When he was 21 years old, Rafael Lopez enlisted in the Army with a sense of purpose. “I thought that what I needed in my life was to be a part of something greater than myself,” he says.
After a 20-year career that included three tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, his next challenge was to find that same sense of purpose in a civilian career.
Only one in four veterans have a civilian job lined up after they leave the military, and 55% of veterans name employment as a top challenge when transitioning to civilian life. Leaving the unique service-oriented culture of the military can be difficult, and communication gaps between the corporate and military worlds are common.
“It's a twofold problem,” says David Casey, SVP of Workforce Strategies & Chief Diversity Officer at CVS Health — and a former service member of the Marines. “Veterans don't always know how to translate their skills to civilians. Civilian recruiters don't always know how to understand those skills, either.”