By Payton Iheme, U.S. Public Policy Manager, Facebook
Each year, an estimated 200,000 service members return to civilian life and for some, this brings uncertainty to what’s next in their career, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
However, these service men and women continue to contribute to their country, even when they return, albeit in a different way.
I have spent more than 15 years on active duty and continue to serve—from being an officer in the Army’s Special Operations Command and a White House Senior Policy Advisor to currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard. In addition, as the co-owner of a home remodeling business, I know firsthand how important it is to have the right tools and support, whether it’s in the military or as a veteran small business owner.
Everyday Facebook serves as a platform for veterans to find and be a part of groups that help them build community. In fact, more than 900,000 people in the US participate in more than 2,000 groups for military members, veterans and their spouses on Facebook. As a proud supporter of the military-veteran community, Facebook has also made it easier for veterans transitioning into civilian life to find career opportunities and draw on their unique skills to start their entrepreneurial journey.
That’s why we recently announced the launch of the Military and Veterans Hub to provide an all-encompassing resource for veterans to continue to build their community, find job opportunities and enhance their digital skills through Facebook to grow a business or a career.
Facebook also partnered with SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors, to provide business education and mentoring to military members, veterans and their families who want to become entrepreneurs. I utilized SCORE’s resources during my transition into civilian life and it helped me not only build on my experience and skills to find a new career, but it also gave me the confidence to start something new. I’m particularly thrilled about our partnership with SCORE and the opportunities it will unlock for fellow veterans.
Whether you want to build a business or a career, here are five ways military members, spouses and veterans can use Facebook’s Military and Veteran Hub to their advantage:
1. Connect with a mentor from a cohort of SCORE’s experienced business mentors, who are also U.S. veterans themselves, through the Mentor Match program.
2. Access our veteran-focused educational toolkit for launching a business that includes steps for developing a business plan.
3. Attend a veteran-focused interactive workshop to receive guidance on starting a business. We’ll be working with ten local SCORE chapters to bring these in-person workshops to cities that we’ve determined to have a high concentration of military members and veterans.
4. Find employment opportunities through the Facebook Jobs Tool. Frank Diaz, an Army veteran and owner of Tin Hut BBQ, uses the Facebook Jobs Tool, for example, to source employees at his mobile restaurant with an objective to hire discharged veterans in need of work and mentorship.
5. Test out the Facebook Military Skills Translator, designed to help people find careers on Facebook relevant to their military experience. As the Public Policy Manager at Facebook, I’m proud to be a part of a company that values my experience and allows me to use my military skills to make an impact on the business.
Facebook’s Military and Veteran Hub make it easier for military spouses and the military community to find and access Facebook’s resources, tools, events and groups. For more information, visit our website here
Payton Iheme (Facebook US Public Policy) focuses on policy issues on a range of topics, but works closely on issues related to the Internet, digital economy/small business, counter terrorism, cybersecurity, data privacy, and partnerships. Previously, she served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Communication Technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She holds honor degrees from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in Government Policy from the George Washington University. Iheme currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard.