Why STEM is Important for Veterans and Their Career Growth

Today I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about STEM. The word stem itself has many meanings, but one I love is “to arise or originate,” as in this blog stems from my desire to help connect veterans to meaningful careers. As most of us know, the acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

So why STEM as a blog topic? Simple. STEM is a great path toward a rewarding and enriching career opportunity like no other. Moreover, think about it. Can any of us imagine a world without science, technology, engineering or math? Sure, many think math isn’t used beyond passing that algebra class in high school, but the reality is that math drives the other three. And we need the other three to live the fulfilling and productive lives we want for ourselves and our future generations. So why not make a career out of one of these fields?

Veterans already have hands-on experience in STEM, whether they realize it or not! That gives you a leg up on others right off the bat. And we need more Veterans working in STEM, because it is the future! In fact, we need veteran leaders and youth to help us solve future issues and problems we can’t even fathom yet. US Department of Commerce says STEM occupations growth is now at 17 percent, while other occupations are growing closer to nine percent. So now is the time to chart your career path toward a real difference-making career.

How STEM impacted me

But before we tackle the future, take a quick peek at the past. You actually have a unique background that makes you a great candidate for a career in STEM. I will include my story here so you might be able to relate. I served four years of Active Duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. After my tour of duty and traveling the globe, I decided then that I wanted to move back in the civilian life and take advantage of the GI Bill that I had paid into. After getting my B.S. in Computer Science, I was able to start really diving into my career. Fast forward 20 years later, an advanced degree, and I have successfully served in roles such as Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer. 

Filling in a STEM role is vitally important to your career growth and success, but also contributes to this country’s success in the global competitive market.  And we need you to help meet the demand of a dynamic workforce. Why? Because STEM helps fuel innovation. And innovation keeps our society thriving. It makes life better. It helps us create a better world. That should be enough to make you interested in a STEM career.

Take a second and remember why you chose to serve your country. In most cases, it aligns with the very principles that STEM produces.

Here’s the bottom line. Veterans and students skilled in STEM will play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of our economy. A thriving economy fuels a better life for you, your family and the community.

So, if this speaks to you, join us to learn more about how you can get more information on investing in your career.

Join Us!

~ Brian Thomas

Why The After Action Network Was Started

Thank you again for visiting our program. We believe this initiative can be life changing and in some instances life saving, not unlike my own personal story. We hope you’ll enroll and engage in the many programs and services we offer.

As for me, I spent seven years in the Marine Corps (‘04 to ‘11). In 2005, I was badly injured and then again in 2008. In 2009 I tried to kill myself after learning that the severity of my injuries meant I could no longer be a Marine. I struggled to cope and became addicted to painkillers, leading to clinical depression, aggressive suicidal tendencies and a disconnect from myself, who I was, and where I was going in life.

When I returned home I struggled to adjust. I missed my brothers and sisters and longed to be back in Iraq, Afghanistan or some other place fighting for our lives, doing what Marines do best. I missed the adrenaline, the excitement, and the fear of being in a war zone. Most of all, I missed having a purpose greater than my own, fighting for what I truly believed in. I was desperately seeking something to fill a major void in my life. Drugs and alcohol only made things worse, so after the many failed attempts to reintegrate through traditional (VA) standards I began to research and seek out alternative resources and programs. And that’s when the idea for After Action Network began to take hold.

Luckily for me, I found comfort and purpose through art. Through art and creativity I found my way back home — learning creative outlets to express myself in a healthy, positive and constructive manner. Art opened my eyes to new possibilities and new ways to help my brothers and sisters. It helped me become an entrepreneur and an advocate. And it led me to start After Action Network to help others find their own paint brush, to paint their own pictures and to master their own lives as I did mine. Together we will help others explore new passions, find opportunities and discover careers as born again civilians finding their way home.

The Path to Alignment

As a veteran, no matter what branch, campaign, conflict, duty or otherwise, you can find your purpose here:

  • Art services
  • Back-to-Work career services
  • Entrepreneurship opportunities
  • Many other services and resources
  • Build meaningful connections with our community members

These programs and services will continue to expand over time. If you or you know somebody that would like to volunteer to help our Veteran Community, please contact us on our Contact Page.  We hope we can provide helpful and meaningful tools to help veterans with their personal and professional life transformation.

Buy One Vet One Program


Volunteer with usWelcome to our new online shop and Buy One Vet One (B1V1) program! We are excited to launch this program as there are many needs in our veteran community.  B1V1 is a community engagement tool and charitable sales promotion platform that allows companies, businesses, and nonprofits to offer services and/or programs to civilians and for a small additional cost we provide the same services and/or programs to veterans at little to no cost.

All proceeds from B1V1 go toward getting veterans and their families into positive and constructive outlets, much-needed retreats, alternative therapies, career and housing opportunities, and much, much more.

You’ll see our online store expanding as we continue to add new products, services, and merchandise. The proceeds of these sales go back into our B1V1 program to support a veteran in need.

Likewise, if you are a vendor or company that would like to partner with us to support this program, please click below.

Tell Me More!

From our Veterans.  Thank You. 


Operation: Cover Down

After Action Network is partnering with Charlie Mike Theater Company to help with the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are collecting cloth masks for the at-risk and homeless veteran population in the KC area. See the details below.