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The Disconnect Between Resources and Users: Veteran's Dilemma

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It is no mystery that our military servicemen and women face a multitude of hardships as they make the transition from military to civilian life. Among the problems our young veterans face are skyrocketing unemployment rates, an inefficient Veterans Affairs organization, and ineffective programs perpetrated by the Department of Defense meant to assist our veterans in their transition. These issues are compounded further by the sheer number of veterans returning home each year; Veterans Affairs (VA) projects that nearly 200,000 servicemen and women will transition out of the military each year over the next five years. As a result, these issues must be addressed now in order to provide an easier transition to civilian life for our veterans.

The Problem

What makes the transition so hard for our veterans is not a shortage of facilitating resources, it is actually an over-abundance. With close to 400,000 different organizations and platforms -- all with the goal to provide a specific service to military personnel and their families -- the space has become over-saturated. There is not one, single medium through which veterans can connect to the resources within their local communities. Instead, they have to sift through a verifiable mess of clutter just to find the one that they need.

This does not mean, however, that any of the 400,000 available organizations are useless. J.P. Morgan and a number of other leading U.S. companies, for example, run "The 100,000 Jobs Mission," an initiative whose main goal is to place 100,000 transitioning servicemen and women into jobs by 2020. Since its launch in March 2011, "100,000" has surpassed all of its benchmarks by placing approximately 77,612 veterans in 109 different corporations in a little over two years. As impressive as those numbers are, however, the Mission will not be able to singlehandedly place the nearly one million new veterans coming home within the next five years.

Possible Solutions

Two possible solutions to this problem are consolidation and technology. Consolidation would mean combining the 400,000 support organizations into larger, all-encompassing super groups -- a daunting task to say the least. In theory, this would solve the problem of over-saturation, but it would be extremely difficult to execute. It would require all of the organizations to agree on one solution, and each group would have to be properly paired in order to achieve a seamless execution. Unfortunately, the size and scope of this solution makes it unattainable, leaving technology as the sole facilitator to our veterans' transitions.

Be it a social platform, a resource directory, management tool, or a combination of the like, technology is the answer. With the right solution we be able to leverage the knowledge of a 60 million member military community, engage countless civilians who want to help in some facet, streamline the visibility and niche offerings of over 400,000 support organizations, and aid the hiring campaigns of hundreds of corporations. But, this cannot be achieved, and a successful platform cannot be built without the support, resources, cooperation and funding of the federal government and corporations. Without their resources, it will be significantly harder to gain the amount of traction necessary to support the influx of veterans, and aid them in finding the resources they need.

The ultimate goal is to provide these veterans a solution that demystifies the civilian world and allows veterans and their families to easily find individuals, organizations, or corporations willing to answer their questions.