Preparing Young Adults for Their First Job – Strategies for Being a Good Employee

Newly hired employee gets training

Once your young adult has landed a job, there are several strategies to use to be a good, reliable employee. Learning how to support the company’s short- and long-term goals while at the same time growing and developing one’s own skills is important to both job success and career satisfaction. Put these tools and practices to work in order to make the employment experience a good one.

Be a reliable employee

There are many ways to put your best foot forward as a new employee, but these employee fundamentals are sure to help your young adult be successful:

  • Be on time. Allow plenty of time to get out the door. It’s better to be early than late, so allocate wiggle room for flat tires or unexpected road construction or traffic. Get in the practice of bringing a book to read during any extra time before the shift begins.
  • Be professional. While it’s fine to be friendly and upbeat, be sure to stay focused on roles and responsibilities. Always speak to co-workers, customers and managers with respect. Before leaving for the day, ask if there are any important tasks that need to be done.
  • Learn how to do your job well. Understand what is asked. Be clear on expectations and understand due dates and deliverables.
  • Work hard. Be fully present. Leave the phone and social media for after work hours.

Learn how to balance work with school responsibilities

Students who juggle work in addition to school obligations have to work harder to strike a balance between commitments. It’s important to set priorities and put healthy practices into place. Employ these practices to maintain a work-school-life balance:

  • Be clear about your availability. When possible, be up front about your work availability prior to beginning your job. If additional or unexpected school or personal commitments are going to impact your work availability, have the conversation with your manager or scheduler as soon as possible.
  • Manage your time. Plan your daily and weekly schedules and prioritize your work. Be honest about time snatchers – scrolling through social media feeds, binging TV shows, playing video games or splitting your focus by multitasking – and consider how you can put that time to better use. Reward yourself for using that recovered time in more productive ways.
  • Avoid schedule overload and the stress associated with over commitment. Be clear what you can handle and make sure your employer understands that as well.
  • Get adequate sleep. Your work and school performance will suffer if you don’t give your body – and your brain – proper rest and recovery.

Ask for help

It’s hard to ask for help. We want to give the impression that we are self-reliant and fear that we will appear incompetent or unknowledgeable. But a reluctance to ask for help at work is limiting or even destructive to careers and personal well-being. Understanding that we can be more effective and efficient if we ask for input or help from a more experienced employee early on is a great way to avoid larger problems down the road. Here are four times when you should absolutely ask for help:

  • You don’t know what you’re doing. Even the most experienced employees face instances when they are unclear as to what is being asked. It’s OK to ask.
  • You have too much on your plate. Assignments and tasks are projected to take a certain amount of time. Sometimes those time estimations are wrong or other needs come up that are more important. Explain the situation to your manager. Ask for more time and ask for help prioritizing your tasks. Or ask a co-worker to help. Be specific about what you need and what the deadline is.
  • You made a mistake. Own the mistake and let someone know. The goal is to understand what went wrong and how to avoid the same mistake in the future.
  • You need help from a more experienced co-worker. If you don’t know your company’s processes or systems, you’ll need to ask someone who does.

Ask for additional responsibilities or training opportunities at work

Whether you’re hoping for a raise or just wanting to add to the breadth and depth of your skills, asking for additional responsibility can be complicated. Here are a few ways to pick up additional skills and responsibilities:

  • Ask your manager. Before you ask for more things to be added to your workload, make sure you have a handle on your current responsibilities. Help your manager understand the positive impact on the business or department if you acquire additional skills or take on new tasks.
  • Be proactive. Do you see a problem that needs solving? Is something falling through the cracks? If so, let your department know that you could help with those tasks.
  • Offer to help a co-worker. If you see a busy colleague who is juggling too many assignments, offer to assist.

Be open to job performance feedback

Receiving feedback is difficult for everyone. Our brains are wired to protect us, and neuroscientists have determined that criticism is perceived by the brain as a threat to survival. People who effectively process feedback and put it to use to improve their skills and performance have learned to work around this hardwiring of self-protection. Here are some ways to be resilient about performance feedback:

  • Don’t shut down. Be aware of your body language and tone of voice when someone is offering constructive feedback. Whether suggestions are coming from a supervisor or co-worker, be physically and emotionally open to the person’s thoughts and recommendations.
  • Listen.  Let it sink in. Ask how it impacts your team. Some types of feedback can be hard to process in the moment. Take time to consider the feedback and revisit the conversation with your supervisor. Ask how you can do better.

Performance feedback is about skill and execution of a task, not about you as a person. Good managers develop those who work for them. Feedback, given openly and constructively, is a gift for your development. If you have regular conversations with your manager, ask for feedback on a regular basis. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Do you have one or two suggestions for how I can improve my work?
  • How could I handle my projects more effectively?
  • Is there anything I can do to make your job easier?
  • Do you have any suggestions for improving how I prioritize or complete my tasks?

Be willing to address issues at work

Even the best work environments have misunderstandings, projects that miss the target or interactions that don’t go as planned. Keep these three things in mind when addressing issues at work:

  • Assume positive intent. Most misunderstandings are just that – a misinterpretation of facts or the situation. Before addressing the issue, go into the discussion assuming the person had good intentions.
  • Talk directly to the person involved. While you can seek advice from a manager or mentor for how to handle a situation, it is always better to deal directly with the person involved to gain an understanding for how you arrived at a place of misunderstanding or frustration.
  • Consult a manager or mentor if the situation remains unresolved. Ask for advice on how to proceed constructively to resolve the issue.

Your military community makes it easier for you to help your young adult prepare to be a strong employee. Reach out to Military OneSource with questions or for additional assistance. Call 800-342-9647 or set up a live chat today. OCONUS/international? Viewr calling options.

Try These Home-Schooling Tips, Resources

Two teens on computers for at-home schooling

Current as of April 19, 2021


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, schools remain on modified schedules. Here are some tips and resources you can use to help your child learn at home.

Need More Parenting Resources During COVID-19?

You may be looking for new ideas for managing children at home during the pandemic. Try this updated list of extensive parenting resources.

Virtual and in-person learning

If you are trying to decide between virtual, in-person or hybrid school options for your child, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide this School Decision-Making Tool for Parents, Caregivers and Guardians. In addition, the Department of Defense Education Activity offers these Virtual Learning Parent Tips for Success.

Establish a routine for learning at home

  • Consider your child’s age. Transitioning to home-based learning will be very different for an elementary student than a middle or high school student. Discuss your expectations for learning at home and go over any concerns so you are on the same page.
  • Set and follow a weekday schedule for starting and ending the school day and going to bed. All children benefit from structure, even if they try to resist it.
  • Build in flexibility to accommodate your own work and other responsibilities. If you are teleworking, see if you and your spouse, partner or another adult in your household can share some of the teaching. It might also help to set aside time in the evenings to check over assignments or work together on reading and other skills.
  • Take breaks. Schedule time during the school day for lunch, snacks and age-appropriate breaks. Think physical education, recess, etc.
  • Build in time for creativity. Make time for music, art and other creative subjects. This may include time for your child to practice an instrument, draw, paint, try their hand at drama or develop other skills. Have younger children practice counting by stacking blocks, or build a fort from sheets.
  • Help your child safely connect with friends and relatives. Connecting with friends and family members outside your household is important. Work with your children’s school, their friends’ parents and others to help them stay in touch. Consider taking turns leading virtual lessons or hosting virtual play dates. Have your children write letters to people they care about while practicing handwriting and grammar.
  • Create a designated learning space. Set up a designated learning space that is comfortable and in an area with minimal distractions. Allow children to personalize their space and ensure it contains the equipment and materials they need and can access independently.

Tap resources through your child’s school

  • Embrace online assignments and virtual lessons. Monitor your child’s assignments and make sure all work is completed and logged in on time for online sessions. Provide any help your child may need, such as reading instructions and using laptops and other devices.
  • Ask for teaching advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers, guidance counselors and administrators for advice as you support your child at home.
  • Seek assistance. Contact your child’s teachers or school to resolve issues that may come up with technology, connectivity, assignments and more.

Tap installation and community resources

  • Explore home-schooling resources on your installation. These can include installation school liaisons, Department of Defense Education Activity school activities, and programs for children, youth and teens.
  • Check out Head Start and Sure Start programs. Head Start teaches reading, math and other developmental skills to children age 5 and younger before they start school. Sure Start is a Department of Defense Education Activity program open to command-sponsored military children at overseas installations who meet age requirements and other criteria.
  • Reach out to Military OneSource education consultants. They can assist you with questions about your child’s education. These one-on-one sessions are free and confidential and can provide you with referrals to resources in your area. Call 800-342-9647 at any time to schedule an appointment. OCONUS/International? Use these calling options.
  • Turn to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library. This is your source for free online resources for children, teens and adults — including eBooks and audiobooks on virtually every topic. Use the library to help your children learn and stay engaged and entertained.
  • Connect with other parents. Stay in touch with parents in your existing network and work together to widen your circle. Share resources, try teaching virtual group lessons and more.
  • Celebrate reading. Join the National Education Association and schools across the nation in celebrating Read Across America. Check out the campaign’s Celebrate All Year tips and resources to help your child experience the joy of reading year-round.
  • Take advantage of remote learning opportunities. Nonprofit and other educational organizations are offering free resources, such as instructional videos, live streams and webinars. Check out these Sesame Street learning and working at home ideas for preschoolers.

Tap resources in the arts, sciences and more

  • Explore these U.S. Department of Education resources for learning at home. Activities include virtual field trips to the National Energy Labs, interactive lessons from NASA, a STEM video library from the Department of Defense, history presentations from Library of Congress and much more.
  • Serve up science lessons. Turn to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library for resources including ScienceFlix, which offers more than 50 complete units of study with thousands of science-related assets. It uses hands-on projects, videos, interactive features and more to give children and teens a better understanding of science concepts and ideas.
  • DODEA’s comprehensive Parent Resources page is an asset to every family, even if your child doesn’t attend a DODEA school. You will find links to a wide variety of activities for children of all ages.
  • Get homework and tutoring help. Tutor.com for U.S. military families provides on-demand, online tutoring and homework help at no cost to eligible service members, civilian personnel and their dependents. With live, expert tutors available 24/7, military-connected students can receive academic help at their moment of need — anywhere they have an internet connection.

Stay informed

Understanding of COVID-19 is continually changing. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also contact your installation’s school liaison for updates in your school district and for guidance on all of your child’s education needs. Find your school liaisons through the Department of Defense Education Activity service-specific liaison directories. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms for up-to-date information.

For Department of Defense updates for the military community:

Talking to Your Teen About Substance Abuse

Father with arm around son

Substance abuse happens everywhere, including on and off military installations. Recent studies indicate that military children have higher rates of drug and alcohol use as well as a higher risk of developing an addiction. There are steps you can take to help reduce your child’s risk for substance abuse.

How can I talk to my teen about substance abuse?

The dangers of teen substance use include impaired driving, future health problems and increased susceptibility to addiction. Here are a few tips to help you discuss drug use with your teen:

  • Talk now. It might seem like your pre-teens are too young for a serious talk about substance abuse, but research shows that it’s not uncommon for children to be offered drugs or alcohol before turning 13.
  • Talk often. Make conversations with your child a regular, frequent practice. The more you talk to your child or teen about all topics, the easier it will be to discuss difficult topics on a regular basis.
  • Embrace honesty. Be prepared to answer questions about your experience with drugs and show your own vulnerability. Sharing your own experiences or being open about any family history can make the conversation more relatable and allow your teen to learn from the past.
  • Talk and listen. A two-way conversation may likely resonate better with your teen. It’s important your child feels comfortable sharing his or her opinions, concerns or questions with you. Also, try discussing serious topics during side-by-side activities, like folding laundry, preparing dinner or driving. These activities take the focus off the teen and place it on the topic at hand.
  • Avoid scare tactics. Focus on real risks for commonly abused substances. For example, discuss how marijuana can affect their performance on sports teams or put them at risk for legal trouble, or how alcohol abuse can lead to addiction and future health problems.
  • Be mindful of tone and word choice. Focus on positive word choices so your teen is less defensive. Use “I” statements to express how certain situations or topics make you feel as a parent versus phrasing sentences involving your teen as “you” statements. For example, begin a sentence with “I’m concerned…” instead of “you should never…” or “you always…”
  • Talk one on one. While it’s important for both of the child’s parents to be on the same page and to be part of the conversations about difficult topics, your teen may feel less threatened talking to one parent at a time.
  • Look for teachable moments. From music lyrics to television or movie characters to news reports, opportunities abound to discuss tough topics and situations and how others did or did not handle the challenges they faced.
  • Get real. Brainstorm scenarios in which your teen may be offered drugs or alcohol and work together to come up with some real ways he or she could handle each situation.
  • Stay involved. As with most difficult topics, it’s best to revisit the topic of drug and alcohol use. Get to know your son or daughter’s friends and their friends’ parents. Stay involved in their social activities.

What warning signs should I look out for?

If you think your teen may be at risk for abusing drugs or alcohol, keep an eye out for these warning signs:

  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • New friends and different places to hang out
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Withdrawal from or hostility toward family members
  • Unfamiliar smells in the home, car or on the teen’s possessions
  • Unexplained need for money and secrecy about where it goes
  • Alcohol bottles, prescription drug bottles or drug paraphernalia in the teen’s room
  • Changes in physical appearance or personality
  • Sudden changes in school performance

Where can I find more resources?

What should I do if my teen needs help?

Teen substance abuse can be linked to parental use and abuse. If you think you need help or if you’re concerned your teen is abusing substances, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to navigate the path to sobriety. As a member of the military community, you and your family members can receive the necessary inpatient or outpatient treatment through TRICARE. Your primary care manager can provide an appropriate referral. If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, then press 1, or access online chat by texting 838255.

Put your military community’s resources to work for you and your family. You aren’t in this alone.

Helping Your Children Change Schools

Young student wearing mask in class

Frequent moving to new duty stations is fact of military life, and your child will be asked to respond to the routines and demands of military life as well. Being prepared to help your school-age children change schools can go a long way to helping them adjust to their new environment in healthy ways. Parent preparation can mean a smooth school move for your children from one school system to the next.

When making moves within the continental United States, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children addresses educational transition issues of military families. Adopted by all states and the District of Columbia, the Interstate Compact replaces varying individual state education policies that affect transitioning military dependent children and supports uniform treatment for these students as they transfer between school districts and states. The Interstate Compact covers all schools, including Department of Defense Education Activity, or DODEA, schools.

Your school liaison can assist with your child’s school transition.

School liaisons are your primary point of contact for all school-related matters, especially a school transition. The school liaison at your current installation can connect you to your new installation school liaison who will help smooth the transition to your child’s new school. Let your school liaison help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship during this time of change.

The Interstate Compact addresses educational transition issues of military families such as eligibility, enrollment, placement and graduation, making it easier for military children to enroll in needed classes, play sports and graduate on time. Here are some of the ways states are helping you make a smooth move for your children.

Immediate enrollment

When leaving your school district, you can get unofficial records to carry to your new school. Your student will be able to enroll without delay, even before the official transcript arrives. If your child needs additional immunizations, you can enroll and take care of these requirements within 30 days.

Placement and attendance support

Your children will be placed in appropriate required classes, advanced placement and special-needs programs while awaiting evaluation at their new school. That means your child won’t be put in a “holding class” while your new school is taking the time to assess him or her. The interstate compact also enables a student to miss school for military-related reasons or to request excused absences before, during or after a deployment.

Special education services

If your student is covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, federal law protects your child’s right to receive the same services identified in his or her existing individual education program, or IEP. The receiving school may perform subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement.

Extracurricular participation

If your child is eligible, the new school will facilitate participation in extracurricular activities even if application deadlines or tryouts have passed.

Graduation

Rest assured that your high schooler’s graduation will not be affected. Here are some examples of how the Interstate Compact assists with checking off graduation requirements:

  • Course waivers: If your child has already completed similar coursework, the new school shall waive courses required for graduation.
  • Exit exams: The new school district shall accept your child’s exit exams and achievement tests required to graduate from his or her previous school.
  • Senior-year transfers: If your student changes school during their senior year, the two school districts will work together to get a diploma from the former school to ensure on-time graduation.

School liaisons

School liaisons are located at every installation and are especially helpful in dealing with your school transition issues. This local resource has well-established relationships with school administrators, district officials and state departments of education and can help with your transition needs. School liaisons understand the military experience and are here to help with your child’s move to a new school. Contact the school liaison at your acquiring installation for help with:

  • School options and programs
  • School and community information nearby
  • Compliance with the Interstate Compact
  • Youth programs inside and outside of school

You can also call Military OneSource to connect to an education consultant for help with everything from tutors to tuition. Don’t wait until the move occurs. Call 800-342-9647 or set up a live chat today. OCONUS/International? View calling options.

Making the Move Easier for Military Children

Children in new home with moving boxes

Moving with children can be a little like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. A little perspective and patience is needed for you to fit all the pieces together, as well as allowing plenty of time for transition and adjustment. Here are a few tips to make your next move a smooth one for your children – and you.

Your school liaison can assist with your child’s school transition.

School liaisons are your primary point of contact for all school-related matters, especially a school transition. The school liaison at your current installation can connect you to your new installation school liaison who will help smooth the transition to your child’s new school. Let your school liaison help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship during this time of change.

  • Tell your children about the move as soon as possible. Give your children plenty of time to adjust to the idea of moving and say goodbye to all their friends.
  • Give your children space and answers. They may also have a lot of questions, so listen patiently and answer as best you can. Help your children research their new school, nearby parks and installation activities. The adjustment — for you and your children — will take time.
  • Give your children a task. Depending on the age of your children, there are many ways to help. Older youth might be able to help plan portions of the move, such as searching for new houses online or researching fun things to do on the new installation. Younger children can help by packing their own “first day box.”
  • Reassure your children. Let them know they’ll have a new home address, but the important things in life — like how much you love each other — won’t change. Your children take their cues from you. Stay positive and make the move fun to help them feel involved and excited.
  • Enjoy your family’s favorite things and places. Before you go, make a point to visit the park, the frozen yogurt shop or another favorite place. You might take something from one of those places to the new house and encourage your child to find a new favorite spot.
  • Make a plan to experience something new in your future home. You can acknowledge the sadness of leaving friends and routine while at the same time engage your children in the excitement of change. Use a map or globe to show your children where you’re headed and begin researching and exploring the different and unique places geographically near your new home.
  • Help your children connect to others who have gone through similar experiences. A great resource for school-aged children, Military Kids Connect can link your children to other children who share the military lifestyle, including the upheaval and excitement of moving.
  • Prepare for your move and anticipate your child’s needs and concerns. Planning ahead is key to a smooth move. Visit the Military OneSource Plan My Move page to create a personalized checklist. Keep your tasks in one convenient location, organized by topic or timeline. Whether its locating a new school, securing new housing or preparing financially for the move, the Plan My Move checklist will help ensure you won’t forget a thing, including EFMP & Me assistance at your new installation.
  • Select your child’s next school with assistance from your local school liaison. As soon as you receive your move orders, reach out to your local school liaison. Your local school liaison can help you prepare for your child’s new school by connecting you with the school liaison at your new installation who will help you:
    • Determine which school options and programs are a good fit for your child. From magnet programs to sports teams, school liaisons know the local education landscape. They will take the time to understand your child’s academic, extra-curricular and social needs and wants and make school recommendations accordingly. Whether your child needs a school culture with a strong art, orchestra or sports program, your school liaison can help you identify available school options so that your child can feel at home faster in his or her new environment.
    • Choose housing near a school that is a good fit for your child. Once you identify the right combination of academic and social factors that are important for your family, your school liaison can help orient you to your new geographical area. Your school liaisons are familiar with the zones that map to the schools and youth programs your family desires.
    • Connect to youth programs outside of schools. Every installation has unique partnerships for children, youth and teens in the military and civilian communities. School liaisons know what is happening on and off base and can help your child, youth or teen connect to child care and extracurricular activities, such as youth sponsorship programs. Through a youth sponsorship program, your child or teen can be paired with a peer at your new location and even correspond with him or her before arrival at the new installation. Be sure to check out Mission: Youth Outreach through Boys & Girls Clubs of America as well, which provides free membership to local civilian BGCA clubs when an installation youth center is too far away. For more information about youth programs available to your child, contact your local school liaison.
  • Take the time and space you need to be in control of your move.  Rested and organized parents create a calmer home environment for children amidst the change and disruption of a move. Reach out for child care assistance so that you and your spouse can stay on top of your move and accomplish the necessary tasks. Expanded hourly child care options are available to help you carve out time and space to handle your move details.

Moving is part of military life. The more you talk about your new home ahead of time, the easier the relocation will be for your children — and you. Let Military OneSource help you take care of your family and your move, one step at a time.

Back-to-School Planning During COVID-19

Two students with masks physically distancingImage source: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/african-descent-girl-on-school-campus-mask-for-royalty-free-image/1251048576?adppopup=true

Current as of April 9, 2021


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, parents and students may be facing new uncertainties. Conditions across the world differ widely and continue to change rapidly. In addition, school reopening policies vary and often include instruction and scheduling options. With so many unknowns and continued unexpected changes, making decisions as a parent can be difficult.

As you navigate a quickly changing world, it is also important to provide your child structure. Learn how to create and maintain routines for your entire family.

One resilience skill we have learned from life in the past year is to focus less on what we can’t control and more on what we can. And what can we control right now? We can continue to stay informed, practice proven safety measures and encourage our children to do the same. Evidence shows that safety measures like physical distancing, face coverings and improved hygiene such as frequent hand-washing and disinfecting commonly used surfaces reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Reach out for support.

Military OneSource education consultants can help you ease back-to-school transitions and continuously changing education challenges.

Educational resources

As your child wraps up the 2020-21 academic year, it’s not too late to take advantage of online educational resources. Help your kids retain a school mindset as they reinforce reading skills, learn stress-management practices, build a paper Mars helicopter or participate in youth programs online. These resources can add variety to your child’s education process:

  • The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library offers an amazing variety of education and entertainment resources for all ages. Programs include BookFlix, Explora Primary, Mango Languages and many more. The Teachables program offers printable activities for children pre-K through grade 6.
  • Tutor.com provides live, on-demand tutoring, test preparation and homework help in more than 100 subjects, for students in kindergarten through college.
  • Thrive is a free, online parenting-education program from a Department of Defense partnership with the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State. It offers evidence-based, positive-parenting practices for children from birth to age 18. Check out its downloadable resources for stress reduction, healthy eating and physical activities.
  • Sesame Street for Military Families offers a variety of resources including activities, games, videos and the Breathe, Think, Do wellness app.
  • Helping Your Child Become a Reader provides tips from the U.S. Department of Education for parents of young children.
  • NASA STEM has a wide variety of science, math, engineering and technology ideas for students in kindergarten through college to encourage the next generation of explorers.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America My Future currently offers 11 programs youths can participate in via the MyFuture virtual social platform. These programs support engagement and academic success and include Digital Literacy Essentials, Media Making, Computer Science, Visual Arts and more.
  • Making School Fun at Home offers helpful tips from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for supporting learning at home for children of all ages.

Talk with an education consultant

COVID-19 continues to create challenges, and Military OneSource is here to help. If you would like to talk to an expert about any of your educational concerns, Military OneSource offers free and confidential one-on-one sessions with professionals knowledgeable about education resources. Consultants are available 24/7 anywhere in the world to help you stay strong while you navigate military life. Call 800-342-9647, call OCONUS or start a live chat.

Understanding of COVID-19 continues to change, so check our Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page. Want to find the phone number for your installation’s housing office or Military and Family Support Center? Find those and more on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, an online information directory for military installations worldwide. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms.

For Department of Defense updates for the military community:

Travel Planning – The Essentials

Plane taking off on runway

You joined the armed forces because you love an adventure, but getting from point A to point B doesn’t happen automatically. Military OneSource is here to point you to resources that can assist you with your travel planning and help you make the most of your excursions, whether you book a cruise in the Caribbean or venture a few miles outside of your neighborhood.

Get started with these ideas:

Consider Space-A travel.

Service members and their families can use Space-Available flights to travel. Though sometimes unpredictable, military flights are perfect for families with flexible plans and limited travel budgets. You can sign up for a Space-A flight through a military terminal up to 60 days in advance.

Note: Effective March 21, 2020, Air Mobility Command temporarily suspended most Space-A travel due to COVID-19.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource:

Take advantage of TSA Precheck®

Service members and their families can take advantage of TSA Precheck to expedite waiting time at the airport when flying commercial. Simply use your Department of Defense ID as your known traveler number. You’ll bypass long security lines without removing your shoes or jacket or having to take your laptop out of your bag.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource:

Get military discounts through American Forces Travel℠.

Eligible members of the military community can use American Forces Travel℠ to book leisure travel online. The one-stop travel booking site is a joint service initiative that offers discounts on airfare, rental cars, flights, cruises and more. You can use the website to book your next trip, while helping to fund other current and future morale, welfare and recreation programs.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource:

Save money with a staycation.

A staycation is a vacation where you discover your local area while avoiding the time, hassle and expense of travel. Consider these benefits: sleeping in your own bed, not needing to pack and spending your money on fun activities in your own community. Your MWR program can help you find the best local activities.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resources:

Travel benefits for college students.

Military family members enrolled in colleges away from an active-duty parent’s OCONUS duty station are eligible for travel benefits. The government will pay for one round trip each fiscal year for college students if they meet certain requirements. This travel benefit must be authorized through the service member’s command and be completed through the military travel office.

Relevant Article:

Relevant Resource:

Youth Employment – The Essentials

Student receives training at his summer job on a military installation

A first job is an important milestone in a student’s life. Taking the first steps toward financial independence, as well as making a commitment to an employer, is both exciting and nerve-wracking. With the addition of geographic moves, military youth have their own unique experiences and challenges when it comes to securing employment. Military OneSource provides plenty of resources to help military families assist their teens as they tackle their first job search. Use the resources and strategies below to help your teen take the first steps toward employment success.

Filling out a job application

Your teen can find available jobs on most company websites or by inquiring at the place of business. Teens can also get assistance with their job searches through local teen or youth programs and Military and Family Support Center, which offer knowledgeable staff, classes and computer access. Teaching your teen the basics of completing job applications will help alleviate confusion and anxiety about job searching. Whether your teen will be completing an application at the place of business or a fillable form online, here is the general information requested on applications:

  • Basic information. This information includes name, address and contact information.
  • Available start date. If your teen is heavily involved in extracurricular activities such as basketball or skiing, starting a job in November might not be the right time to put the best foot forward with the employer. Help your teen figure out the optimum time to begin earning extra cash.
  • Hours available to work each week. Before applying for a job, your teen should determine how many hours he or she can work each week and still meet obligations of school work and demands of extracurricular activities and meetings. Help your teen lay out his or her average weekly schedule and determine the work time available within that schedule.
  • Desired salary. This is often minimum wage for entry-level positions.
  • Skills relevant to the job or to being a reliable worker.
  • Resume or cover letter. These items, especially the cover letter, should be customized for each employer and personalized with the hiring manager’s name whenever possible. Even if the application asks for work history, these documents are often requested to be uploaded for online applications.
  • Work history. This information includes company name and phone number, the position held, responsibilities and dates of employment.
  • Education history. Be sure to include school name and type, such as high school or college.
  • References. These can be personal and/or work-related, depending on your teen’s work history. References should always be asked ahead of time if they are comfortable serving as a reference; they should also be alerted to which employers your teen has applied so they are prepared when an employer reaches out for a job reference. In addition to your teen’s relationship to the references, you will need to provide contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses. Your teen should always thank references once a job is obtained.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity and veteran status, as well as self-identification of any disability.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Getting the resume ready.

Make sure your son or daughter has a good resume ready to go. You never know when an employment opportunity will arise and a solid resume allows your child to be ready when opportunities occur. Use Military OneSource and the Department of Labor’s Career OneStop tools to draft the resume, compare formats and styles and explore resume guidelines, tips and samples to ensure your child’s resume looks professional. Teens can also get assistance with resume development or review through local teen or youth programs and Military and Family Support Center.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Completing employment documentation

Employment documentation is confusing for adults, let alone someone facing these documents for the first time. Your child will be asked to complete the following forms in the first day(s) of employment. All of the required documentation should be treated as sensitive information. To avoid identity theft, your child should never email or leave this information with anyone but the hiring manager.

  • Work permit
    • Work permits vary by state, but typically teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will need to acquire work permits. Have your teen consult the high school guidance or counseling office or contact the superintendent’s office.
  • W-4, or Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
    • This form sets up your child’s federal income tax withholding.
    • The W-4 requires your child’s social security number.
  • I-9, or Employment Eligibility Verification
    • The I-9 requires both proof of identity and authorization to work.
    • This form also requires your child’s social security number.
    • There are many acceptable combinations for employment eligibility verification, but the most common documents used for verification are:
      • Passport only
      • Both a valid driver’s license and birth certificate
    • Your child can find a complete list of acceptable I-9 documentation at USCIS.gov.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Setting up direct deposit for paychecks

Most employers pay via direct deposit into a savings or checking account. If your child hasn’t already done so, visit your local bank branch to set up an account. Direct deposits are handled through the Automated Clearing House network, and your child can expect pay deposits to show up on his or her monthly bank statements coded with the acronym ACH. The following information is required to set up direct deposit:

  • Bank account number
  • Bank routing number (ask your bank for its specific nine-digit code)
  • Account type (savings or checking)
  • Bank name and address (any branch will do)
  • Name(s) of all account holders on the account

Exploring internships.

Interning is a great way to get your teen’s foot in the door. Your teen can learn a lot about the company while making valuable connections. Ask around your installation, community centers and local businesses about internship opportunities. Job websites, such as Indeed, also list internships opportunities for both high school and college students, and you can search MilitaryINSTALLATIONS for opportunities at your installation. The Department of Defense offers internship opportunities through its STEM program, available to both high school and college students.

Relevant Resources:

Finding and connecting with a mentor

The military community is full of role models who your youth can learn about their job experience. A strong network is key, and a mentor can unlock educational and professional connections. Better yet, mentors can provide the support, guidance and coaching that will help your son or daughter figure out the right path. Start by asking a future mentor for a 15-20 minute conversation. Have your son or daughter explore your community arsenal for someone who can help:

  • Neighbor, relative or family friend
  • Trusted employer or manager
  • Counselor, coach or teacher
  • Camp counselor or youth group leader
  • Religious leader

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Building skills through volunteering.

You are part of a community committed to serving, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in and around your installation. It’s a great way for your youth to build resume skills, make connections and stay busy during their job search. Your installation youth center or military family readiness center can connect your youth to a volunteer coordinator who can provide a list of volunteer openings.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Pre-K to 12 Education – The Essentials

american flag

Supporting your child’s education is one of your most important responsibilities as a parent. By cultivating a love of learning and knowledge at a young age, you put your child on a path to success so they can open doors on endless future opportunities.

Military OneSource can help you build a strong foundation of learning for your child. This includes building a relationship with your child’s school and tapping into the support and resources of your military community – all to help you help your child succeed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how children learn as well as the interaction between families and their schools, at least for the time being. But there are resources available to help you and your child navigate the challenges brought on by the pandemic. These include strategies on how to nurture learning from home as well as some learning materials you can tap into.

Received PCS orders? Before you go, contact your school liaison.

Find out how a school liaison can help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship.

Support your child’s education with these five steps:

1. Start learning young.

Starting early means laying a foundation for lifelong learning and success in school. This can happen at home or in a child development center. The Department of Defense developed Early Learning Matters curriculum to give military children a strong foundation by promoting skills linked to school readiness, well-being and life success. If you are stationed overseas, Sure Start – a Department of Defense Education Activity program – is open to command-sponsored military children who meet specific age requirements and other criteria. You can also take advantage of Thrive, a free online parenting program. The on-demand courses promote positive parenting, stress management and healthy lifestyle practices. Find out how Thrive can help you raise healthy, resilient children from birth to 18.

Relevant articles:

2. Connect with your child’s school.

Your relationship with the school demonstrates to your child and the school’s staff the importance you attach to education. Even if you relocate often or are temporarily deployed, you can build a relationship with the school by meeting the teacher, volunteering, attending school events or joining a parent group.

Keep in mind that how you engage with your child’s school may require different strategies during the pandemic, including meeting with teachers and other parents online and attending meetings virtually, or practicing social distancing and following other safety protocols when attending events.

Relevant articles:

Relevant resources:

3. Nurture learning at home.

Learning doesn’t stop when the school day ends. A child absorbs as much or more at home and through his or her experiences as through a textbook. To encourage learning at home, establish a routine to keep children on schedule with their homework and provide plenty of praise for a job well done. This has never been more relevant than during the pandemic. Take advantage of available resources to help with schooling at home. And look for additional opportunities to foster learning during activities such as cooking, gardening and food shopping. They present opportunities to strengthen skills such as science, math and reading.

Relevant articles:

Relevant resources:

4. Use your MWR Digital Library’s learning resources.

The Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library is another resource to supplement classroom learning. Use its expansive, personalized and interactive resources to:

  • Gain access to tutors and connect your military child or teen with live online help in a variety of subjects.
  • Access video storybooks, audiobooks, eLearning tutorials and reading materials for virtually all areas of learning. You can also find practice exams and other information to help students prepare for college.

In addition, the MWR Summer Reading Program is a great resource to help families bridge the summer learning gap.

Relevant articles:

Relevant resources:

5. Reach out to experts when it’s time to move.

The school liaison program, resources and partnerships help military children thrive academically, socially and emotionally, regardless of duty station, deployments or transition status. To learn more about the school liaison program, contact your installation school liaison office. For your installation’s school liaison office phone number and email address, visit the Department of Defense Education Activity website.

Relevant articles:

Support your child’s education

Supporting your child’s education requires time, commitment and the right information. Education consultants can assist you with questions. These one-on-one sessions are free and confidential. The consultants can provide you with referrals to in-home tutors and tutoring centers in your area, as well as public and private school information. Call 800-342-9647 at any time to schedule an appointment. International? View overseas calling options.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

A cadet with the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

Since 1993, the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program has given teenagers a second chance by teaching them self-discipline, leadership and responsibility as they work toward a high school diploma or equivalency.

To date, more than 185,000 young men and women have graduated from the program, which is offered free to eligible candidates ages 16-18 in 31 states, districts and territories.

About the NGYCP

The NGYCP is a voluntary 5½-month residential program followed by a year-long mentorship. Its goal is to get teenagers on track toward graduating from high school and on to a promising future. The NGYCP is a Department of Defense program administered by the National Guard Bureau.

During the residential phase of the program, cadets are immersed in a military training environment, which emphasizes discipline, consistency and structure. Cadets attend classes daily to prepare them to return to high school or complete General Education Development testing. The program focuses on the social, emotional and academic development of cadets by teaching them:

  • Academic excellence
  • Life-coping skills
  • Service to the community
  • Health and hygiene
  • Job skills
  • Leadership/followership
  • Physical fitness
  • Responsible citizenship

Cadets choose a mentor from their community who is specially trained to work with them for the 12 months following the residential portion of the NGYCP. Mentors help the youth apply their new skills to real-life situations and continue progressing toward their goals.

Who is eligible for the NGYCP?

The NGYCP is open to young men and women who will be 16-18 years old when they enter the program. Additionally, applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the United States
  • Be significantly behind or no longer working toward a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Be unemployed or underemployed
  • Be willing to be free from illegal drug and substance use, alcohol and tobacco
  • Not have a felony charge or conviction
  • Be physically and mentally capable of fully participating in the program; reasonable accommodations will be made for physical or other disabilities

For more information or to find out if the NGYCP is available in your community, visit the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe website.