The military and veterans are an important part of Maryland’s economy. The state is home to eight active military installations that represent all military branches; with such a strong military presence, it is of concern that Maryland’s veteran unemployment rate took a turn for the worse in 2014 and continues to be higher than the state’s overall unemployment rate. Veterans under age 35, which include most of recently separated veterans, have the highest unemployment rate among veterans.

A majority of veterans have a period of unemployment during the first 15 months after separation from the military. On that note, the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp. (AAWDC) is setting out to address these issues with the launch of its new Military Corps Career Connection (C3) initiative. The initiative helps transitioning service members, recently separated veterans and active duty spouses prepare for and connect to civilian careers.

As former service members have extensive knowledge, C3 taps into that existing experience to find the best fit for each individual in the civilian workplace. The new initiative provides individualized career planning, coaching and job preparation to ensure a successful career transition. C3 also will assist individuals in getting industry-recognized licenses and certifications required for civilian positions, or the hands-on work experience needed to boost their résumés.

Skills and experience, but personal connections are just as important. C3 provides individuals a chance to build their civilian network and connect with businesses through partnerships with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hire Our Heroes program and Maryland’s Veteran Affairs Operation Hire.

Through an individualized approach and strong partnerships across the state, C3 expands on the transition services already provided by the military branches in order to tackle veterans’ struggles and reduce veteran unemployment.