By Pat Roe, Senior Program Director, USA Funds
Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, the federal holiday set aside to thank the men and women who have protected all of us through their service in the Armed Forces.
I believe that one of the best ways to thank veterans and returning servicemembers is to connect them to the education and training that will hasten their re-entry into the civilian workforce and help them advance their careers when they have hung up their uniforms.
As part of our efforts to promote Completion With a Purpose℠, supporting student success in college and careers, USA Funds® places a special focus on veterans of military service and their families. We believe military families deserve this special focus, given the service they have unselfishly performed to protect our freedoms.
USA Funds supports several initiatives to help veterans and their families along the path through education and training to better career opportunities. I believe support of these projects can be an excellent way for others to say thank you to current and former members of the Armed Forces.
Prior Learning Assessment. By validating their prior learning and experience, veterans can shorten the path to a degree or certificate, increase their college completion rates, and improve their employment opportunities. USA Funds is helping the Montana University System expand Prior Learning Assessment opportunities for veterans. Research shows that graduation rates are two and a half times higher for students with Prior Learning Assessment credits than for those without. In addition, adult students who earned 15 or more credits through Prior Learning Assessment applied to a degree saved between $1,600 and $6,000 on tuition costs.
Legislative and Policy Changes. Changes in federal and state legislation, as well as higher education, occupational licensing and other agency policies and practices can help accelerate former servicemembers’ re-entry into the civilian workforce. USA Funds is supporting a 13-state collaborative effort through the Midwestern Higher Education Compact to smooth the pathway through education to employment for military veterans and their families.
Scholarship Support. Military service often means financial sacrifice for servicemembers and their families. That’s why scholarship support through organizations like ThanksUSA to the children and spouses of servicemembers can make a real difference in helping them realize their education and career goals.
Career Connections. Government reports show that, on average, post-9/11 veterans are actually doing well in leveraging the experience they gained through their military service into employment. Their personal income levels are comparable to or even better than the average for the non-veteran population. But servicemembers who return with injuries from their military experience face additional obstacles to connecting to the workforce. That’s why support of organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and its education, training and career assistance services can provide a vital link to better opportunities for these vets.
Education is a gift whose benefits often extend over a lifetime, and I think it’s a great way to say thanks to our veterans.