Transitioning out of the military comes with a whole new slew of problems. Finding a job can be difficult, but even if you opt to use the GI-Bill and get a degree, that isn’t a guarantee for a good, fulfilling job right out the door by any means. College is necessary for huge swaths of careers, but it is often only the first step.

Networking and making connections are invaluable and, in my experience, have helped veterans in getting worthwhile jobs more than anything else. Recommendations, referrals and even outright job offers happen all the time due to some simple networking. Many veterans struggle with the fact that, in the civilian world (especially when you’re unemployed), there isn’t a ladder to climb, or an objective to seize. Breaking into the film industry or the world of industrial engineering or finance is a lot harder if you have no idea where to start — meeting the right person could at the very least point you in the right direction. The right person could reveal the ladder for the veteran to begin to climb.

But who is the right person?

American Corporate Partners (ACP) has made it their mission to connect veterans with powerful men and women of all industries who want to give back. This isn’t some phone number referral service — they set up a mentorship program with these industry experts. A 1 on 1 relationship with a big name in say, the world of journalism, could mean all the difference in the life of an aspiring journalist. ACP’s Director of Citizens Mentoring Program, Tim Cochrane, told SOFREP that “Our entire program is based on meaningful employment.”

In short: they find you a mentor who can show you the ropes.

ACP is partners with a long list of big name companies and leaders within them. These names include, but are certainly not limited to, Visa, USAA, Wells Fargo, Johnson & Johnson, 21st Century Fox, CBS, Bloomberg, The Coca-Cola Company, John Deere, Harvard University, Home Depot, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, UPS, Morgan Stanley and more. They started with Pepsi and now work with 71 Fortune 500 companies.

These companies aren’t taking on veterans simply out of charity — they legitimately want them on the team. “Companies want to hire veterans, and yet 60 percent of vets leave their first job within a year. Over 80 percent leave within two years. Our ACP Survey: More than 80 percent who obtained jobs while working with a mentor are still at the same company one year later.”

Cochrane recalls being in the same position as many of today’s veterans. He was a United States Marine — a mine detector repairman out of Guantanamo, Cuba. He told SOFREP that he went to 30 interviews before another former Marine interviewed him, who worked at the New York Stock Exchange. Because of that single connection, Cochrane went on to excel for 30 years in the Stock Exchange. “If someone hadn’t opened up that door for me, what would I have wound up as?”