A Military Retiree's Perceptual Struggle for Employment in the Government or Civilian Workforce System

A Military Retiree's Perceptual Struggle for Employment in the Government or Civilian Workforce System

Author: 
Vernon Walker
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
The United States military consists of more than 0.5 million active and reserve service members deployed around the world in five branches of service; the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard (Thomas, 2010). Both active and reserve service members train in a variety of skills that not only enable the military to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States, but also establish a pool of highly trained individuals who will, at some point, enter the civilian workforce after completing military service. Military service members who remain in service for 20 or more active years not only gain eligibility for retirement benefits, but also acquire a significant amount of empirical and cognitive knowledge. Consequently, the empirical and cognitive knowledge retired veterans possess consists of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) acquired over those many years. To assist military members in transitioning to civilian status, the Department of Defense (DoD) (2011) mandated the Army’s Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) to help all soldiers’ transition from military status to a civilian workforce system. However, a phenomenon exists among some retirees implying the transition program as flawed, whereas retirees perceive ACAP lacks the skills necessary to adequately provide employment opportunities to retiring military veterans. This research used face-to-face interviews to collect data from retirees in an effort to focus on individual perceptions of the transition process and the perceptual value of that process. The intention of the research was to explore and analyze data obtained from local retirees to understand the phenomenological complexities relative to the phenomenon.
Dedication: 
First, to my lovely wife, a veteran herself who continually provided much needed encouragement spending countless days and months alone while I pursued this doctoral journey. I love you more than you know. Second, to all military veterans who have defended the honor, freedom, and spirit of this United States.
Acknowledgements: 
I am so grateful to my family and friends who believed in what I was doing. I could not have taken this journey without their support. I especially want to thank my committee members Dr. Ray Bynum, Dr. Toni Vrdoljak, and Dr. Craig Follins. To my committee chair Dr. Bynum for the willingness to take on another student, and for providing, in equal measure, direction and critical feedback I often needed to get to this point. Your insights were incredibly accurate. To Dr. Toni Vrdoljak, your kind suggestions always seemed to provide a scholarly wisdom I was grateful to receive. To Dr. Craig Follins, you allowed me the freedom to explore. William Keith Menne