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Veterans Helping Veterans: Transition Survey

Service member writing in a document.

Transitioning from the military to civilian life is almost never easy and requires major adjustments in outlook and attitude to be done successfully. The military thrives on structure and hierarchy, but the civilian world can seem like a chaotic mess. There are no higher-ups organizing your life, nothing that regulates your day-to-day activities, and no clear structure to the do's and dont's of civilian culture.

One of the major obstacles to helping veterans successfully integrate is a clear understanding of what they need. Thanks to Military-Transition.org, that knowledge gap is going to become a little smaller. Their latest project is to send out surveys to transitioned service members, and gather intel on their experience after separating from the military.

"Our objectives are to help soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguard members understand and prepare for the transition process ahead, which should reduce the time needed, ease the uncertainty, and help them find the best fit for their skills and aspirations," said Brian Niswander, chief architect of the study and Founder/President of Military-Transition.org. Niswander, a transitioned veteran himself, continued, "We've based our approach upon 19 years of experience and qualitative research with transitioning veterans in both private and public sector organizations."

Some of the most common question about transitioning that current service members have are:

  • What does someone with my experience, education, and training do in the civilian workforce?
  • Will I like it outside the military?
  • What challenges or obstacles are ahead in my upcoming transitioning?
  • What lessons can I learn and apply from my fellow veterans who have already transitioned?
  • How will my quality of life as a civilian compare to the lifestyle that surrounded me in the military?

Military-Transition will pose these and other questions to veterans in anonymous surveys. The answers will be uploaded to a general knowledge base online which will be interactive and termed "transition intelligence." Not only will service members be able to see how veterans respond to their questions, they'll be able to refine answers by military branch, specialty, rank, years of service, education, and other key demographic variables

"This kind of specific resource and the clarity of understanding it brings, doesn't exist today. It will be a major step forward in helping service members understand and prepare for their transition," offered Don Greiman, a retired AF senior leader and Chief Operating Officer at Military-Transition.org with hiring experience in several Defense industry firms since his own transition in 2007. "Through this survey and the insight it will provide, the military tradition of members helping members is alive and well. After all, it's what GIs have always done for each other" he continued.

Aside from collecting and annotating data for active duty service members, Military-Transition also aims to develop deep insights into the transition process and provide them to the Department of Defense (DoD) for integration in veteran-servicing programs. Specifically, they'll be looking at factors that contribute to high turnover of veterans in the workplace. Ensuring that veterans stay in the jobs they get will help reduce their stress and increase their ability to gain solid footing in the civilian world.

After the data of the 2015 survey is compiled, Military-Transition will use it as a baseline for annual releases. The current survey can be found here, and all answers provided are completely anonymous. The more veterans answer, the stronger the data will be and the greater insight Military-Transition will have in understanding how former service members cope with post-military life.

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