USO’s new program helps veterans transition into civilian life, navigate thousands of resources
Pathfinder is a new program that pairs service members with a Scout to help them transition(Beverly Joyner, U.S. Air Force photo)
Every year, 250,000 U.S. service members leave the military for civilian life. Thanks to the USO, or United Service Organizations – a nonprofit organization that serves the U.S. military and their families, new veterans now have access to a comprehensive re-entry plan and a host of transition services.
USO’s new program, Pathfinder, pairs service members with “scouts” who help them define and achieve their personal and professional goals through an organized life plan.
Scouts, employees of the USO, work with service members for up to 12 months before and 12 months after their separation from military service.
The success of the program stems from individualized assistance, quality tools and resources, and long-term relationships with organizations across the country whose intention is to be a resource for veterans.
“Today, there are organizations that service members can turn to for the transition support services they seek,” said Anne Sprute, U.S. Army veteran and the USO’s Senior Vice President of Transition Strategy and Innovation, according to a USO press release.
“The challenge is finding what you need in the complex market of over 46,000 nonprofits and companies that are trying to help,” Sprute said.
Another resource of Pathfinder includes a resume engine that helps service members translate their military experience into skills and strengths that are appealing to U.S. employers.
Through their individualized action plan, service members will be connected with the organizations and resources that are best-suited to help them through their specific transition.
“We are always by the side of service members, from the time they are first sworn in until they complete their service. Providing best-in-class transition services represents our final act of support, as we reconnect them to the civilian life they set aside to serve their country,” said Dr. J.D. Crouch II, CEO and President of the USO.
Among USO’s many programs, this is their first comprehensive transition program. For more than 75 years, the USO supported active duty service members and their family members through programs like their USO centers.
These centers provide 24-hour hospitality and entertainment for service members in more than 200 locations around the world. At USO centers, service members can call their families, watch a movie, have snacks or enjoy each other’s company.
The USO’s two centers in Kuwait average almost 40,000 visits per month.
The USO now hopes to become the country’s top provider of transitions services for service members transitioning to civilian life.