The unprecedented length of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have impacted the United States in significant ways. Among individuals in the armed forces, these have included the loss of life and the physical and emotional injuries many have sustained. The challenges of re-entry into American society faced by returning veterans are not new. However, veterans returning from recent deployments now face intensified hurdles due to the difficult economic climate and the lack of sufficient resources that span recovery, counseling, re-integration, training, and job placement. Stories of the fallout from veterans unable to re-adjust to family life, college, or a new career are increasingly common. Ironically, although they have been the beneficiaries of extensive and sometimes highly specialized training during their time in the military, a large percentage of returning veterans find themselves out of work and feeling isolated, aimless, and hopeless. They struggle to fit their military skills and experience into a civilian resume and a decent, meaningful job.
The mission of Civic Assets is to rehabilitate and reintegrate veterans of the armed forces by placing them in a high-quality transition assistance program where veterans will continue to serve their country by doing projects that improve their communities. At the same time, veterans will develop the foundation and the skills that will help them to improve their employability in preparation for a return to the civilian workforce. The program includes those who suffer from post-traumatic stress (PTS) and/or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The program:
- Integrates work service experiences with college or vocational courses
- Helps facilitate timely medical and mental health treatment under the auspices of the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Provides internships as preparation for employment
- Sponsors cutting edge research examining the effects of supported service work experiences integrated with brain rehabilitation
By utilizing the unique leadership talents of these men and women, program research will seek to demonstrate the healing and transformative power that results from structured experiences where individuals devote their time and energy for the greater good. At the same time, our country benefits from the completion of vital social service, environmental, and infrastructure projects.
We intend to expand throughout California, home to one in nine U.S. veterans, while partnering with the Washington Veteran's Corps, followed by expansion nationally. There has already been interest from Israel and we have spoken to individuals in the United Kingdom interested in our program design. The same issues of integration of veterans exist internationally.