Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy, describes the average veteran.
“They’re civic assets. They want to give back. They love our country. They leave our army with the love of country stamped on their heart but they want to continue to keep giving back,” said Murphy.
That’s why Murphy says helping veterans find jobs is a national priority, an issue that affects both veterans and taxpayers.
“If our soldiers don’t have jobs when they leave the army, we have to pay their unemployment. In the last five years, the Department of Defense has spent $4.6 billion paying unemployment and we’re getting after it as far as Soldier for Life, it’s the right thing to do. But, also it’s the right thing to do for our taxpayers as well,” said Murphy.
Started in 2012, the Soldier for Life initiative provides veterans with the necessary training and resources to reintegrate into civilian life.
“They want to make sure that our soldiers are transition ready--that they have a resume, that they think ‘where do you want to be in five to ten years? What do you want to do? What certification can we get you in the front end?’” said Murphy.
It also links them with community organizations such as the new Military Affairs Innovation Center at K-State, a private organization with the goal of helping veterans network and find their true calling outside of a military setting.
“The partnership at the Military Innovation Center at K-State and the partnership with the Big Red One is second to none in this nation. This really is the benchmark of how to take care of soldiers and their families so that transition can be as smooth as possible,” said Murphy.
According to Murphy, these type of community partnerships benefit everyone.
“Even for the first six months of this fiscal year, we saved tens of millions of dollars in our army because we have been very focused in making Soldier for Life a top priority,” said Murphy.