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Civilian employers may not appreciate the full value veterans can bring to their organizations, because military and civilian workplace cultures and languages can seem radically different from one another. To address this, the authors of this report developed prototype toolkits that veterans, especially those in Army and Marine Corps enlisted combat arms occupations, can use to help describe their skills to potential civilian employers and that civilian employers can use to understand veteran job applicants' skills.

In this report, the authors describe their methodology for developing the toolkits. In the first phase of the study, the authors developed a list of essential workplace skills, then created materials that show how these skills are developed through formal military training and education courses. In the second phase, they added to the list of essential workplace skills and expanded the materials to include vignettes illustrating how these skills are developed through military service members' on-the-job experience. The authors offer a number of insights on how the method could be improved and how it could be potentially applied to develop similar materials for broader groups of veterans.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Creating the List of Relevant Nontechnical Skills

  • Chapter Three

    Phase I: Summarizing Formal Military Training and Education Courses

  • Chapter Four

    Phase II: Summarizing On-the-Job Experiences in the Military

  • Chapter Five

    The Resulting Prototype Toolkits

  • Chapter Six

    Lessons Learned for Development of Future Toolkits

  • Appendix A

    Existing Transition Resources

  • Appendix B

    U.S. Department of Education's Competency Source Overview

  • Appendix C

    Level-of-Skill Anchors for Two Additional Skill Dimensions

  • Appendix D

    Form Completed by Training Subject-Matter Experts During Interviews

  • Appendix E

    Training and Education Subject-Matter Expert Interview Protocol, September 2014

  • Appendix F

    On-the-Job Experience Questionnaire Completed During Focus Groups, September 2016

  • Appendix G

    On-the-Job Experience Survey of Frequency and Importance, September 2016

  • Appendix H

    Example Course Overview

  • Appendix I

    Example On-the-Job Experience Vignettes

  • Appendix J

    On-the-Job Experience Survey Results: Supplemental Details

  • Appendix K

    Reports Synthesized in Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century (NRC, 2012)

This research was sponsored by the Transition to Veterans Program Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It was conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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