Welcome to the Topic Guide on Employment.

This is a starting point for service members, veterans and family members who are experiencing unemployment or underemployment.

Why is unemployment & underemployment such a concern for the military and veteran population in Arizona?

  • Arizona has a lot of service members, veterans and their family members, including many who have served in Iraq & Afghanistan.
  • High rates of unemployment and underemployment with Arizona’s National Guard Members. Some returning units over the last few years have had upwards of 50% unemployment when transitioning back into the community.
  • In addition to those currently in uniform, there is a constant flow of military members transitioning out of service, which is expected to increase due to reductions in the force over time.

What does it mean to be A Workforce Unlike Any Other?

The good news is that more and more companies are recognizing the value that service members, veterans and family members bring to the work place. The experience, strengths and resilience fostered by military service can result in skills that are valued and effective in the civilian work world.

View a short video public service announcement that captures this idea…

Special thanks to TriWest Healthcare Alliance for creating this outreach campaign!


  1. Getting “credit” for experience – Even with the strengths and skills service members and veterans bring to the workplace, many times they don’t receive credit in the hiring process for all their skills and experience because it’s all couched in military jargon, coding and terminology. Read on below for easy ways to translate any Military Occupational Speciality (MOS) into civilian work place terminology.
  2. Disruption in employment history or career path – For those in the National Guard and Reserves in particular, deployments can result in gaps in a person’s employment history and interrupt career opportunities. Assistance is available on how to handle these disruptions when writing a resume. There is also specific support available to ensure that the rights of Guard and Reserve members in the work place are protected when they are called up for active duty. Spouses of active duty service members may experience a great deal of disruption in their careers as well.
  3. Culture change – The military is a distinct culture with its own language, customs and paths for advancement. The civilian work world is often times a huge change, with differences in everything from what you wear to how people to interact to expectations. Recognizing these differences and learning to adapt is an important part of successfully transitioning into the civilian workplace.

Types of support available

Even though it might feel like you are alone in your job search, there is a lot of support available to service members, veterans and family members to assist with the process of job hunting. Here is an overview of the options for services and support. Scroll to the end of this page for links and contacts of programs that provide these services.

  • Military skills translation tools – There are great military skills translators available. These are particularly helpful because they can take any Military Occupational Specialty and extract the specific skills in a way that fits for the civilian work world.
  • One-on-one assistance – Many programs have staff specifically dedicated to working with job seekers with a military background. Oftentimes they can work with you in-person, by phone or over email to help with things like editing a resume and finding job opportunities.
  • Workshops – Classes offer job search information in a group setting on topics like interview skills, resume writing and job preparation.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation – Also known as “Voc Rehab,” this service is available both at the state and federal level (contact info below). Voc Rehab is designed to assist individuals with a disability with preparing for and finding employment. Services may include assessment of skills, exploration of employment options, case management services and training.
  • Hiring fairs – Many agencies and organizations are conducting job fairs focused on service members, veterans and family members. These events provide an opportunity to connect with employers interested in hiring employees with a military affiliation. The above services can be an important part of preparing for a hiring fair.

First or next steps when pursuing employment

Here are some steps to take. The resources to help you with these steps are listed below.

  1. Translate your skills – If you haven’t already done so, translate your military skills and experience into civilian human resource terminology. All you need to know is your MOS codes!
  2. Build a resume – Either use an online tool or seek out the help of someone who specializes in helping job seekers with a military background.
  3. Connect to employment resources – There is no shortage of help available, no matter where you live in the state.
  4. Be persistent – finding a job takes time for everyone. Make sure you’re positioning yourself to be successful, use the resources available to you and be persistent.

Key resources

These are some of the key resources available to assist service members, veterans & family members who are experiencing unemployment or underemployment. Note: some may have eligibility requirements, while other are open to any service member, veteran or family member.

Military/Veteran Employment Resource Center – Support and connection to resources are available to any service member, veteran or family member who is unemployed or underemployed. Also works with employers to identify job candidates.

Online Portals:

VA eBenefits Jobs site – An online portal that includes a Military Skills Translator and job search (note: the Department of Defense H2H.jobs initiative now falls under this site).

My Next Move – A U.S. Department of Labor site for service members and veterans, including an Interest Profiler to explore career options.

US Military Pipeline – This site houses the skills translation and matching technology that was created here in Arizona.

Arizona Statewide Assistance:

Workforce Connection Agencies – Services are available in each county throughout Arizona. Veterans receive priority of service.

Arizona Department of Economic Security – Veterans Program – This is a Department of Labor-funded program that provides assistance to veterans statewide to find employment.

Arizona Department of Economic Security – Vocational Rehabilitation – The Arizona Department of Economic Security, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is the agency that provides vocational rehabilitation on the state level.

Federal resources:

VA Vocational Rehabilitation – Vocational rehabilitation services are also provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve – Department of Defense program that strengthens cooperation and understanding between reserve component military members and employers.