Veterans across America is a charitable organization which specializes in finding employment for veterans, with a view to providing support for them and their families, and helping them reintegrate successfully into society. This paper will describe the origins and purpose of the organization, describe the various program areas, and provide an overview of the type of jobs and employment created by this organization.
Veterans across America (VAA) aims to provide a dual-purpose solution to one of the problems facing American society: the reintegration of war veterans into non-military society. As the website describes, veterans who have been trained to cope with the high pressure and unusual circumstances particular to military life and war-zones, can experience difficulty in finding suitable employment and reintegrating to non-military life. However, VAA see veterans as the “newest hidden talent pool” (Veterans across America, n.p.), and aim to make use of the specialist skills sets and training of veterans both to support their reintegration and invigorate the economy and employment marketplace of the nation.
The organization was founded at the request of President Clinton in 1996, after a study executed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff identified the reintegration and employment of veterans as a problem following the Gulf War (Veterans across America, n.p.). With input from experienced senior military personnel, VAA has been extremely successful in helping address the problem, and in 2009 the launch of the “Six Months to Success” program enabled the organization to focus its efforts on the current veteran situation following the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (Veterans across America, n.p.).
The key current initiative of VAA is the “Six Months to Success” Employment Plan. This initiative aims to provide unemployed veterans, or veterans who are struggling to find regular or well-paid work, with the tools they need to improve their economic and social situation (Veterans across America, n.p.). It does this through two separate but interlinked programs: the Champion Mentoring Program, and Project VALOR.
The Champion Mentoring program focuses on providing tools to enable veterans to take control of their own employment and social status. It does this through a program of education programs and employment conferences and boot camps, but most importantly through the provision of mentors. Champion Mentors in the business sector work one-on-one with veterans to educate them in finding employment, but more importantly to provide them with a “network” of contacts, enabling them to more easily access employment opportunities (Veterans across America, n.p.).
Supporting the Champion Mentoring program is Project VALOR, standing for “Veteran Adult Leadership Program”. This program trains and deploys veterans as adult leaders in community-based organizations which focus on providing role-models and support for vulnerable young people and children, helping them to make “positive life choices” (Veterans across America, n.p.). This not only provides fulfilling employment for veterans, but also helps support communities as well (Veterans across America, n.p.).
(d) Three to five paragraphs discussing the types of jobs this organization has created. Consult the “Careers,” “Employment,” “Jobs,” or “Leadership” section of the website, and describe the job and job requirements for any jobs listed. Additionally, look at the list of staff (usually found under “About” or “Who We Are”) and describe the number and type of jobs and job titles.
VAA has created two main types of employment opportunity: in the first place it has provided career opportunities for veterans through Project VALOUR, and in the second place it has provided volunteer opportunities for individuals to act as mentors through the Champion Mentoring program.
The VAA website itself provides no information whatsoever about the qualifications required to be a Champion Mentor volunteer. However, it does provide a link to the Project VALOR White Paper, which details the skills and experience which make veterans perfect employee candidates for an employment program such as Project VALOR. The White Paper describes the fact that military personnel are “taught discipline, leadership, team building, interpersonal skills, high standards for success, confidence and have experienced the world and many different cultures” (VAA, 2); Project VALOR aims to redeploy this valuable skill-set within the community, providing employment outlets which benefit both the veterans and society as a whole.
Interestingly, apart from detailing the skills needed for Project VALOR, VAA provide absolutely no information about the employment opportunities they have created, suggesting that as an organization the employment opportunities they provide for non-veterans are extremely limited. Beyond the information provided about the origins of the organization, no information is offered about the current staff, or their roles, skills and qualifications. Even more surprising is the fact that very little information is offered about the skills and experience needed to become a Champion Mentor; those interested in volunteering their skills in the area are directed to contact VAA directly for more information, suggesting that the selection process for potential mentors is both rigorous and competitive. As a non-veteran, it seems that it would therefore be extremely difficult for me to find employment through this organization.
Overall, VAA clearly provide a valuable employment resource to society, but their contribution to the job market is specialised and necessarily limited. Nevertheless, by occupying their niche market, VAA have made innovative use of the otherwise wasted skills of highly-trained problem members of society, and have helped to tackled both veteran unemployment and the effects of unemployment on society. While they may not be contributing significantly to the overall employment market of the nation, they are instead helping to ensure that the talent available within the nation is being employed efficiently and positively.
- Veterans across America. “Advocates for Veteran Employment”. Veterans across America, Veterans across America, 2013. Web. 26 November 2015.
- VAA. Project VALOR White Paper.” Veterans across America, Veterans across America, 2013. Web. 26 November 2015.