By Kate Gallagher, economic development coordinator
With the largest concentration of military assets in the world and the largest federal military workforce in the country, it’s no surprise that San Diego has the 3rd highest population of veterans in the United States.
Each year, more than 20,000 Sailors and Marines stationed in San Diego leave military service, a third of whom are expected to stay in the San Diego community. Individuals transitioning to civilian life are trained, team oriented, and hardworking, but can also face challenges adjusting to life outside the military structure and regime. According to the National Veterans Transition Service Inc. (NVTSI), “81 percent of transitioning military personnel do not feel fully prepared for the process of entering the job market.”
There are countless support services to help veterans through their transition, but navigating the programs and resources can be a daunting challenge. To provide a fresh perspective and tackle the transition experience through an educational lens, the University of San Diego, in partnership with EDC, hosted its third annual Military Transition Conference. The USD Military Transition Conference focused on translating military experience into skills and knowledge applicable to a wide variety of industries, and addressed key questions military personnel and veterans have around educational benefits, job hunting, and more.
Attended by more than 75 veterans and their dependents, the conference showcased opportunities for veterans to continue meaningful, innovation-driven work in San Diego. The day kicked off with a keynote address by Maurice Wilson, president and executive director of NVTSI and creator of REBOOT, a cohort-based program designed for transitioning military to develop skills necessary for successful reintegration into civilian life. Following the keynote were a series of breakout sessions where participants could get their resumes reviewed, speak one-on-one with industry representatives, or get coached on job search strategies. Finally, a panel of veterans – representing Bank of America, SONY, Intuit, TaylorMade Golf, and Sentek Global – wrapped up the conference by sharing their transition stories into successful careers across tech, finance, and manufacturing.
With veterans representing nearly 10 percent of San Diego’s population, the development of this important pool of talent is pertinent to San Diego’s economic success. EDC will continue to support the veteran ecosystem, helping to elevate local opportunities for transitioning military.