In 2014, Women Veterans Interactive (WVI) committed to recruit military and veteran women who are seeking employment for a free, three-tier, technology enhanced, and interactive workforce development program. WVI intends to reach a total of 3,000 women and ultimately assist 1000 military and veteran women in become gainfully employed, through a combination of dedicated resource and network partners, A deliberate and concentrated recruitment effort will be placed on, near and around military installations.
This phase includes recruiting the women veterans; a two hour webinar with no more than 100 attendees per workshop which equates to 10 workshops to accommodate the 1000 participants. The webinar will be facilitated by a Subject Matter Expert. This phase also includes a 1.5 hour Group Career Counseling session to present the foundation of the program and obtain a baseline on the participants in terms of interests, skills, and values. These workshops will have no more than 15 attendees and will include a validated assessment inventory. The assessment results will be debriefed by the Career Counselor in a telephonic one-on-one session with each woman veteran. That equates to 66 workshops to accommodate all the participants. The participants will have access to a Career Counselor throughout the program for individual assistance and that will be capped at 2 hours per participant. We are estimating that 80% of the participants will utilize the 2 hours of individual counseling which equals 1,600 hours.
This phase will be in an instructor-led format. A series of 12 to 16 concurrent workshops will be offered over a two (2) day period. Topics will include job search basics such as resume writing, interviewing techniques, networking objectives as well as other related topics and guest speakers. The veterans will be provided with, meals and lodging for the event. There will also be hand-outs and job aids that they can use as a reference after the event
Women veterans will be matched with jobs and careers that they are qualified for through WVI employment network partners. Women will have access to the WVI online portal to search for job opportunities posted by our network employers and non-network employers. Once employed, participants will have one year additional access to case managers to ensure a smooth transition into the workforce.
Phase I: August 2014
- Identify partners
- Partner with corporations and organizations that can assist with making this commitment a success
- Educate partners on the program and their role in commitment
- Develop partner MOU and commitment matrix
- Develop marketing materials, virtual communication and hands-on-toolkit for partner organizations
- Develop program website
- Develop program specific social media network community
- Identify and recruit military/veteran women who are entering or have recently entered the transition phase (ongoing)
Phase II: September 2014
- Develop benchmarking, metrics and tools to measure outcomes, progress and success
- Develop system to track outcomes and success stories
- Make adjustments and revisions as deemed necessary by leadership partners (ongoing)
Phase III: November 2014
- Launch official program on a national platform for maximum visibility with committed partners
- Late fall 2014, the first virtual session will begin
- Early 2015, the first in person 2-day workshops will launch in the Washington DC Metro Area
- Early spring 2015 women veterans will enter employment phase of program
Phase IV: November 2014- December 2016
After the initial virtual session has started new sessions will start on a quarterly basis as will Tier 2 and Tier 3. WVI will continue to follow the same format on a quarterly basis until they have met their goal. All 3 tiers will be implemented simultaneously throughout the country.
In October 2013, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported that there are nearly 2.3 million female veterans. This number is expected to increase significantly within the next 20 years. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, women currently make up 8% of the total veteran population and 14.6% of the active duty military, this is expected to increase to an estimated 16% by 2035.
Transitioning out of the military can be a daunting task for service members, especially for female veterans, some of whom are single parents. According to the Department of Defense, in 2010 more than 30,000 single mothers have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and, as of 2006, more than 40% of active duty women have children. From the time a female veteran is discharged, she is on the move, preparing and planning for a smooth transition, securing a new permanent living situation, getting her children signed up for school and securing employment; employment being the glue that holds her transition together. Unfortunately, female veterans are having a difficult time finding employment, ultimately resulting in homelessness for some. A study conducted by Women's Health issues, suggests that homeless women veterans are caught in a web of vulnerability. One of the five predominant roots of homelessness for female veterans is unemployment. Additionally, many of the skills that women veterans learn during their military service may not translate easily into civilian workforce terminology.
Women veterans are the fastest growing population of homeless veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are over 50,000 homeless women veterans on any given night. Homeless women veterans also face substantial barriers to employment. In 2010, according to the VA, 77% of homeless female veterans were unemployed.
Women Veterans Interactive is seeking partners to lend their expertise and share best practices, financial resources. Media and marketing partners are essential to ensure that the program reaches women veterans and women in the military that will benefit from this program. Employment partners are an essential component to this program to build a solid employment pipeline.