Sign up for the Spouse & Family Newsletter

Most Popular Careers Articles

Military Life 101

  • job fair
    Military Spouse Employment 101
    While the military will always throw a monkey wrench in any best-laid plans, your career doesn't have to be one of them.
  • (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)
    Military Spouse Education Help 101
    Good news for you: Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier.
  • (Photo: U.S. Navy)
    Military Life 101
    Military life has a lot of nuts and bolts. You know, the little things that make up just an ordinary day.
  • stack of one dollar bills
    Military Spouse and Family Benefits 101
    Don't know exactly how to get your military spouse and family benefits or want to know more about what they are? Read on.
  • Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force
    Military Spouse and Family Moves 101
    Whether you're an old pro or new to the military moving game, there's stuff to learn about PCSing. Here's our easy PCS 101 guide.
  • (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie)
    Military Family Deployment 101
    Preparing for deployment can seem like an uphill battle. But we've been there. Here's what you need to know.
  • Military family
    Military Family Life 101
    Military life is not easy, but we've got your back. From marriage to kids and parenting, we have the resources you need.

Military Spouses Create Group to Help Troops, Vets Find Jobs

Finding a job can be hard enough when everything goes right for you. When life hands you a life-altering curveball finding a job becomes even more difficult. Those situations seem to happen more often than we would like.

Thanks to Operation Life Transformed (OLT), the job of finding a job becomes just a bit easier for transitioning veterans, military spouses and those who care for our war wounded.

OLT, founded in March 2007, is a unique 501(c)(3) organization, that has a mission to provide education and resources to servicemembers, veterans and military families.

The goal of OLT is to increase awareness of the long-term needs of these families as they support the spouses or caregivers as they re-enter the workforce. They also provide cost-free direct access to corporate human resource managers and resume assistance.

OLT also helps eligible spouses and designated caregivers of those wounded in war to find and enroll in accessible short-term training certifications.

"When we find ourselves facing a new reality, we don't always think about the future right away," said Colleen Saffron, co-founder and chief communication officer of OLT. "Instead, we wonder what to do next. OLT helps with that."

OLT is there for the caregiver and the transitioning servicemember but also for military spouses who seek to build a career.

"As military spouses, we move all the time. We accept jobs rather than build careers. OLT strives to remove those barriers," said Saffron adding that it pains her to see military spouses who worked hard for their master's degrees working as hostesses at local restaurants.

To combat underemployment, unemployment and facilitate workplace re-entry, Saffron, along two other military spouses, founded the program.

Tania Mercurio, a military spouse of 14 years, is the chief executive officer. Kim Marrero, a military spouse of six years, is the chief operating officer.

"Our programs do not focus on obtaining a degree. A degree is worthwhile endeavor but it takes time to achieve that goal. In the meantime, you still have to eat and you have to pay your bills," said Saffron.

OLT, instead, focuses on teaching marketable job skills so spouses and caregivers can get to work and earn a paycheck as quickly as possible.

OLT provides funding for online education, and training certifications that lead to positions with military-friendly employers.

"Some certifications that are offered by our credentialed and reputable partner schools can be completed in only four to 18 months," said Saffron, adding that all the coursework is accomplished on the Web.

A Microsoft Office certification can be achieved in just four months. Other certifications may take up to 18 months to complete, but can also lead to other opportunities.

For example, a spouse or caregiver might become a medical clerk or a medical assistant with only the completion of a computer literacy course and a medical terminology course.

"From there, you can be hired by a doctor's office or a hospital. If you do a good job for them, it's conceivable that the employer would then help you on to the next professional level. It happens all the time," Saffron said.

OLT focuses specifically on career fields identified by the Department of Labor as being both portable and in-demand. Examples of courses offered include computer literacy, medical terminology, medical coding, health care administration and Internet technology.

OLT also works with spouses who want to take advantage of the DOD's MyCAA program, which provides up to $6,000 over two years for training and education.

Ultimately, OLT hopes to become the preferred resource for training, education and career development for military spouses, caregivers of war-wounded, veterans and military-friendly employers.

"We knew when we started the organization, it was needed. We never imagined it would grow into what it has," Saffron said.

Related Topics

Family and Spouse Spouse Jobs Find Jobs

Military News App by

Download the new News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!


This article is provided courtesy of Stars and Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

Stars and Stripes has one of the widest distribution ranges of any newspaper in the world. Between the Pacific and European editions, Stars and Stripes services over 50 countries where there are bases, posts, service members, ships, or embassies.

Stars and Stripes Website

Featured VA Loan Articles