Pentagon Initiative Smooths Service Members’ Path into Civilian Careers

A DOD initiative is making it easier for separating service members to obtain civilian credentials in a range of fields so they can quickly enter the civilian workforce.

So far, the department has implemented pilot credentialing programs in seven major professions — truck driving, medical, supply, automotive mechanics, aircraft mechanics, information technology and manufacturing. In fields in which military training nearly matches private sector requirements, such as welding, service members can step right into a civilian job with only a little bit of gap training, Frank DiGiovanni, the department’s director of force readiness and training, told DOD News.

Other occupations, including truck driving, require military personnel to gain additional training because of differences between the military and civilian sectors. Most military trucks are automatic, while commercial trucks and trailers use manual transmissions, for example. Military trucks also lack air brakes, DiGiovanni said.

DOD works closely with accrediting bodies in the private sector to help service members obtain civilian credentials. In many cases, industry groups or individual companies offer free training to personnel while they are still in the military, according to the story.

The department is focusing on three points in a service member’s career:

  • at the beginning, when he or she completes initial occupational training;
  • mid-career, when credentialing often requires time in the field or higher skill levels in addition to technical training; and
  • before separation when a service member plans his or her transition into civilian life.

The initiative is crucial because not all service members want a four-year college degree, DiGiovanni said.

“I think this program is going to take us to new ground,” he said. “Last year 298,000 people got out of the military. The average number is around 250,000. So this is an enduring issue and this new authority and new emphasis certainly helps our service members transition back to civilian life.”

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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