Menu Home

Port Helps Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

November 10, 2021

On Veterans Day we honor the invaluable contributions of those who have served in the Armed Forces. We appreciate all of you and all of the sacrifices you and your family have made.

Military life is structured is structured and predictable. Many veterans echo the sentiment that transitioning out of the military to civilian life can be difficult. 

While most veterans say the military prepared them for active duty, only about half say they were well prepared for the transition to civilian life. Some 16% say the military prepared them very well for the transition and 36% say it prepared them somewhat well. At the same time, more than four-in-ten say the military did not prepare them too well (30%) or at all (15%). (Source: Pew Research Center)

Easing the transition through employment

Since 2008, the Port of Seattle’s Veterans Fellowship Program has helped recently separated veterans build a bridge between military service and the civilian job market.

The six-month paid fellowship partners veterans with a mentor and work group to help guide them to discover their aspirations and civilian career goals. The program is designed to equip veterans with skills needed to be successful in jobs outside the military. 

“This program is for people that are right out of the military looking for help getting into the civilian sector,” Amberine Wilson, Veteran Fellowship Program Manager said. “It can sometimes be a cultural shock for them, so we work to make that transition easier.”  

2021 Veteran Fellows speak up

Carl HugleCarl Hugle

Program Manager and Data Analyst, Workforce Development
Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Carl served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and was stationed in Germany, Hawaii, Colorado, California, Massachusetts, and Washington state. He was trained in logistics and worked alongside the maintenance support teams to oversee parts procurement, maintenance records, and fleet management protocols. He spent three years in Iraq supporting maneuver units conducting combat operations and later became a member of the Army’s recruiting team.  Read Carl’s Bio

What do you like the most about your work at the Port?
The culture here at the Port is receptive and inviting. I have found strength in knowing that the employees here are passionate about serving each other and the community. An answer to a question is always a call away. We work with a shared purpose here and it’s shown in the Port’s values and how we treat one another.  

Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been working on since you started at the Port?
Since arriving here at the Port, I have worked in Workforce Development in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  I have been managing the construction trades contracts with our community-based organizations and furthering our relationships with our regional partners in the Greater Seattle Area in the collective work of strengthening the construction trades pipeline. I work pretty closely with our pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and job-readiness programs to identify and remove barriers for participants from economically-distressed zip codes within King County. 

Why is the Port’s Veterans Fellowship program valuable to you?
The Port of Seattle’s Veteran Fellowship Program has been invaluable. It’s allowed me to continue to serve with purpose and utilize my experiences to support the work of my peers and leaders here at the Port. The support of the MVP Program and the Emerging Talent Team has been instrumental in my integration to the Port. They have both served to help me land safely as I completed my transition out of the U.S. Army. 

Jon EustaquioJon Eustaquio

Asset Analyst, Marine Maintenance
Port of Seattle

Jon is originally from Guam and recently retired from the United States Navy year after 22 years of service. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management from Southern Illinois University.  In Guam, he witnessed firsthand the military’s role in providing humanitarian support, rebuilding infrastructure, and restoring services after natural disasters.  Jon served as a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy in Yokosuka, Japan, and Camp Pendleton, CA. He then qualified as a Navy Diver, specializing in dive medicine.  Read Jon’s Bio

Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been working on since you started at the Port?
Since I started here at the Port, I have had the opportunity to briefly step into the role as a Facilities Manager for the container terminals. The most challenging part of this responsibility was learning how to orchestrate providing the high standard of customer service the tenants have come to expect without interrupting shipping operations. 

What do you like about the Pacific Northwest? 
I have been in Washington since 2015 and I really enjoy the views and the outdoor activities the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Although I have not yet tried any winter activities (but then I am in no rush to try).

Why is the Port’s Veterans Fellowship program valuable to you?
The Veterans Fellowship Program gave me the chance to see how a business organization operates and adjust to a non-military culture. There are facilities, environments, and months-long processes that transform “civilians” into service members, but to transition from the military back to civilian life is almost as stressful. It was nice to have the Outreach Team act as a guide and make themselves available to assist me with resume writing and interview skills.

Top photo credit: 

"US Coast Guard families and service members march in New York City's Veterans Day Parade [Image 4 of 7]" by DVIDSHUB is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Related to Port Helps Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

Back to Top