When starting their service, members of the armed forces go through a boot camp in order to ensure that they’re ready for the rigors of service. As they end their service, they should go through an equally important training program on elements of civilian life that would not be second-nature to someone who has had a regimented routine over the past several years.
The reverse boot camp would ensure that all veterans are aware of the general “timeline” of issues they’ll face. Recent veterans face different challenges than those who have been out of the armed services for a longer time period. For example, immediately after their discharge from the military, veterans often face issues with adjusting to a self-directed schedule and finding a new career, issues which are resolved over time.
This reverse boot camp would teach valuable skills required of civilian adults, such as:
- Grocery shopping and nutrition, cooking, and creating and sticking to a personal schedule (without the regimented schedule enforced by the military)
- Financial literacy and training, such as creating and sticking to a personal budget, personal banking, retirement saving, and paying bills
On top of the financial literacy training, there also needs to be laws put in place so that veterans are protected from payday lenders and other predatory businesses. This would involve creating zones around bases where these businesses couldn’t operate, lending institutions specifically for veterans that could provide financial assistance if needed coupled with more financial literacy training, and financial assistance for veterans who are having difficulty paying off predatory loans.
It would also ensure that all veterans are aware of the myriad programs available to them, including employment, health, and other support services.
Additionally, it would involve a lot of information and training on finding a new career outside of the military, including:
- Setting salary expectations for the private sector, based on field and qualifications
- Translating military skills to civilian skills
- Creating a resume and finding job opportunities
This Reverse Boot Camp would involve a number of group classes and individual consultations with experts in the military, veterans, and private-sector experts in order to ensure that all veterans are equipped to successfully transition to civilian life.
(Read Andrew's full policy of Veteran Assistance here.)
Problems to be Solved
- checkMany veterans return home not prepared for the different challenges presented by civilian life
- There are many issues unique to the veteran community that we need to address. The transition to civilian life should be smoother, and we need to put more support structures in place. Public misconceptions have lead to issues with employment. Homelessness is a perennial problem, and the VA - especially the Veterans Health Administration - can do much more to improve the well-being of those who have served. These heroes protect and serve us during their tenure, but they come home to a quick thank you and an economy that isn’t set up to help them succeed. We owe them more than a handshake.
- checkProvide training for our veterans on the challenges presented in civilian life
- checkPrepare our veterans to manage their finances