From Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots (and other career services for new veterans)

By Jennifer Kim

The military services have several programs in place to assist Vietnam-era veterans as well as those retiring from a long military career. In recent years, many government, non-profit and for-profit organizations have started specialized programs to help veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many of these veterans are not military careerists, but are returning to civilian life after honorably fulfilling their service obligation. Most programs have a special emphasis on assisting veterans with service-related mental or physical disabilities. Here are a few of those resources:


The AbilityOne Program

Federal initiative to help people who are blind or have other severe disabilities find employment by working for nonprofit agencies that sell products/services to the U.S. government


American Corporate Partners (ACP)
Free nationwide, in-person or e-mentoring, career counseling and networking with professionals for long-term career development for veterans


America's Heroes at Work


US Department of Labor project, designed for employers and workforce development systems, addresses employment challenges with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


C.O.D.E. – Call of Duty Endowment


Helps veterans find careers and supports organizations that provide job training and placement


Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots


University of Nebraska job training and career placement program for military veterans interested in becoming farm or ranch owners, offered on-campus and distance education


The Farmer-Veteran Coalition


Helps returning veterans find employment/training and works to improve job opportunities and veteran services in rural communities


The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) http://whitman.syr.edu/ebv/

Hands-on training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with service-related disabilities, offered through Syracuse University, UCLA, Florida State, Texas A&M, Purdue University and University of Connecticut


G.I. Jobs


Guide to post-military success with many career and education resources


Helmets to Hardhats


Places veterans into building and construction careers through trade apprenticeship programs and offers specific resources for disabled veterans


Hire Heroes USA’s (HHUSA)


Transition assistance, job search/placement services particularly for veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, with specific resources for wounded or disabled veterans


Job Corps


US Department of Labor program offering free job training and post-training assistance services with priority enrollment for veterans (and three locations that offer dorm areas exclusively for veterans)


The Mission Continues


Provides opportunities for veterans to serve as citizen leaders


National Resource Directory


Provides access to veteran services and resources at the national, state and local levels that support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration


Operation RE/MAX


Provides listing of RE/MAX offices that have made a commitment to hire and mentor military spouses, veterans and transitioning personnel


Return to Work


Offers vocational rehabilitation and employment services: evaluation, training, placement, service learning and supported employment


The Veterans Corporation


Provides veterans and service-disabled veterans with access to the tools required to become successful in business


Veteran’s Transition Franchise Initiative


Franchise opportunities portal operated by the International Franchise Association, offering specific discounts to veterans


NCDA Military Interest Areas


Career development professionals may use this listing (one of 8 specialty areas offered) to gain inspiration and information when working with military clients.


These are just a few of the many helmet-to-hardhat resources and we are looking for more!  If you have veteran career resources to share or if you work in a program serving new veterans, please  submit an article to Career Convergence.



Jennifer SmithJennifer Kim, NCC, lives in Chicago and serves as an Education Services Specialist (ESS) for the Department of Defense, where she oversees the administration of the ASVAB Career Exploration Program www.asvabprogram.com in the western half of the US. She can be reached at Jennifer.kim@mepcom.army.mil

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Roger Young   on Wednesday 11/03/2010 at 09:28 AM

These are good resources. I will mention one more that could be of interest to Veterans. That is an organization called Veteran's Green Jobs. It is a newer (founded in 2008) Denver, Colo.-based national nonprofit organization that provides green jobs education, transition support, and career and enterprise development opportunities for military veterans.

Elisabeth Sanders-Park   on Friday 03/01/2013 at 08:40 PM

JENNIFER: Thank you for this list. I am just getting involved in a new effort to help people making military-to-civilian transitions in Los Angeles. This will be very helpful.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.