Each year, more than nearly 200,000 service members leave the U.S. military. Of these, 30% leave service without a job, and 71% don’t sign up for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. As former CIO for the U.S. Department of the Navy, I’ve seen how difficult it can be for service members to successfully transition into post-military life. There’s a lot of change that military personnel need to navigate during this time — from how they live and work, to how they reconnect with family and friends — to name a few. The process can be overwhelming, and without the proper support at the right place and the right time, service members can slip through the cracks.
In the digital and data-driven age we live in, we have the opportunity to create more accessible, intelligent and virtual pathways to ensure service members have a successful journey back to civilian life.
I’m proud to share that Google Public Sector is collaborating with the Expiration Term of Service (ETS) Sponsorship Program, a non-profit organization that actively coordinates with the Veterans Administration (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and local communities, to support service members through the transition process from military to civilian life.
Onward and upward: Building a community experience with Google Workspace
ETS Sponsorship’s newest program, Onward Ops, is a single, secure portal for information and resources hosted on Google Cloud. New veterans can connect with sponsors, find relevant job training, navigate the VA benefits system, access mental health resources, and more. With the integration of Google Workspace into Onward Ops, each separating service member receives a Google Workspace account to engage with a variety of vetted resources and easily communicate with others in the program. AI assistant in Gmail, Chat, and Calendar takes the hassle out of finding the right words or the right time, while interactive features in Google Meet foster expression. Ultimately, these tools help create a connection, which can help build community.
For example, an Onward Ops enrollee can join free classes in Google Classroom, access a group calendar that shows networking events nearby, and connect with military community sponsors directly via Google Chat. This is in contrast to existing programs that connect veterans to groups on social media or through referrals.
Google’s commitment to veterans
I am excited about our collaboration with Onward Ops and our ability to build on Google’s long and ongoing commitment to supporting service members and veterans through numerous existing programs, including:
Asearchable database of job opportunities for veterans using their military occupation code (MOS) to see relevant civilian jobs that require similar skills to those used in the veteran’s military role
A mental wellness resource hub for veterans and their families,Serving Veterans, where high-profile veterans share their experiences by asking for help in times of need
A partnership withHiring Our Heroes as well as hosting dozens of Fellows through the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s)Skillbridge program to train transitioning members on technology skills for a career outside of the DoD. Google has hired several Fellows from this program, thereby assisting recently separated service members in obtaining a career in the private sector post-service
Leave benefits and career training programs for military spouses and families
A virtual career series for veterans who may be interested in exploring Google careers
For more information on how Onward Ops supports transitioning military service members, or how to get involved, visitonwardops.partners.
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