“As an Army and a Nation, we are responsible to ensure transitioning personnel are prepared to enter the civilian workforce.”
– Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, U.S. Army G-1, sheds light into to the Army’s Transition program.
After more than a decade of war, the Army is preparing to drawdown our force. As we drawdown, we must look to the future and reshape our Army to meet new requirements of both today and tomorrow.
By the end of Fiscal Year 2017, we will decrease our end-strength in the active component from 570,000 to 490,000; from 358,000 to 353,500 in the National Guard; and from 206,000 to 205,000 in the Army Reserves. We will focus on maintaining an All-Volunteer Force of the highest quality Soldiers while shaping our smaller force through normal attrition from end of one’s term of service, retirement, targeted accessions and retention balanced with involuntary separations. Unfortunately, there will be a number of Soldiers we will not be able to retain.
As an Army and a Nation, we have a responsibility to ensure transitioning personnel have the support they need and deserve prior to separating, and are prepared to enter the civilian workforce. The Veteran’s Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act was implemented last November. This policy means that transition is now a Commander’s program and every Soldier must begin mandatory transition counseling and planning no later than 12 months before separating to ensure they are ready for a civilian career and/or further education. The VOW Act also offers employers tax incentives for hiring veterans.
My main objective for our transition program is to continue streamlining and enhancing the process through which the Army connects employers with transitioning Soldiers from all Army components; Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve. Under the supervision of Headquarters, Department of the Army G-1, the Transition Strategic Outreach Office (TSO) serves as the axis for our efforts of uniting various employers with qualified Soldiers. In executing this important personnel mission, we realize there are some complex issues associated with making this connection, yet we continue to work through these obstacles in effort to support our Soldiers and Families.
One challenge identified is there seems to be a disconnect between employers who are interested in hiring and our Veterans searching for employment. Army senior leaders continue to ask the question, how to streamline this as quickly as possible? Also, we’ve met with numerous companies across the country and have begun to bridge these gaps through education and engagement. We will not yield in providing transition specific resources to Soldiers to ensure their readiness for life after their service, but my bottom line is bridging this connection.
A key facilitative tool to help outreach and a tremendous resource for employers is the “Hero 2 Hired” web site (https://h2h.jobs/). It provides hiring managers with direct access to qualified candidates who already have background checks and security clearances.
We know that employers often struggle to match job requirements, and industry standards, with Army MOS skills and training equivalents. Similarly, many Veterans do not understand civilian job-skill terminology and titles. H2H leverages a unique military-to-civilian skill-translation technology that matches the talents of Soldiers to civilian jobs.
In the last year, jobless rates among Veterans have started to decrease. In effort to continue this trend, we are leveraging the opportunity and benefit of transferring transitioning Soldiers’ information to the Department of Labor (DOL) at least 90 days prior to them exiting the Army, rather than waiting until the separation process is complete. This past fall, the DOL agreed to work with about 500 soldiers who are within 6 months of leaving the Army at Fort Sill and Fort Hood. There are approximately 385 Soldiers currently involved in this pilot and have volunteered to provide their personal information to acquire assistance for future career opportunities. This is definitely a win for our Soldier and their Families.
There are other pilots currently being executed and forth coming. It will be great to see in the near future more companies and agencies vying for our Soldiers for employment. The consensus I get from industry is that there is a tremendous competition for quality people. I want America’s industries and companies who are looking for dependable, fit, skillful and quality personnel to know that the Army has a wealth of people who meet this criterion.
The Army’s senior leadership is dedicated to ensuring that individuals who serve our country well and faithfully are given the tools and resources to be just as successful in the civilian world.
Please share with us your thoughts about Army transition and any questions you may have in the comments section.