The ETS Sponsorship Program, established in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Army, exists to sponsor Soldiers through the transition process from military to civilian life.

Who We Are and What We Do

The program centers on a personal relationship between the Soldier, who is leaving the military, and a Sponsor, who is trained and certified, and perhaps equally important, empathetic and dedicated to helping the Soldier and family members. 

ETS -Expiration of Term of Service- should be an exciting opportunity for the Soldier who is opening the door to the next chapter of life. Yet, often, the stresses associated with walking through this door are challenging. The ETS Sponsorship Program ensures that the Soldier - and the Family - do not walk alone. Our Sponsors, who live in the community, will not only walk through the door with the Soldier, but will continue to coach and guide throughout the process.

This program builds a much-needed bridge between the VA and the U.S. Army. Our program provides the Soldier a real relationship with a Sponsor that is personal, connected, and meaningful.

Our Values and Operating Purpose

VA program helps service members transition to civilian life

Fact Sheet

Situation

The ETS Sponsorship Program assists Soldiers in transition by providing instrumental, informational, and emotional support.

A controlled research project has determined that the support provided by the ETS Sponsorship Program effectively mitigates stressors and enhances the reintegration process for the transitioning Soldier.

  • Approximately 200,000 Servicemembers transition to civilian communities annually, including 80,000 from the Army.
  • Studies indicate that 44% to 72% of Soldiers experience high levels of stressors during their transition from military to civilian life.
  • There are approximately 45,000 non-profit organizations registered with the IRS to support Veterans and their Families.

There is no process in place currently that seamlessly reintegrates the Soldier into the civilian community. There is no bridge between the the U.S. Army and the civilian communities for all Soldiers. There is no connection between the myriad of programs available and the Veteran who needs them. The ETS Sponsorship Program works closely with its partners in an attempt to fill this void.

The ETS Sponsorship Program connects the Soldier to the relevant and applicable programs and organizations that are available. Through personal relationships formed with the Soldier and Family, our program, working closely with the VA and community partners, will make a difference in the reintegration of Soldiers and their Families.

Mission

The ETS Sponsorship Program assists Soldiers in transition to civilian life and the post-military community of their choice. Coordinating the services of the VA, private, nonprofit organizations and local government, the ETS Sponsorship Program connects transitioning Soldiers with local Sponsors. Sponsors are trained and certified to build relationships and resiliency. The goal is to set conditions for Soldiers and Sponsors to achieve purpose and prosperity, reduce stress and risk, and engage together for continued service to the Nation. 

What services will the Sponsor provide to the transitioning Soldier and Family?

    • Employment
    • Education
    • Housing
    • Legal concerns
    • Service benefits
    • Medical and mental health care issues

The ETS Sponsorship Program will develop and deploy a new standard in Soldier transition that can be expanded across the nation. ETS Sponsorship will accomplish this through a certification program offered by the VA for Sponsors.

Execution

The ETS Sponsorship Program will be introduced to the Soldier when they participate in the Soldier for Life -- Transition Assistance Program at the Soldier’s final duty station. The Soldier will have the opportunity to request a Sponsor from the city they will be moving. The process will be coordinated with partners in specific cities, such as Syracuse University Institute for Veterans & Military Families and Combined Arms.

Soldier: Once a Sponsor is requested, the connection will be made to the ETS Sponsorship Program. Using the address they will relocate to, the Soldier will be connected to an ETS Sponsorship Program trained Sponsor. Should there not be a Sponsor available in the city the Soldier will soon call home, we will do our best to find partners available to assist the Soldier.  The current cities in which ETS Sponsors will be available within the near future are below. We will continue to update this list as cities become active.

    • New York City
    • San Antonio
    • Dallas and Fort Worth
    • Austin
    • El Paso
    • Houston

Sponsor: When an individual, military or civilian, volunteers to be an ETS Sponsor, they will undergo training and, upon graduation, they will be certified as an ETS Sponsor.

The Sponsor receives the name and contact information of the new Soldier from ETS Sponsorship. The Sponsor initiates contact with the Soldier and the relationship forms. The Sponsor will share information with the Soldier about resources – to include benefits and other opportunities. The Sponsor will stay connected and continue to support the Soldier throughout the transition process until the Soldier is successfully transitioned to their post-military home.

Effective execution of the ETS Sponsorship Program is dependent upon the relationship between the transitioning Soldier and the trained Sponsor.

Sustainment

The ETS Sponsorship Program has been implemented for transitioning Soldiers in pilot programs in New York City and Ft. Drum. The first state pilot program will be implemented in Texas in December 2019. The Program will begin with the Army and transition to the other Services as the Program expands.

The program will grow as Soldiers transition throughout the country. The ETS Sponsorship Program and VA management team will rely on a growing roster of Sponsors and Veteran Service Organizations to scale the program nationally.

At the individual level, the Sponsor relationship is a personal and community anchor. Our goal is that our current transitioning Soldiers will serve as Sponsors for future generations of transitioning Servicemembers.

Leadership

The ETS Sponsorship Program is led by the etssponsorship.army team in Washington, D.C. and coordinated through VA Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs). The ETS Sponsorship Program pilot programs are sponsored by the VISNs in New York/New Jersey (VISN 2) and Texas (VISN 17).

Joseph Geraci, PhD, LMHC, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired, U.S. Army) is the VA Program Manager for the ETS Sponsorship Program. He is located at James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Bronx, NY.

James Downing, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, is the Executive Director of The ETS Sponsorship Program, a District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation. 

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