Vets navigate bumpy road in military-to-civilian transition

The unemployment rate for young veterans who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan is high — it spiked to 13.3 percent in the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This edition of On DoD focuses mostly on one bump in the road in the military-to- civilian career transition: the higher education step. When it comes to paying for college, Congress has solved that problem, at least in theory. The relatively generous Post-9/11 GI bill gives recent veterans essentially a full ride scholarship for an undergraduate degree — paying their tuition up to the rate of the most expensive public university in a veteran’s home state.

But there’s reason to believe those benefits aren’t being used in the way Congress imagined. Some studies show as many as 88 percent of veterans never make it through college. Gunnar Counselman, a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in Iraq, Bosnia and the Horn of Africa, joined On DoD to discuss the military-to-civilian career transition. Counselman went on to found a company called Fidelis Inc., set up explicitly to help veterans get through the transition period.