Mission: ETS Sponsorship is a public-private partnership that successfully transitions servicemembers to their post-military hometowns to prepare them for their next ‘mission’
Transitioning out of the uniform and into civilian life can be challenging. Almost half of the post 9/11 Veterans polled in a recent Pew survey said it was somewhat difficult or very difficult to readjust to civilian life. And Veterans who served in combat were significantly more likely to say their readjustment was difficult.
Until recently, Military Members were provided a point-to-point sponsor at every permanent change of station until their transition back to civilian life. To combat the void servicemembers might feel after leaving, the Expiration Term of Service Sponsorship Program (ETS-SP) was born. It was created by U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) psychologist Dr. Joseph Geraci. Now the VA Health Administration works closely with the non-profit ETS-SP and other organizations to ensure the program’s success.
The ETS-SP’s goal is to advance and improve the new Veteran’s quality of life by matching them with a trained volunteer sponsor in their chosen city. Any service member can request an ETS sponsor. The organization will work to find a good match prior to the Military Member getting out of the service or moving. The sponsor can help with local on-the-ground assistance. It could take the form of knowing about Veteran-friendly employers or suggested neighborhoods to live in.
The ETS-SP is looking for additional program volunteers — it’s a year-long commitment. Prior military experience isn’t required. What is required is a passion to help Veterans as they and their families adjust to a new community and civilian life. The sponsorship training is done online and takes about six hours. The homework reading reinforces why this program is so important.
Once a sponsor is matched with a Veteran, there’s weekly communication–via email, call or text — and a monthly call or in-person meeting. The Veteran and sponsor work on a plan for identifying goals and developing an action plan that might focus on getting a job, going back to school or finding a local Veteran community to join.
Transitioning servicemembers wanting a sponsor or volunteers looking to be an ETS-SP can get more information at https://etssponsorship.com/