BENS releases ‘Veterans Integration’ report

At the “Path to Healthy Homecomings” conference held in Feb 2009, a number of organizations came together to discuss the problems facing service members transitioning out of the military–namely, that while myriad resources exist for the military community, there are numerous obstacles that prevent easy discovery of and access to these resources.

As a result of the questions raised at this conference, BENS (Business Executives for National Security), Booz-Allen Hamilton, and Gallup teamed up to perform a study looking at challenges facing veterans at the state and local levels, specifically through the eyes of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (SDVA).

The study was undertaken by conducting interviews with 21 SDVAs. The interviews sought to shed light on some of the following questions:

  • Where are the gaps between veterans’ needs and services?
  • Why do those gaps exist?
  • How can our nation best address them?


Veterans Reintegration


The study concluded with a report entitled Veterans Reintegration: A View from the States.  Following is an excerpt from the report:

While the study reveals that veterans initiatives at all levels need additional resources, it is also true that as a nation, the United States already devotes enormous resources to veterans’ issues. But reintegration doesn’t occur at a national level. It happens at the community level. And so key to addressing reintegration challenges is identifying and quantifying the needs in specific regions and communities, and then ensuring that appropriate resources are made available and communicated to veterans in a timely manner.

These goals can be accomplished through greater collaboration and partnership among reintegration stakeholders—at all levels of government and within all sectors of society—that have shared?mission responsibilities to assist our nation’s veterans. This will require moving beyond the traditional lines of communication and authority to determine how the varying needs of veterans in different regions and communities can best be served, and then applying resources to bring about the necessary changes.

You can view or download the report by clicking the image above or by clicking here. It’s a worthwhile read and presents some very valuable conclusions on the situation facing our returning service members. The findings of the study were in fact instrumental in driving the creation of the Warrior Gateway. Feel free to read it, share it with your colleagues, and let us know what you think by leaving a comment or by contacting us.

A model for incorporating veterans into the workforce

This post comes to us from the Politico blog. It’s about a new book called Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. It tells the story of how in Israel’s program for economic development it put heavy emphasis on hiring veterans; employers recognized the value of military skills and experience in the civilian job market, and took the time and effort to determine how those military skills might be applied to the civilian context. And this was a boon for the country’s economic growth.

Start-Up Nation, image courtesy of Amazon

Start-Up Nation, by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. Image courtesy of Amazon

This is a common problem for veterans in the US – after a number of years of active duty, servicemembers leave the military with a variety of acquired skills and leadership experience, but these skills often don’t translate into the skills required in the civilian workforce in any obvious way. Start-Up Nation demonstrates the value – to veterans, employers, and society at large – of working to understand and bridge the often slight gap between military skills and civilian workforce skills. When we launch, the Warrior Gateway will work to do just that – help veterans and employers understand how military experience can translate into the skills required in specific jobs and careers. Read more about our Jobs module here.

Here’s a good quote from Start-Up Nation:

Given all this battlefield entrepreneurial experience, the vets coming out of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are better prepared than ever for the business world, whether building start-ups or helping lead larger companies through the current turbulent period. Yet the capacity of U.S. corporate recruiters and executives to make sense of combat experience and its value in the business world is limited. As [Israeli entrepreneur] Jon Medved explained, most American business-people simply do not know how to read a military résumé. [U.S. military career adviser] Al Chase told us that a number of the vets he’s worked with have walked a business interviewer through all their leadership experiences from the battlefield, including case studies in high-stakes decision making and management of large numbers of people and equipment in a war zone, and at the end of it the interviewer has said something along the lines of “That’s very interesting, but have you ever had a real job?” In Israel it is the opposite. While Israeli businesses still look for private-sector experience, military service provides the critical standardized metric for employers—all of whom know what it means to be an officer or to have served in an elite unit.

You can find out more about the book here.