This week it was my honor and privilege to be recognized by the White House as a Champion for Change. I, along with my fantastic team from the National Veteran Transition Services Inc. (NVTSI) were truly inspired and humbled to know that what we are working to accomplish through the REBOOT Program is truly making an impact on the lives of veterans and their families.
As a 26 year veteran of the United States Navy, I am acutely aware of the unique needs of our military men and women. Leaving the military is a significant social, psychological, and professional transition. Since September 2001, roughly 2 million veterans have returned to civilian life. Up to 200,000 more may join the civilian job market annually in coming years.
Military service endows important personal characteristics, practical skills, and professional experience; however, translating these skills to civilian life is often a challenge. Existing efforts focus primarily on the basic aspects of the employment transition, but do not adequately address personal and lifestyle transition or effectively prepare and support professional transition. According to Military.com surveys have shown that 81 percent of transitioning military personnel do not "feel fully prepared for the process of entering the job market."
We understand the tremendous sacrifices our men and women in uniform and their families make on a daily basis. They honorably carry out their duties for their county. That is why I believe we have a moral responsibility to keep our promise to the people who have served our nation when they return to civilian life.
It is because of this belief that we established NVTSI and the REBOOT Program. We recognize that the scope of transition challenges and service needs goes far beyond job placement. Military service is a life choice, not a career choice. Military to civilian transition is a life change, not a job change.
Through NVTSI, we advocate, inform, and provide comprehensive transition services for veterans, with a focus on recently separated service members (RSS), veterans and service members within 12 months of anticipated separation. The goal of NVTSI’s REBOOT program is to help veterans build fulfilling and productive civilian lives strengthened by the reforged elements of their military character and experience.
NVTSI's REBOOT Workshops™ provide extensive personalized training to help veterans and their spouses reintegrate back into civilian life after service. A 15-day, three week course of progressive training, REBOOT addresses the personal and social aspects of transition to civilian life, by using research-based, outcome-driven methods drawn from best practices in career planning and cognitive-behavioral techniques to help service members and veterans set and achieve their career/life goals. Training is supplemented with extended follow up that aggregates opportunities, promotes social networking, and facilitates peer support.
American veterans and their families deserve our full support. As we approach Veteran’s Day, we at NVTSI and the REBOOT Program are proud to be recognized for our efforts by the White House. Now more than ever, we are committed to being Champions for Change in the lives of our military men and women, their families and our communities.
Maurice D. Wilson is the co-founder and President/National Executive Director of National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. and a retired Master Chief petty Officer of the United States Navy.