By Career Education Colleges and Universities
As veterans choose to build upon and pursue a career beyond their military service, the nation’s postsecondary career colleges and universities are a natural partner. Our schools offer focused academic programs – usually one course at a time for longer periods than a traditional college. Many veterans use their GI benefits, which is an earned benefit through service in our nation’s military, to be part of our programs because they enable them to complete their studies in the quickest possible time moving from the battlefield to their new career.
Since our schools focus on skill-based education, veterans can gain the skills they need to be competitive applicants to work in high-demand jobs. By 2026, the Department of Labor projects America will need 36.5 million new career professionals. They also foresee that 65 percent of all jobs and 85 percent of all new jobs will require some level of post-high-school education. Veterans are a big part of the career professionals our country needs now and even more in the upcoming years.
They thrive in education programs that cater to their skills and lifestyle, like those offered at career colleges. In fact, Gallup recently conducted a national survey of student satisfaction in our schools, and 76 percent of veterans told them their degree/certificate was directly related to their work. They also experienced a 39 percent increase in their annual income compared to their income before attending our schools.
The nation’s postsecondary career colleges and universities are proud to serve our nation’s veterans. Our schools take this task seriously because we honor and value their public service. We seek to assist them in providing the best possible bridge from military service to the professional career of their choice.
Take, for instance, the story of Patrick L. Garduno in Virginia Beach, VA, who stated in his own words the value of the education he received:
“I was not looking forward to attending traditional college when I retired from the military; my past experiences left me frustrated and taken advantage of. Traditional colleges always left me feeling lost, as if I was a number, and getting the classes I needed was a frustrating process. With ECPI, I can say ‘They just get it!’ They make going to school easy and enjoyable. The school is structured for you to succeed.”
With over 25 years of service to the U.S. military, James Watkins of Anchorage, Alaska, is another prime example of why many veterans need career education as a means to help them transition from military to civilian life:
“Institutions such as Charter College provide the flexibility, freedom, and convenience for working adults to work towards and obtain advanced/higher educational learning degrees with top-notch instructors that have real world experience and applicability to the respective courses that are taught enhances this learning experience. Furthermore, institutions such as Charter College allow completion of degrees in accelerated timeframes akin to traditional colleges of years past. The traditional colleges 4-year Bachelor degree programs and 2-year Associate degree programs of past years now predominantly take 5-years and 3-years respectively due to the availability of classes offered.”
Michael Gibson of DuBois, PA, is another prime example of a veteran who jumpstarted his career after the military:
“I served five years in the United States Army Infantry. After returning home and seeking employment, I found it difficult to find a good paying job. I left the military having few skills sets and not enough experience to start a good career. Triangle Tech has completely changed that!
I used my G.I. Bill benefits to complete a sixteen-month welding and fabrication program. In that short period, I was able to walk away with enough knowledge to easily start a successful lifetime career in the field of welding and fabrication. The G.I. Bill has opened many doors for me, and it’s made me more valuable to society. I’m sharing my experience with hopes that G.I. Bill benefits will continue to remain available for trade school students in the state of PA.”
Geoffrey Chatten, an Army combat veteran who studied at San Joaquin Valley College in Fresno, CA, explains how the program he attended led to a successful career:
“Upon completion of my contract with the Army, I returned home to attend multiple colleges for various majors, in addition to endless career changes. I was exploring options for a new start in life where I could use my hands again which is what led me to SJVC and their Aviation Maintenance program. I had, at this point, expended my G.I. bill but figured I would give it a shot.
The finance team stuck with me throughout my tenure and ensured my financial wellbeing. My teachers pushed me to go above and beyond and push out of my comfort zone day in and day out. They assured me I would be successful in the field if I kept my bearing and remembered what I learned. During one of the school’s employer presentations, which they provide often, I received a sense of direction. Following the presentation, I was able to secure an interview on the spot. I took a position working in Afghanistan with Columbia Helicopters on BV107 II helicopters. As soon as I completed testing, I started my position with the leading heavy-lift helicopter company in the world. I have even had the opportunity to work at the highest time airframe in the rotor world. None of this would have been possible without the opportunity I received at SJVC on their aviation campus.”
Daniel Mann, a veteran from Georgia, found his professional path at a career school following his time in the military. As he recounted his story, he said:
“The program is accelerated and provides the type of instruction that was very easy to adjust to. It even reminded me of accelerated military education training as I went through at times.
In the respiratory therapy program, several courses allow hands-on learning and the program staff prepared me for the clinical application of the skills learned. The clinical rotations were proof that my education and skills were on point. It also allowed for prospective employers to evaluate who I was as an individual and measure my knowledge and skills within the field. Those situations became a lengthy interview in many ways. It was a very educational and fulfilling program. Upon the completion of the program, I was offered two opportunities within respiratory care. I am very excited to be entering the medical field in my area of study. I could not have done this without the assistance and education that Stevens-Henager and the Respiratory Therapy team provided me. They are a great fit for transitioning military personnel. I am proud to say that I am a Stevens-Henager Alumni.”
Equally, Ruby Ward, a veteran alumni from Indiana, could find a job she loves thanks to her education at Lincoln Tech:
“Once I got out of the Navy after six years of being an electrician’s mate, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I decided to look into technical programs at surrounding schools and even toured a few. However, I did not receive a warmer welcome than from Lincoln Tech. The admissions representative answered all my questions and made the whole process quick and painless. I went from not knowing what I wanted to do, to starting school within a month of my tour. From the first day of class, I knew that I had made a great decision. The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and are eager to share that knowledge with the students. Their enthusiasm and wisdom made every experience a moment I learned from. Lincoln Tech helped me master the basic skills I learned previously and taught me so much more than I could have anticipated. I have now graduated with an associate degree and have a great job that I love.”
The reality is that our schools are working to empower American heroes who sacrificed for our country. Shaun Fitzpatrick, a U.S. Army veteran of 23 years who was declared 100 percent disabled, emphasized that he found a new life through his education:
“Besides physical ailments, I suffer from PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). My PTSD makes it hard for me to be around groups of people. I must be closest to the door. Sometimes I can react defensively. Loud noises will often trigger my anxiety. My TBI has made reading difficult. I must read things two or three times to retain the information. My short-term memory has been affected and I sometimes cannot come up with a word when talking.
I started school at Lincoln Tech’s Indianapolis campus in April of 2018. I was nervous and worried if I would be able to study and retain the information. I also didn’t know if people would understand my limitations due to my PTSD. Fortunately, Lincoln Tech instructors have been extremely understanding. The administration is in contact with the VA and keeps my information on file, so I can leave the room if needed, can use notes on tests, and I am allowed extra time if needed. I was offered a tutor, but refused, because I am determined to do this on my own.
The younger students call me ‘Papaw’ because I take them under my wing and try to teach them discipline and integrity. Many are now showing up on time because of me. They work harder in class and in the shop to improve their grades. I don’t let them make up excuses.
I have found purpose in my life again. No man wants to sit at home and feel useless. Lincoln Tech has increased my self-confidence and has given me a reason to get up in the morning. My PTSD and TBI are always going to be here, but Lincoln Tech has made my success possible.”
These are the stories of veterans who chose our nation’s postsecondary career schools, completed their academic courses and often their externships and are now moving forward to become a part of building America’s future and their family’s future.
Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) is a voluntary membership organization of accredited, postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities that provide career-specific educational programs. CECU has about 500 member campuses that educate and support millions of students for employment in over 200 occupational fields. CECU member institutions provide the full range of higher education programs, including masters and doctorate degrees, two- and four-year associate and baccalaureate degree programs, and short-term certificate and diploma programs.
CECU member institutions cover the full gamut of postsecondary education: from short-term certificate and diploma programs to two- and four-year associate and baccalaureate degrees, to masters and doctoral programs. Some of the occupational fields for which CECU institutions provide programs include information technology; allied health; business administration; commercial art; radio and television broadcasting; and culinary and hospitality management.
Most CECU member institutions participate in federal student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. In order to participate, they must be licensed by the state in which they are located, accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body, and approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Many CECU member schools and colleges also participate in other federal, state and local education and workforce training programs.
Contact Information: Kelley Blanchard // Vice President of Professional Development // Career Education Colleges and Universities // 571-970-6471 // firstname.lastname@example.org // https://www.career.org/ // https://twitter.com/CECUed // https://www.linkedin.com/company/association-of-private-sector-colleges-and-universities/about/