Making the transition from military to civilian life may get easier in 2019. It’s no secret that most servicemembers will eventually move on to life outside of the armed forces. However, making the change from one lifestyle to another isn’t easy, and the transition to civilian life has long been an difficult one for retired servicemembers and Veterans.
Sgt Major of the Army Daniel Dailey is hoping this new program could help change all of that. Currently offered only at Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood, Texas), Dailey’s program allows soldiers to use federal funds to pursue credentials in skilled trades. Currently, tuition assistance from the federal government can only be used for a more traditional degree plan, but Dailey makes a good case for skilled labor.
During a visit to Fort Riley during late 2018, Dailey talked about the new program and the importance of skilled workers in today’s economy. According to Dailey, only 20% of jobs in America require a degree, leaving 80% of the jobs open for skilled and unskilled labor. Plus, in terms of salary, skilled labor makes 30% more, on average, than an undergrad from college, explained Dailey. So not only is the opportunity there for soldiers to get a job as a skilled worker after the military, the money is there, too.
Currently, around 18% of soldiers use tuition assistance in some form or fashion. If the program succeeds in Fort Hood, one would have to presume that even more soldiers will start taking advantage of the program. Besides, with a credentialed skill on their resume, workers have a 75% better chance of finding employment. And the new program hopes to allow soldiers to purse “any trade or any license or any certificate for any state-recognized or industry-recognized credential in the US.”
It certainly sounds good on paper and Dailey does a great job explaining the importance of skilled labor. However, we’ll see how quickly and effectively the program spreads across the country. It would be great to see this program offered at more bases in the very near future.
In the meantime, there’s plenty of great information out there about transitioning into civilian life. The process definitely isn’t easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Check out these great tips from AAFMAA COO COL Carlos Perez Jr., USA RET., on transitioning out of the military, and read his own account of entering the civilian world after a military life. You may realize your worries aren’t that different from your fellow servicemembers.
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