Commissioner Kevin Wolff has a good idea of what exiting military members face upon their transition to civilian life. That’s because he did it himself in 1989. When he left the Navy after his service was complete, Commissioner Wolff had a plan for his future, but he knows most people aren’t that fortunate. The brand-new Military Transition Center will benefit San Antonio in many ways—here are four big ways how.
1. Providing additional resources for veterans and transitioning service members in San Antonio
“The average veteran has spent four or five years being told what to do constantly, then suddenly we leave the military, wake up, and think, ‘What do we do now?’”
There are around 4,000 people each year who transition out of the military and into civilian life. There are an incredible amount of organizations serving veterans in the city—more than 175—but many don’t realize that these non-profit groups exist.
On Veteran’s Day, November 12, 2018, Commissioner Wolff and colleagues opened the Military and Veterans Services Center to solve this very problem.
In addition to the existing veterans services the County was already providing, the Center will start working with active duty service members a full six months before they are discharged. Representatives from the Center start the conversation with military service officers (MSOs) and ask them what they want to do when they get home.
“Whether they need education, industry training, or job opportunities, trust me, there’s a service that will provide it,” Commissioner Wolff said.
2. Offering a year of support for veterans
For six months prior to their exit and for six months after—a full year of support—representatives will work with MSOs to make a plan for their future and make sure they have access to every resource possible.
During a time when veterans are most in need, the Military and Veterans Services Center hopes to be the rock that helps former military members create the life they deserve after sacrificing so much for our country.
3. Pairing skilled workers with growing companies
The jobs and training programs that are presented to the MSOs don’t just come out of nowhere, of course. The Center is not only solving a problem for transitioning service members and veterans, but for businesses who are looking to hire new talent, as well.
As a staffing manager for more than 20 years before he ran for office, Commissioner Wolff saw firsthand how difficult it was to find quality talent to fill skilled roles throughout San Antonio’s growing industries.
“We would spend millions of dollars a year just in recruitment, but we wouldn’t have to if we had access to a pool of military trained individuals,” Commissioner Wolff explained. “We now have a database of employers that are hungry for skilled talent and ready to train and hire.”
4. Helping transitioning service members and veterans reach self-sufficiency
For these folks, the truth of the matter is that a good job makes everything else much easier and allows for them to reach self-sufficiency. Representatives of the Bexar County Military and Veterans Services Center will grade themselves on whether the veterans they served are self-sufficient.
They’ve tasked themselves with helping this population be able to take care of themselves and their family. Commissioner Wolff sees it as a way to give back to those who have served our country, while also providing local businesses with a skilled pool of job applicants.
“It’s truly a win-win, but it won’t be easy,” Commissioner Wolff said. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
Thinking back to his time in the Navy, Commissioner Wolff remembers how easy it was to live day-to-day, without thinking of what he would do once he transitioned out. That’s the advice he gives service members today, and even the advice he gives his own daughter: always think five steps ahead.
“Whether you’re making a career out of the military or you’re just doing one hitch, really be thinking about what you want to do next,” Commissioner Wolff said. “One of these days you’re going to be out, and you don’t want to be left without an idea of what your future holds.”