Military life can be full of transitions. From deployments to retirement, these times can bring about both new opportunities and challenges. Active duty service members have long enjoyed the support of sponsors during their military service transitions. But similar support is not provided for the final transition to civilian life.
VA’s Expiration Term of Service (ETS) Sponsorship Program is beginning to change that, with promising results.
The program helps transitioning service members secure housing, find jobs, pursue educational opportunities and access mental health support, while also providing support to their families.
When service members execute an ETS or retire from service, there is no individual assigned responsibility for their transition into the civilian world. This transition can be challenging, as service members lose the benefits of military leadership, camaraderie, support and structure.
These losses can lead to increased stressors, a decreased sense of purpose and an elevated risk for suicide and other mental health concerns when service members rejoin the civilian community.
As a result, VA has started collaborating closely with the U.S. Department of Defense; academia, including Syracuse and Columbia universities; local governments; and nonprofits, such as American Corporate Partners and ProVetus, to launch the ETS Sponsorship Program.