Combat to Community

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More veterans are returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, some struggling with transition to civilian life and the invisible wounds of war.

Swords to Plowshares’ Institute for Veteran Policy developed Combat to Community training, a series of curriculum developed for community partners, including law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals, clinicians, faith-based communities, and others, to address the challenges veterans face re-integrating into the community.

Swords to Plowshares’ Combat to Community Training is a series of cultural competency curricula developed by our Institute for Veteran Policy for community partners, including human resource specialists, clinicians, attorneys, law enforcement personnel, faith based communities and others, to address the challenges veterans face re-integrating into the community and the unique training and skill sets they acquire in service.

With an estimated 38,000 veterans returning to California every year, it is vital for communities to understand the sacrifices and experiences of the men and women who have served our country, as well as provide focused support that addresses the particular transitional barriers these veterans may face.

Not every veteran is impacted, however:

  • Veterans are disproportionately represented among our country’s homeless population.
  • Veteran unemployment figures are significantly higher than their peers.Mental health injuries are being reported in greater numbers when compared to past conflicts.
  • Reports of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence continue to increase.
  • There is a growing prevalence of veterans entering our jails, state, and federal prisons with criminal behavior stemming from service-related mental health and cognitive injuries.

Our communities have an opportunity to assist and make sure every veteran has the support and opportunity they have earned. We seek to serve veterans where they are, in schools, the workplace, non-VA health care settings, and throughout the community. Given the small percentage of Americans who serve, it is understandable that many civilians are unfamiliar with military and veteran culture. Our training provides a basic understanding of what it means to serve and is customized to provide practical information for professional and other training cohorts. Continuing education credit is available for many of our trainings.

We provide training for:

  • Law Enforcement & Crisis Intervention Teams (CA POST certified)
  • Licensed behavioral health professionals (continuing education units available)
  • Primary healthcare providers and staff
  • Educators
  • Human resource professionals hiring veterans (HRCI Accreditation pending)
  • Domestic violence intervention services (continuing education units available)
  • Attorneys and judges (continuing education units available)
  • Faith-based communities

Training topics are customized based on the needs of the participants, and may include:

  • Commonly shared attitudes, values, goals and practice that often characterize service in the military.
  • Recruitment and retention strategies for veteran employment.
  • How deployment, combat experience and service related injuries and disability can impact veterans.
  • How veteran or military family status among patients can impact services.
  • Potential resources to refer veterans and families to for supportive services.
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