If you are considering joining the military, ask yourself some tough questions before signing that contract. Getting into uniform is easy. Getting out, if you change your mind, is very difficult. Your first mission, before you enlist, is to watch the video below, and work through the "10 Things to Consider Beflore Enlisting" list.
We work with you to complement your curriculum. Our presentations can focus on a variety of perspectives: history, social justice, writing/journalism, life skills, ethics, and career planning. We are comfortable leading your class in discussion, or simply presenting and providing an opportunity for Q&A. Below are some handouts we bring along with us. We also make a point of showing the excellent video “Before You Enlist.” (See below.)
If you are new to presenting competing narratives to the ones recruiters offer, or have been doing counter-recruitment for years, we have some tried and true materials that may be of use to you. Feel free to download the flyers below. The video is perhaps the most compelling material we highlight.
One of the main reasons teens join the military is the pressure to choose a career even before graduating from high school. Here are a variety of alternatives to military service.
Several of our members are former educators and know how difficult it is to broaden students' perspectives about available jobs. Below is our curated list of often overlooked jobs that may appeal to teens who otherwise might commit to military service.
In addition to presenting real stories of how military service often results in physical or moral injury, abuse, regret, PTSD and more, we offer ideas and advice about alternative jobs to military service. Many provide an opportunity to serve the community without any murky ethics.
Job Alternatives to Military Service
Alameda County Health Pipeline Partnership
Paid internships and training in health care jobs. Academic tutoring and one-on-one mentoring.
Young adults earn money while they engage in service work and receive training. Positions available around the country.
Berkeley Youth Alternatives
Provides support for young adults who are “at-risk” (homeless, foster care, and similar hardships) to learn job skills and get paid job experience.
Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County
Building Trades Apprenticeships prepare women and men for careers in construction by integrating on-the-job training with classroom instruction.
In this union-sponsored building trades apprenticeship program, men and women can become skilled in a trade, and get paid to do it - "Earn While You Learn!"
California Conservation Corps
Paid internships working outside to repair state parks, fight fires, and provide other important services. (Includes housing, meals, and medical care.)
California Employment Development Department
The website has many useful links to job training programs, internships, & job placement.
Paid internships in the East Bay for high school graduates in parks, recycling programs, construction, etc.
Hack the Hood
Under-resourced youth of color are introduced to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for small businesses.
Nationwide program that places high school graduates in paid training and service programs.
Cypress Mandela Training Center offers a free, sixteen-week Pre-Apprenticeship program for Bay Area men and women over 18 years old.
Opportunity Build, Climate Careers
Opportunity Build is a 12-month construction training program in Oakland. Youth gain skills so they can enter an apprenticeship program or get a job. Climate Careers trains and employs youth in the "green economy."
Richmond Pre-Apprenticeship Program
Richmond BUILD Academy participants complete the core Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship track before choosing specialty training.
Tradeswomen, Inc. is a grassroots support organization for women who are interested in working in the skilled trades. They provide pre-apprenticeship classes for women and support in getting into an apprenticeship program.
Treasure Island Job Corp
Provides paid job training in a variety of occupations. Includes housing, meals, medical care, and a paid stipend.
YEP—Youth Employment Training Program
Paid internships and training programs, such as home construction, for low income young adults.
Another critical factor in leaping into a long, legally binding contract that may not be a good fit is finding a way to pay for college. There are many resources designed to help take the anxiety out of funding a higher education.
As an educator, you see the stress and pressure in your students whenever the topic of higher education comes up. Below are a few starting points and resources for teens driven to find a way to pay for college. While recruiters offer a sweet deal on tuition, many veterans do not get a chance to cash in on that deal due to PTSD, abuse, multiple tours, and other stumbling blocks.
Come into the classroom armed with information. We have compiled a short-list of college funding resources bound to inspire any student with their heart set on higher education. We strive to take the anxiety and doomsday debt predictions out of the college conversation. Loans are not the end of the world. Scholarships are out there. Help us spread optimism instead of fear. You can do this!
Federal Student Aid
An office of the U.S. Department of Education, this site offers a wealth of resources, including checklists, an explanation of types of aid and who receives it, and application forms.
Offers tools to estimate the cost of college, how to apply for financial aid, tips for parents, and advice on where to start if you are overwhelmed.
Strategies to Help Pay for College
A list of 13 tips to plan for and pay for higher education.
Built for both first-generation and low-income students, you can create a free profile here, and gain access to a searchable database of more than $11 billion worth of scholarships.
An online mentoring platform that pairs students with a mentor who can answer questions about the college application process and scholarships. The organization says 89 percent of its users go on to attend college without taking on student loan debt.
Student Success Agency
Their mission is to provide first-time college students with help navigating how to pay for higher education. SSA says 90 percent of teens it serves get scholarships.