Warriors To Workforce Program

Updated: March 31, 2020

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    Warriors To Workforce Program

    Photo by Mark Rankin

    There are many different kinds of help from the Department of Veterans Affairs when it comes time to transition out of a military career and into a civilian one. But one of these programs is unique in that it is especially designed to help military members with service-connected disabilities out of one type of federal service and into another.

    The Warriors To Workforce program, also known as W2W, was created to help qualifying military members transition after retirement or separation from uniformed service into a career working for the federal government.


    Warriors To Workforce: The Basics

    The VA official site describes W2W as being designed to assist “…Veterans with service-connected disabilities as well as a son, daughter, or spouse of a Veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.  The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces.”

    W2W has certain requirements for participating troops, and those who do not meet these requirements may be eligible for a different aspect of this program which we will describe below. Requirements for W2W include, but may not be limited to:

    • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Must have “little to no post-secondary education” (no bachelor’s degree and with a minimum of six business credits according to the VA official site).
    • Must be eligible for hire under the Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment (VRA) Authority.

    As you can see from these requirements, the program is aimed at a very specific segment of the military, but there are opportunities for those who have too many college business credits or those who already have a degree.

    Something called the Acquisition Internship Program actively recruits and hires candidates who have a Bachelor’s Degree or a minimum of 24 hours of business credits from an accredited college or university. Candidates must not have completed more than two FAC-C Level I or II certification courses, “as this intern program is targeted at brand new contract specialists,” according to the VA.

    The W2W Program

    Those who qualify for W2W enter the program designated as GS-5 federal employees and receive education and training in four areas:

    • Business Education
    • Professional Development
    • Peak Performance Training
    • Mission Service

    The business education courses are those from an accredited school, while the professional development section includes training on conflict management, professional conduct, cultural diversity training, time management, and more. The section known as Peak Performance Training includes workshops designed “to strengthen teaming cultures and fine-tune critical thinking skills.”

    The Mission Service & Industry Experience includes participation in professional events designed to help W2W interns understand how the VA’s industry partnerships work.

    What Happens To W2W Intern Program Participants Once The Program Is Finished

    Once an intern completes the W2W program, they are upgraded to GS-7 Contract Specialists and move into a different program called the Acquisition Internship Program or AIP where the former interns “learn the essential technical and professional competencies for contracting professionals in an experiential learning environment with real-world work scenarios,” according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Once this AIP phase is completed, there is an integration period where the former interns are “strategically infused into the Acquisition workforce to meet the needs of federal contracting organizations throughout the country.”


    Common Questions About The Warriors To Workforce Program

    How Long Does The Warriors To Workforce Program Last?

    W2W begins each September and runs approximately one year. However, those who enter W2W should expect a three-year experience since those who successfully complete W2W move on to the two-year Acquisition Intern Program.

    Are There Employment Benefits Associated With W2W?

    The VA official site states that W2W participants are hired as interns, “as full-time Federal employees with all associated benefits.” Those benefits include a regular paycheck, plus:

    • Paid leave
    • Paid Federal holidays
    • Health care
    • Advancement opportunities
    • Retirement programs
    Where Does W2W Training Take Place?

    The first year of the Warriors To Workforce program involves on-site learning and training in Frederick, Maryland. Those who successfully complete the first year will alternate between the training academy in Frederick and a Department of Veterans Affairs field office.

    What Are The Qualifications Required To Apply For W2W?
    • Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Applicants must have “little to no post-secondary education.”
    • You must have a minimum of six college business credits.
    • Must be eligible for hire under the Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment (VRA) Authority.
    • You must be a veteran with a service-connected disability OR
    • You must be a child or spouse of a deceased veteran OR
    • You must be a child or spouse of a veteran who is “permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.”
    What Kind Of Work Will I Be Doing?

     Under this program, candidates are trained to become VA Contract Specialists. “Whether it’s procuring equipment for a hospital or ensuring a Veteran secures a prosthetic to walk again, Contract Specialists are the drivers to make things happen,” according to the officials site. VA Contract Specialists are responsible for planning the acquisition of services and materials from the private sector. They also work with contracts including the negotiation process.

    What Skill Sets Are Needed And Developed By W2W?

    There are a variety of areas including critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, professional communication, negotiating, risk management, customer service, financial management, accounting, and much more.

    Can I Draw GI Bill Housing Allowance Benefits While Involved In W2W?

    The VA official site states “You are eligible for GI Bill benefits throughout the program” and those who qualify may be in Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment services and receive Post-9/11 BAH payment rates for Frederick, MD.

    What Else Should I Know About W2W?

    Relocation expenses are not covered for the first year of training, but those who complete the program may be eligible for relocation expenses related to accepting their first permanent assignment once they have completed the entire program.

    Applying for W2W requires a professional resume, an interview process, and other screening. You can find instructions on how to apply at the VA official site, VA.gov on the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy page. Those who enter the program can expect a combination of traditional learning, on-the-job training, and skill-building workshops.

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    Written by MilitaryBenefits