The United States has been involved in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade, and veterans are returning home and transitioning into civilian life. California is home to a population of more than 1.8 million former service members—the largest of any state—with 325,000 currently residing in Los Angeles County. The influx of veterans settling in Los Angeles County will continue at an estimated rate of 12,000 each year.
A USC CIR report states that service members encounter a series of needs as they transition out of the military. These include securing employment and housing, addressing physical or mental health issues and adjusting to civilian culture.
Also reflected in the report is that nearly 8 in 10 veterans living in Los Angeles County left the military without a job. In 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs identified a critical need for easing the transition from military to academic life, and increasing the number of veterans achieving their educational and career goals through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other education benefit programs.
From their research, the CIR made the following recommendation regarding veterans:
Provide separating service members with a formal course that reorients them to the realities of civilian employment throughout the transition process. Embed this discussion in the larger framework noting differences between military culture and civilian culture, without denigrating either of them.
In addition, Finding 8 of the CIR report included “education” as one of the key service areas identified by veterans as helpful in making a successful transition to civilian life. In California, the community colleges provide the majority of this education.
For more information:
Dr. Allen Dooley, CEO