

The program, Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC), was launched in 2019 as a five-year pilot program. VA officials said interest in it has exceeded expectations, with more than 13,500 applications and 3,000 enrolled this year alone.

The initiative links transitioning veterans and some still-serving troops with “industry-leading training providers” to learn in-demand technology skills. Classes currently offered through the program include software development, data science, network security and web development skills.

VET TEC Details

The vets tech training program is free for veterans. The training companies receive only half of their costs when students enroll and complete the courses. Once the student secures meaningful employment in his or her field of study, the training company receives the other half. This is as an incentive designed to ensure the classwork turns into meaningful employment.

The VET TEC pilot was originally currently capped at $15 million annually but has already been boosted to $45 million. Burke said he expects the fiscal 2021 money to run out in the next two months.

“It’s a very popular program,” he said. “In order to sustain this level of volume, we’re looking at someone in the range of $125 million for VET TEC.”

According to the White House’s budget plan for fiscal 2022, the program will receive $45 million. But lawmakers on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee appeared open to the idea of further plus-ups, especially in light of challenges surrounding veterans unemployment connected to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.(continue reading)

Five Things I Wish Service Members Knew Ahead Of Their Civilian Transition

get-ready-for-transition-to-civil-jobs

I remember how confident and prepared I felt when I transitioned from active duty service. But as soon as I put away my uniform, it hit me: I needed help navigating the difficult and oft-talked-about transition to civilian life. Connecting with other Veterans and Veteran service organizations helped me navigate life after military service. So much so, in fact, it motivated me to focus my career on transitioning service members and Veterans.
Unfortunately, many Veterans I wound up working with struggled to adjust to civilian life more than they expected. Many struggled to find their way, unaware of the many resources available to help them find their way after military service.
Each day, more than 500 service members will start their transition. To them and the thousands more who will eventually make the very same transition, I offer five pieces of proactive advice from my own personal experience:

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