what personal growth looks like with us

Job Readiness: Veterans learn or hone a skill set that can be used in future employment or working in the community. Additionally, veterans learn how to translate skills learned in the military to a civilian context.

Leadership: Veterans reapply and/or increase their leadership skills and have opportunities to successfully manage a team.

Purpose: Veterans feel an increased sense of purpose or motivation in their life.

Empowerment: Veterans feel more confident and self-assured in their ability to set goals and meet them.

Communication: Veterans feel confident they have the tools to confidently communicate their experience as a veteran—to other veterans as well as to non-veterans.

Wellbeing: Veterans observe an increase in resiliency and ability to pursue and accomplish goals.

“My time as a platoon leader transformed me in ways I never expected. I no longer let fear hold me back; instead I remember my strengths as a leader.”
- Majken Geiman, US Army Reserve

the need is clear

Several studies of returning veterans show they often come home unprepared for civilian life. A 2014 study conducted by the University of Southern California found that nearly two-thirds of veterans in Los Angeles County reported feeling unprepared when they left the military.

Additionally, 80% of veterans leave the military without a secured job, and at least 40% depart without a permanent housing plan. The lack of preparedness can lead to a host of problems once veterans return home, including un- or under-employment, economic distress, homelessness, and physical and mental health issues.

The American Psychological Association reports that among returning OEF and OIF veterans, about one-third report symptoms of mental health or cognitive problems. And because many veterans are often reluctant to report mental health issues, real numbers are likely higher. The APA also indicates that on a single night, there are approximately 50,000 homeless veterans in the United States. Homelessness is often compounded by undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues.

A study of Massachusetts-area veterans conducted by RAND found that most un- or under-employed veterans were not so by choice, but were constrained by a variety of factors that impeded their ability to get a well-paying, meaningful job. The most commonly cited barriers included not having the right experience, skills, or education and being constrained by health limitations, child care responsibilities, and access to transportation.

Another barrier is the struggle with translating the skills learned and honed in the military to civilian obligation—something one study found 40% of returning veterans struggle with.

“Veterans have exceptional leadership skills, but those abilities often remain untapped. We don’t get many chances to feel like we’re living life to the fullest. Service projects that inspire thriving communities with The Mission Continues get me there every time. These past three years have been, for me, the definition of thriving.”
- EJ Delpero, US Navy

how we fill the gap

Internal research indicates personal growth is a top motivator for veterans who participate in TMC programs. In a 2017 survey of all program participants, a majority (55.5%) alluded to personal growth as one of the reasons they participated in TMC programs. Nearly two in five (39%) cited finding a purpose as their reason for participating. Moreover, many participants reported being motivated by an interest in furthering their careers/employment opportunities: 25.7% said they participated for professional development, while 15% sought a new career opportunity.

Internal research also reveals that TMC programming effectively answers veterans’ needs for personal growth. Among TMC program participants responding to the 2017 annual survey, 75.6% report feeling a stronger sense of purpose, and more than two-thirds (69.7%) say they are better able to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Nearly half (47.5%) indicate they feel more equipped to work in the civilian world.

TMC programs have the potential to teach or bolster leadership skills. A study of the Service Platoon Program (2014-2015) found that more than three in five (62%) participants report that their participation helped them become a leader. Additionally, employment of participants increased 14 percentage points after participation in the program. 32% of participants reported improved job performance and 28% said their participation improved their chances of finding a job.

Our internal research suggests personal growth through skill building, sense of purpose and achieving goals they have set for themselves (resiliency) are top motivators for veterans who participate in TMC programs, and is an observable outcome that is produced through participation in TMC.

“I have been empowered and encouraged by The Mission Continues. It has been instrumental in my success the last few years by providing me with a community and a mission.”
- Luke Merideth, US Navy