The new platform offers free courses and resources to boost job search, overcome underemployment.
I am excited to continue our AARP column for the Pacific Citizen. It is an honor for me as a Yonsei who grew up in Los Angeles and now live in Maryland. My journey to AARP and interest in social work and gerontology was not a traditional path. Prior to joining AARP and getting my master’s degree in social work from USC, I was working in accounting and helping people with their taxes. It was quite the shift for me, but I couldn’t be happier.
I was always close to my grandparents in Torrance, Calif., and this led me to want to pursue a career in geriatric social work and mental health. Following graduate school, I accepted a fellowship at AARP that led to my current role in AARP’s Policy, Research and International Affairs department. In my role, I serve as an adviser in the Office of the Chief Public Policy Officer.
A natural outcome is to be able to share AARP content, research findings and public policy positions on a variety of topic areas that impact people 50-plus. I am excited to continue the path that was established by Ron Mori, as he brought AARP research findings and helpful articles to help families over the years.
A great example of a helpful resource tool that was just launched is the AARP Veterans and Military Spouses Job Center, a new digital platform bringing together valuable information and resources to help veterans and military spouses compete in today’s job market.
The job center includes a new Veterans Career Advantage Course to build on career planning and skills development to help navigate the job market. According to an AARP survey, more than half (56 percent) of employers say experience and the use of skills in previous positions are “very important” when evaluating applicant’s skills.
“When you’re a veteran or military spouse, it can be challenging to know where to start your job search and how to get employers to understand how your job skills, experience and character transfer to a new position,” said Troy Broussard, senior advisor for AARP Veterans and Military Families Initiative and U.S. Army Desert Storm veteran. “This free, one-stop resource will help veterans and military spouses learn how to effectively leverage their military skills and experience to give them an edge in today’s competitive job market and avoid underemployment.”
The AARP Veterans and Military Spouses Job Center features a range of free resources to help the 8.3 million veterans in the U.S. workforce:
- New Veterans Career Advantage Course focuses on career planning and skills development.
- The AARP Job Board features a “Veterans Wanted” filter so transitioning and former service members can quickly find employers that value their military experience.
- New AARP Veterans and Military Spouses Job Search Toolkit — a comprehensive guide to find and secure employment.
- New AARP Video: “Tips for Veterans to Ace a Civilian Job Interview.”
- AARP Webinar: “Rethinking Work for Veterans, Military and Their Families” on hiring and career trends to help adapt to a quickly changing job market.
According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, veteran unemployment fell to 3.2 percent in December 2021. While unemployment has decreased over the past year, underemployment continues to hold many veterans back.
Two-thirds of all veteran employees reported having a job unequal to the level of skills and qualifications that they had gained in the military, according to the 2018 Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey.
Other resources include AARP Resume Advisor, AARP Skills Builder for Work, Be Your Own Boss and Small Business Resource Center for the 50+. To learn more about the AARP Veterans and Military Spouses Job Center, visit www.aarp.org/vetsjobcenter.
For more information and other free resources on how AARP supports veterans and military families on caregiving, fighting fraud through Operation Protect Veterans and connecting with earned service benefits, visit www.aarp.org/veterans.
Scott Tanaka is a member of the JACL Washington, D.C., chapter and policy, research and international affairs adviser at AARP.