Each year, two hundred thousand service members separate from the military and begin their reintegration to the civilian world. But leaving military service is not just a job change or relocation, it’s a fundamental personal transition, rooted in psychology, and affecting everything from a person’s attitudes, values, self-conception and understanding of their place in broader society.
This is a crucial period of adjustment and transformation, compounded by the financial imperatives to find gainful employment in a workforce that is markedly different from the one that they just left, and one that is undergoing its own shifts with regard to automation, logistics, climate impacts, and other big challenges on the horizon.
Navigating these multiple rapid and radical changes requires new mental models for adaptation, resilience and the development of a new post-service identity.
A successful transition from military to civilian life requires imagination. Without the opportunity to imagine different futures for themselves, highly trained men and women are relegated to unfulfilling jobs unsuited to their experience and abilities, leading to an array of negative impacts, from lost wages to depression. And by failing to imagine a veteran’s potential, employers and the public at large do a disservice to those who volunteered to serve our nation.
We aim to bridge this divide through the Veteran Imagination Project, which builds on traditional and proven transition services like career counseling and art therapy and infuses them with future-oriented insights to create a holistic intervention for career readiness.
Over a period of six weeks, participants will learn the tools of foresight, anticipation, scenario planning, and storytelling. Equipped with these skills, participants will work with professional mentors and concept artists to explore and create informed visions of workplace futures and their places in them. At the culmination of this project, veterans’ visions will be shared through publications, online platforms, in-person exhibitions and special events.
Your gift helps fund this initiative, catalyzing personal transformation and civic engagement in both veterans and their communities by inviting them to participate as active agents in the futures they imagine.