Flush with important skill sets and valuable experiences, military veterans can be counted among a community's greatest assets. Unfortunately, one barrier they face when out of uniform and in a civilian capacity is a feeling of disconnection from the very people they wish to serve.
So says a a 44-page report, All Volunteer Force: From Military to Civilian Service [pdf]. Published last November on Veterans Day by public policy firm Civic Enterprises, it presents the findings of a first ever nationally representative survey focusing on veterans' homecoming transition and civic lives.
The survey found that "only 13 percent of veterans strongly agree their transitions are going well. Yet those veterans who said they had volunteered since returning home had better transitions than those who had not." More:
- Nearly 9 out of 10 veterans said Americans could learn something from their example of service, yet only half considered themselves leaders in their communities as a result of their military service.
- Nearly 7 in 10 veterans had not been contacted by a community institution, local non-‐profit, or place of worship after their return home.
- 92 percent of OIF/OEF veterans agreed that serving their community is important to them.
- Veterans said a diverse range of issues was important or very important to them: helping military families (90 percent), being involved with disaster relief (88 percent), working with at-risk youth (86 percent), and being involved with the environment/conservation (69 percent).
- 7 in 10 non-volunteering veterans said they do not have enough information of meaningful service opportunities.
In extended, a portion of the report's statistic-heavy intro.