Finding a job in the civilian world isn't easy for veterans. According to Michelle Obama, "[in October], the unemployment rate for female veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was 11.2 percent…" It's a frustrating statistic to swallow, but veterans are more likely to be out of work than civilians. The good news is that there are plenty of resources to help veterans learn new job skills and find jobs. In an announcement made earlier in November, Michelle Obama revealed a new, nearly complete job training package available through Coursera.
Coursera is a website that provides over 800 online courses, many of them for free. Now, however, they've gone a step farther and offered something more. Obama mentioned in her announcement that Coursera is offering "one free verified certificate to any veteran in a number of high-demand fields like data science and entrepreneurship."
Job certifications are very important for certain industries, and valuable to anyone who doesn't have a college degree. Certification programs go beyond general education and provide very specific instruction on various topics. Obtaining one can lead to better job prospects and advancement opportunities, and in certain careers they are a requirement.
To make the process as smooth as possible, veterans who complete their certification can automatically upload that information to their LinkedIn profile. If a veteran doesn't have internet access or would like to meet with other veterans who are looking for work, the Department of Veteran Affairs is launching 20 learning hubs around the U.S. To top the experience off, LinkedIn is providing one year-long premium subscription to each veteran who obtains a certificate through Coursera.
This type of project might be crucial to a veteran's successful reintegration into the civilian workforce. Sometimes it's a matter of job experience, and sometimes it's a matter of finding the best way to reach out to employers. Either way, every tool is valuable.
The event was attended by a number of female veterans including Trish Freeland, a retired Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force. When she left the Air Force, she had obtained a leadership award, a bachelor's, and a master's degree with honors.
"I didn't think I would have any trouble finding a job after leaving the military, but I quickly found out that wasn't the case," said Freeland. "How do I get that when I've been 30 years in the military?"