Military Veterans Matched with Mentors

Bearl knows firsthand that APC offers a good opportunity to work with someone in the field he wants to go into, which is software development and information security. It has been great that his mentor is in the same city, too.

Large companies, who are interested in helping returning veterans, offer this mentorship volunteer opportunity internally. Then, company volunteer are assigned to veterans who have requested mentorship in a particular career field. Though there is no promise of a job after the mentorship, there is great value in having a contact in a desired field of work to help a willing and interested veteran find a network of peers. Often, mentorships are an important tool in the new toolkit of veterans who are searching for a job or looking to advance in the current role. A mentorship provides the opportunity to learn how to excel from an expert in the field.

All a veteran has to do is go to the website to apply. Applicants must have served since 9/11. ACP partners with various VSOs, or Veteran Service Organizations, to get the word to veterans coming home, such as The Mission Continues, Team Red, White & Blue, and the Jacksonville-based Wounded Warrior Project.

More than 3,000 have furthered their career with support from ACP and have become alumni. More than 1500 mentorships are in progress at any time. There are a limited number of mentorship opportunities available, so veterans are encouraged to go online and apply. Over the course of the mentorship, the mentor and veteran have a significant discussions regarding career objectives, which can range from building a resume and improving interview skills to networking in a new industry, or even small business development.

“Once a veteran applies on ACP’s website, he or she is matched with a mentor who most closely fits the specific need. Then, the mentorship begins via phone, email or videoconference,” says Erin Fleming of ACP. There is much camaraderie between the matched pairs during the year, and many develop into lifelong friendships.

The impact is remarkable, as more than 94% of the participating veterans would recommend ACP to a friend, and 99.3% of mentors are proud their company supports ACP. This program also has surveyed to find that 95% of mentors would participate again. This is a proven model to develop the skills and business acumen veterans need to enter the civilian workforce and be successful.

Jacksonville is one of 900 cities and towns across the United States that are participating. Companies such as American Airlines, AT&T, Bloomberg, Boeing, GE, Goldman Sachs, HCA, Wells Fargo, UPS and many other large companies are working with ACP to help bridge the gap between the military and business world.

ACP is not a formal job-placement program; rather it is a tool for networking and long-term career development. As veterans begin to translate military skills into civilian terms, the focus also enhances the veterans’ interpersonal communication skills.

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About Joanelle Mulrain