How to help someone recently out of the military

This content is sponsored by Cropp Metcalfe

If you are retired from the military, you know how difficult it can be to transition to civilian life. You go from a highly structured environment to a fluid workforce where many decisions are left up to you.

That was what Dave Myrick faced after serving in the Navy for 10 years. In 1996, he applied for a transfer when his wife got sick and, instead, he was discharged. Overwhelmed, he was suddenly back in civilian life without support.

“I had two days of transition assistance – how to write a resume, how to dress for an interview – and that was it,” Myrick said. “Everything was left to me to navigate on my own. I bounced around from job to job before I settled on the trades.”

Myrick eventually got a job at CroppMetcalfe as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning service technician. He was later promoted to a service supervisor position. Along the way, he learned that CroppMetcalfe tried to hire and train ex-military personnel, and he wanted to support that.

“I want to help these guys and gals when they get out of the military because I remember how difficult it was,” Myrick said.

He recognized that every veteran has two major needs when coming out of the service.

Financial stability

Veterans need to know that they’ll have money coming in.

“For years they had a guaranteed income stream,” Myrick said. “They didn’t need to worry about where their next paycheck was coming from.”

When Myrick began working with CroppMetcalfe’s training programs, he and a coworker wanted to connect the HVAC and plumbing training academy to the Veterans Affairs department. The two organizations came to an agreement: Veterans would be able to use their benefits to cover the cost of the trade school, and the VA would provide a housing subsidy that would end after two years.Life After the Military

At the end of that time, technicians are ready to graduate from the program with journeyman level skills.

“Our model is one night a week, four hours a night for 40 weeks,” Myrick said. “This allows them to work in the trade at the same time as they go to school.”

Myrick wishes he had had access to a program like CroppMetcalfe Academy because, when he was discharged, he had no way to support his family.

“In this program, as long as I pull my weight, I’ve got a guaranteed income stream for two years,” he said. “It would’ve been a life-changer, there’s no doubt about it.”

Transition to civilian work

Veterans need support as they move from the structure of the military to the fluidity of civilian life.

“When you’re in the military, every single little thing is regulated: when to get up, when to go to bed, when to eat,” Myrick said. “If you don’t know something, you can go and look it up. Everything is done the exact same way, time after time.”

In addition to teaching about HVAC and plumbing work, CroppMetcalfe Academy helps with the transition to less structured days.

“Part of the training we provide is the differences between that world and this world,” Myrick said. “We help them make that mental mind shift where every situation is different.”

Additionally, the academy’s transition assistance program gives veterans a set of temporary orders to work for CroppMetcalfe while they’re still on active duty.

“They come here and work for us every day, where they put on one of our uniforms instead of a military uniform,” Myrick said. “It’s like a try before you buy.”

If you or someone you know is coming to the end of military service, contact CroppMetcalfe for more information about its HVAC and plumbing training academy, and its commitment to veterans and their families.

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