Currently, almost 20 million veterans live in the United States; half a million of them reside in the North Texas region and more are moving to the area every day. Today alone, more than 500 service members will reenter the civilian population nationwide; as many as 80% of them will not have a job lined up.
It’s also an unfortunate reality that many veterans find it difficult to connect with their communities. They have a hard time answering the question, “Who am I now I no longer wear the uniform?” But, at VIFM, we believe we can help them find a way to transfer many of the skills they may not even know they possess into a new team and a new mission; into a job that provides meaningful, fulfilling work; that can be performed in any city in any market around the world; and allows them to be independent entrepreneurs.
The team-based structure of working with a crew in filmmaking, video production, or any media enterprise is similar to the teamwork required to operate effectively in the military. This familiar environment and work structure helps re-engage veterans and integrate them back into the civilian world. Working alongside mentors, teachers, and fellow veterans in the community at large makes them a necessary and integral part of our civilian world.
Creating media focuses skills learned in and valued by the military in new ways. Veterans have a work ethic uncommon among their civilian counterparts, possess a commitment to completing a goal, familiarity with a structured chain of command, and a robust sense of mission. These skills make veterans valuable employees in any industry, but are especially applicable to what we teach here at VIFM.
Success in the military requires teamwork and creates bonds that are not often replicated in the civilian world. The transition to civilian life can leave veterans feeling disconnected from their families, coworkers and community. But, working in media production helps veterans connect—with their crew and with the larger community—and find a way to navigate through this transitional phase of their lives.