AUSTIN (KXAN) — Women are the fastest-growing group in the veteran population. By 2040, they’re expected to make up almost 18% of all veterans. 

Although transitioning to civilian life can be tough for any vet, research from Syracuse University in 2020 found 54% of female veterans didn’t feel prepared to navigate the available resources in their community. That’s compared to 35% of their male counterparts responding. 

In 2021, the Warrior Women Project also found among female veterans mental health was a top concern, followed by financial stress and finding employment after years of service. 

This type of help is where Dress for Success comes into play for local veterans. The nonprofit partners with the Texas Veterans Commission to host events to empower vets who’ve risked their lives for our country. 

These women are provided a wide array of free services like new clothes, makeup, hair and headshots. The goal is to help them successfully start their careers outside of the Armed Forces. 

The National Veterans’ Training Institute said more than half of female veterans aren’t aware of the resources available to them in the community. 

One Army vet we spoke to said this workshop changed how she saw herself. 

“It gives us kind of like a new perspective of ourselves, you know, out of uniform, like, looking like other civilians,” said veteran Desirae Salmo.

“As we know, there is a gap in services in the civilian world as well as the military world, and a lot of times military women don’t know where to reach out to receive those services,” said Candy Cantrell with Dress for Success.

Along with the free services, the women are able to gather together to network along with being offered goal-setting workshops. 

Dress for Success Austin holds these workshops for female veterans four times a year.