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Memo from a Leatherneck Nearing the end of my active duty service, my mind gravitated to confidently overtaking the civilian sector during my TAPS (Transition Assistance Program) class. TAPS is a program that helps Marines acclimate in to civilian life. Six months of looking for a job with no takers and 14 resume revisions, put me in my place.

H

owever, through some keenly strategized interviews, I was eventually able to snag a security administrator position with the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm, keeping me in the field I know best: security. Through the years I worked in lonely SCIFs and later became a Contract Special Security Officer and Facility Security Officer with Rincon Research Corporation. I had built a distinguished rapport in the northern Virginia and DC area. Though the jobs were excellent and I truly loved the security industry, I wanted to move back to my childhood home in southern Kentucky. However, SCIFs and agencies aren’t quite as prevalent in a small rural area, so I hatched the idea to start my own business.

Now It’s About

As I drudged through school websites with business programs to utilize my Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, my mother one day brought to my attention Lockmasters Security Institute. My area didn’t have a local locksmith so the market was wide open for the venture. I can only assume the sound proofing material in my secured area functioned correctly, because no one from adjacent floors complained about hooting and celebrative OORAH’s coursing through my SCIF. My excitement and anxiety only intensified after a phone call to the school’s director, Deanna DeBorde. She confirmed that my Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits were an approved payment method for my tuition.

Your Future.

With a packed-to-capacity UHAUL truck and a 13 hour drive, my thoughts often tracked around the lingering question; “Can this school really properly equip me with the skills I need for the locksmith trade?” We offer a variety of hands-on technical training courses that On October 24, 2011, my 28th birthday, I walked into the will give you real world experience in a short time period. A Professional Locksmithing class for the first time number of our courses are approved for enrollment of veterans, with very little knowledge of locking systems, reservists, service persons, and other eligible persons under the period. By the end of the 2 week course I was provisions of Chapters 30, 32, 33 and 35 GI Bill. picking (or at least attempting) every lock I could get my hands on. I was instantly addicted AVAILABLE COURSES GSA Authorized Safe & Vault Technician & Inspector and even more intrigued by the Lockmasters Professional Locksmithing I & II • Tactical Entry Level 1 organization. It didn’t take long before I had Comprehensive Security Specialist Training taken almost every course in the catalog. ProAccess Control Technician • Kaba X-Lock Certifications lock, Pro-lock 2, Emergency Vehicle Opening, Physical Security SCIF Construction Safe Deposit, Safe Penetration, Access Control, LKM7000 Lock Series Certification Safe Lock Servicing, Safe Lock Manipulation, Mechanical & Electronic Safe Lock Servicing Tactical Entry, GSA Technician and Inspector Professional Safe Lock Opening • Combination Lock Manipulation

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Now It’s About

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GSA Authorized Safe & Vault Technician & Inspector Professional Locksmithing I & II • Tactical Entry Level 1 Comprehensive Security Specialist Training Access Control Technician • Kaba X-Lock Certifications Physical Security SCIF Construction LKM7000 Lock Series Certification Mechanical & Electronic Safe Lock Servicing Professional Safe Lock Opening • Combination Lock Manipulation Safe Deposit Lock Servicing

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Certification, X-09 Certification, S&G 2740 Certification… I was on a mission. But HERE is the magic. I started passing out business cards to every business that would take one and essentially handed out over 500 business cards in a single week; and calls started coming in. First with lock outs and general rekeys for residences and businesses. I can still remember the first safe I manipulated was a Sentry straight tail piece almost identical to the one covered in class. My amazement was that I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING! Most everything I got a call for, I had the direct knowledge. I was also invited to contact the instructors if I had a problem for advice while in the field. I had the skills and the resources I needed to not just do the job, but to excel in the market. So from time to time new/prospective students will ask the question, “Can this school really properly equip me with the skills I need for the locksmith trade?” I can only smile when I respond to that question in an email knowing that they will see my signature block at the bottom. Semper Fidelis, Brandon K. Powell Owner/Operator-The Leatherneck Locksmith Content provided by LOCKMASTERS.

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A HEART TO SERVE Heidi Stahl needed a new job, but as the mother of two Heidi Stahl needed a new job, but as the mother of two small children and the sole caregiver of her disabled small children and the sole caregiver of her disabled veteran husband, she knew it couldn’t be just any job. veteran husband, she knew it couldn’t be just any job. “I was suffering from secondary PTSD and I needed the “I was suffering from secondary PTSD and I needed the flexibility to set my own schedule and still earn a lot of flexibility to set my own schedule and still earn a lot of money,” she said. “If my husband passes away we lose money,” she said. “If my husband passes away we lose our disability benefits. It was a struggle because of how our disability benefits. It was a struggle because of how dependent we were on them.” dependent we were on them.” Justin Stahl, Reservist, Papa Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Justin Reservist, Papa Battery,disabled 5th Battalion, MarineStahl, Regiment is a permanently veteran 14th who Marine Regiment is a permanently disabled veteran suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who the suffers fromofpost disorder (PTSD),case, the symptoms whichtraumatic are easily stress triggered and in Justin’s symptoms of which arememory easily triggered in Justin’s case, include flashbacks, problems,and detachment, sleep include flashbacks, memory problems, detachment, sleep disturbances, hypervigilance and anxiety. Heidi and Justin disturbances, and home anxiety. and of Justin met in 2006,hypervigilance after he returned fromHeidi the first two met in 2006, after he They returned home fromand thesoon first became of two deployments to Iraq. married in 2009 deployments to Iraq. parents to Liam and They Olivia.married in 2009 and soon became parents to Liam and Olivia. When Heidi and Justin bought their second home in 2015, they Heidi met Nicole Jones,bought the listing on the transaction When and Justin theiragent second home in 2015, andmet an Associate Broker with EXITagent Realtyon Bitterroot Valley in they Nicole Jones, the listing the transaction Hamilton, Montana. “I was the lookout for the right career. and an Associate Broker withonEXIT Realty Bitterroot Valley in Nicole really had her act together. She was around my age Hamilton, Montana. “I was on the lookout for the right career. and had a young daughter; signs that I could my do age this Nicole really had her act together. Shemaybe was around job, too. But before I took the real estate course I wanted to and had a young daughter; signs that maybe I could do this interview brokers I wanted direction and purpose.” job, too. But beforebecause I took the real estate course I wanted to 6 MERG Fall 2018 interview brokers because I wanted direction and purpose.”

Heidi was referred to the owner of a company which promised Heidi was referred to the owner of a company which promised many leads. “I shared that I wanted to focus on giving back many leads. “I shared that I wanted to focus on giving back to my military community; I didn’t know how but it was my to my military community; I didn’t know how but it was my passion and I wanted to make an impact. The owner told me passion and I wanted to make an impact. The owner told me they already had an agent who specialized in working with they already had an agent who specialized in working with military buyers and refused to consider signing another. His military buyers and refused to consider signing another. His attitude was cold and unwelcoming.” attitude was cold and unwelcoming.” Heidi remembered that Nicole worked for EXIT Realty, so she Heidi remembered thatMax Nicole workedBroker/Owner for EXIT Realty, she arranged to meet with Coleman, of so EXIT arranged to meet with Max Coleman, Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty Bitterroot Valley. Max and his wife, Tina Coleman, are Realty Valley. Max andRealty his wife, Tina Coleman, also theBitterroot Regional Owners of EXIT Montana. “EXIT wasare also theon Regional Owners of EXIT Realty Montana. “EXIT was always my mind and I knew I had to see what they were always Max on my mind I knew I had thrilled to see to what they were about. and Tinaand were genuinely hear about about. Max for and Tina were genuinely thrilled hearwould about my passion serving military families and saidtothey my passion for serving military families and said they would support me in my cause, whatever that may be.” support me in my cause, whatever that may be.” Heidi became licensed, joined EXIT in 2016 and quickly Heidi became licensed, EXIT inmore 2016 and quickly launched her successful realjoined estate career, than doubling her sales in 2017. She now ranks among the top agents in her launched her successful real estate career, more than doubling office andinbelieves thatnow her ranks careeramong in real the estate in in her her sales 2017. She tophelps agents her battle PTSD, to control office with and secondary believes that herallows careerher in the realflexibility estate helps in her her schedule and provides opportunity to build financial battle with secondary PTSD,the allows her the flexibility to control freedom. her schedule and provides the opportunity to build financial freedom. Heidi’s personal experience gives her a heart to serve. She obtained the experience Military Relocation Heidi’s personal gives herProfessional a heart to(MRP) serve.

She obtained the Military Relocation Professional (MRP)


certification through the National Association of REALTORS®. Heidi understands VA loans and benefits and has built an extensive network of veteran-owned businesses, assistance networks and services. “Simply put, I speak VA,” she says.

expecting fierce competition and what I got instead are friends and a family. My life has challenges between being a mom and a caregiver and if my husband is triggered, I can’t always meet the demands of my career. I know there will always be another EXIT agent willing to step in and help.”

HEIDI’S CAREER IN REAL ESTATE HELPS IN HER BATTLE WITH SECONDARY PTSD, ALLOWS HER THE FLEXIBILITY TO CONTROL HER SCHEDULE AND PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD FINANCIAL FREEDOM.”

Recently, Heidi worked with a client who was referred through her veteran connections. “He has PTSD. He was agitated and hypervigilant. He didn’t trust anyone, but he learned he could trust me,” she said. “The real estate transaction process can be stressful for anybody, but he was easily irritated, and the whole process caused him a lot of anxiety. Because of the lessons I’ve learned as my husband’s caregiver, I was able to safely, effectively, and with as little stress as possible, successfully guide him through his purchase.”

EXIT’s unique business model provides the opportunity for agents to benefit financially by earning single-level residual income in addition to their commission for helping to grow the company. “I’ve introduced two agents to EXIT who will be starting soon, one here in Missoula, Montana and another in Huntsville, Alabama. Both are young mothers, and both are

Heidi is especially proud of winning her battle against an unjust VA appraisal. “My client was a disabled veteran with a prosthetic leg. It can be challenging to find a handicappedaccessible home in a low price range that is VA financeable, but we found the perfect house for him. The appraisal came back more than $40,000 too low. My client’s lender told me that VA appraisal reconsiderations are seldom successful and that I should give up hope. I spent hours breaking down the statistics on the comparable properties the appraiser used and submitted a consideration for an appraisal that was fair and just. The new lender said yes, and we won!” Heidi credits much of her success to EXIT’s culture. “Max and Tina not only support my passion, but they said we are a family and they would be there for me every step of the way. That is true,” she said.

I WAS EXPECTING FIERCE COMPETITION AND WHAT I GOT INSTEAD ARE FRIENDS AND A FAMILY.”

EXIT, a real estate franchisor with brokerage locations across the U.S. and Canada, is a by-invitation-only company and because of this, everyone has a vested interested in its growth. As a result, EXIT agents enjoy a spirit of mentorship and encourage one another much like a family. “Nicole, who was the selling agent on my house, is now my mentor and her mentorship is irreplaceable,” says Heidi. “I was

veterans’ wives. They know I attribute my success to EXIT and they are excited for my mentorship when they join our EXIT family.”

www.joinexitrealty.com

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MILITARY EDUCATION RESOURCE GUIDE 32

Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty: The facts

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Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve: The facts

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Yellow Ribbon Program: How to use it

Post-9/11 GI Bill: The basics

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VA Work-Study Program: Earn while you learn

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Post-9/11 GI Bill: How to use it

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Fully Developed Claim: How to file

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Post-9/11 GI Bill: Benefits

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs

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Under Secretary for Benefits

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VA benefits: How to maximize them

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Robert Wilkie

Paul R. Lawrence

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FRANCHISE GUIDE 42

Ready to be your own boss? Check in with some veterans who jumped boots-first into franchising. By Bryan Mitchell

46

Franchising: The basics

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Opening a franchise: What’s involved?

50

Franchising: The economic outlook

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Franchise Financing: An SBA guide

LOUDER THAN WORDS 82

Final Frame

ON THE COVER

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs ROBERT WILKIE THE HONORABLE ROBERT WILKIE WAS NAMED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP TO SERVE AS SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND WAS CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE ON JULY 23, 2018.

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obert Wilkie was the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Mr. Wilkie was the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; health affairs; training; and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families. The son of an Army artillery commander he spent his youth at Fort Bragg. He has more than 20 years of experience at the national and international level. During the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. Wilkie served both Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld as Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009, and was the youngest senior leader in the Department. Prior to his first Pentagon tour, he was Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and a senior director of the National Security Council under Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Wilkie also has extensive experience in the United States Congress including recent service as Senior Advisor to Senator Thom Tillis as well as being Counsel and Advisor on International Security Affairs to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Honorable Trent Lott. He had a five-year tour as Vice President for Strategic Programs for CH2M HILL one of the world’s largest engineering and program management firms, where at various times he had program management and advisory assignments as diverse as the London 2012 and the reform and reorganization of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Supply and Logistics System (DE&S).

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Discover the Value Veterans with Disabilities Bring to the Workforce and Bottom Line America’s veterans answered the call of duty, and many sacrificed in return. Now, more and more employers–both large and small–are stepping up to repay their sacrifice, at least in some small measure, by hiring veterans with disabilities. And in return their organization gets a loyal, team-oriented employee with job-ready skills.

credits and other supports available for employers, as well as numerous informative resources from the Departments of Labor, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Nearly 4 million veterans have a service-connected disability and are among the most resilient members of society. Therefore, it should go without saying that no veteran entering the workforce should ever fear discrimination. But recent research suggests a different reality. The Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation found approximately 57 percent of veterans with disabilities entering the civilian workforce feared discrimination. And 45 percent of employers surveyed, as part of research conducted by DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and Monster, feel their work environment is not appropriate for veterans with disabilities, while 30 percent openly expressed concerns about veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Many employers don’t realize that when you hire veterans, they often come with a built-in set of benefits. Thanks to their military service, these benefits can include education, job training and medical benefits,” said Marc Burgess, DAV CEO. The fact is, disabled veterans are a valuable addition to any workplace thanks to their unique experiences and skill sets. To support employers, dispel myths and demonstrate the business case for hiring veterans with disabilities, DAV developed The Veteran Advantage: Guide to Hiring and Retaining Veterans with Disabilities. The first of its kind, the guide is being released this October in conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The free, comprehensive guide is the result of more than four years of study about what the veteran community contributes to the workforce and how hiring veterans, especially disabled veterans, can positively impact a company’s bottom line. The 36-page publication features best practices for recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans with disabilities, with a comprehensive checklist to guide employers through each process. Also, the guide explains the financial incentives, tax

“Many employers don’t realize that when you hire veterans, they often come with a built-in set of benefits. Thanks to their military service, these benefits can include education, job training and medical benefits,” said Marc Burgess, DAV CEO. The guide also contains rich testimonials of veterans once seeking employment and now thriving in successful careers, as well as informative case studies from employers who successfully employ disabled veterans. The insights and examples from companies that have incorporated veteran hiring best practices into their hiring and retention strategies are invaluable. As an example, Rob Ells, manager of the Roush Enterprises Veterans Initiative Program, discusses how veterans strengthen corporate culture. And Comcast NBCUniversal’s Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs, shares critical tips to kick-start veteran hiring programs. DAV is working with a number of corporate partners including First Data and USAA, to help disseminate the guide. These organizations are not only sharing helpful practices with their internal human resource and hiring teams, they are reaching out to fellow industry leaders interested in hiring disabled veterans. It’s time more hiring managers, business owners and leaders in the corporate community better understand that the nearly 4 million veterans with service-connected disabilities can be some of the most capable, driven and resilient employees on their team. Download the free guide at DAV.org/veterans/employment-resources.

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs ROBERT WILKIE continued

Mr. Wilkie is a reserve officer in the United States Air Force Reserve assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Air Force, he served in the United States Navy Reserve with the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, Naval Special Warfare Group Two and the Office of Naval Intelligence. A graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff, Air Command and Staff College, the United States Army War College, and the Joint Forces Staff College, Mr. Wilkie has published articles in the Naval War College Review, Parameters, Armed Forces Journal International, The Air and Space Power Journal and Proceedings. He holds personal and unit decorations as well as the Defense Distinguished

Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Department. Mr. Wilkie also shepherded the Senate confirmation process for James Mattis, Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen (CJCS) and was responsible for the preparation of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Croker for their multiple appearances before the Congress in defense of the Iraqi Surge. Mr. Wilkie holds an Honors degree from Wake Forest University; Juris Doctor from Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans; Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

U.S. Marine Corps photo/Dallas Johnson

Honorable Robert Wilkie, former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, speaks to a gathering of service members from each military branch about the importance of family readiness at the 2017 Department of Defense Family Readiness Award, at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, Arlington, Virginia, March 23, 2018.

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Sam Johnson

A VETERAN HIRED IS A VICTORY FOR AMERICA. Join DAV on the forefront of veteran-hiring and retention initatives. Through their service to country, veterans have acquired skills and abilities prized in any workplace. As one of the nation’s largest nonprofit veterans service organizations, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) works to ensure veterans, including those with disabilities, can find meaningful employment. Employers can count on DAV for resources and best practices to hire veterans, career fairs and more. Join the many employers stepping up to repay some part of our veterans’ sacrifice. And join us in supporting more Victories for Veterans.®

THE VETERAN ADVANTAGE: DAV Guide to Hiring & Retaining Veterans with Disabilities provides a wealth of information to reduce barriers to hiring and promote job satisfaction, productivity and retention. It’s the perfect roadmap for any veteran-hiring initiative.

Download FREE at DAV.org/veterans/employment-resources

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Under Secretary for Benefits PAUL R. LAWRENCE

P

aul R. Lawrence is a Vice President for the Kaiser Associates Public Sector Practice. He joined the firm in 2016 and is based in Washington, DC.

Paul helps government leaders address their challenges by developing and then implementing unique solutions. He focuses on increasing organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Paul has 30 years of experience working closely with federal government leaders. He has researched and written extensively on management and government. He is the co-author of multiple books about managing the federal government including Succeeding as a Political Executive: 50 Insights from Experience; What Government Does: How Political Executives Manage; and Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government. Paul earned his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Economics from Virginia Tech. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Paul also served in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Captain. He graduated from the Army’s Airborne School and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

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Ocean Corporation 2015_Layout 1 11/6/14 4:46 PM Page 1

Internationally Recognized Certifications POST 9/11 GI BILL ACCEPTED CLASSES START EVERY FIVE WEEKS

Proudly training men and women for exciting new careers since 1969. • Post 9/11 GI Bill Accepted • Financial Aid for Those Who Qualify • Job Placement Assistance for Graduates • Internationally Recognized Certification Program Students train at The Ocean Corporation to become commercial divers and industrial NDI inspectors. We have been in the business for over 40 years and we know the “nuts and bolts” of both industries.

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Our hands-on training takes less than 8 months to complete and will give you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed. We invite you to visit our website or call one of our admissions representatives to explore what an education from The Ocean Corporation can do for you. Fall 2018 MERG 19


HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VA BENEFITS

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f you’re new to VA, it can be overwhelming to sift through all of the benefits and services offered and choose which ones are best for you and your family. Here is a quick “how to” guide for VA benefits. VA benefits can be split into two general categories – health care and non-medical benefits like compensation, education and home loans. If you served on active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Post-9/11 Combat Veterans (OEF/OIF/OND) are eligible for five years of cost-free care for illness and injury related to service and onetime dental care. The second category, non-medical VA benefits, is broken into six areas: Compensation, Education, Home Loans, Insurance, Pension & Fiduciary; and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment.

COMPENSATION

VA’s disability claims process is currently undergoing a major transformation, including the creation of more than 40 new initiatives designed to decrease processing time and increase accuracy and service for service members, veterans, their families and survivors. VA is moving toward an electronic, rather than a paperbased, system and toward the goal of eliminating the veterans disability claims backlog and improving rating accuracy to 98% in 2015. The new Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program is now the fastest way to get your compensation or pension claim processed.

EDUCATION

Many service members choose to use VA’s education benefits shortly after leaving service or pass the benefits to family members. In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers financial assistance for a variety of training programs, including: vocational/technical, on-the-job, flight and licensing/ certification programs. In addition to tuition and fees, veterans may qualify for a monthly housing allowance and book stipend. The Vet Success on Campus program on school campuses

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across the country helps connect veterans with other student veterans and a variety of VA services, including free tutoring. VA’s Veterans Retraining and Assistance Program (VRAP) offers 12 months of training to unemployed veterans 35 to 60 years old.

HOME LOANS

Another frequently used VA benefit is the guaranteed home loan and refinancing assistance. VA also offers special grants for disabled veterans to adapt and acquire housing suitable for their needs.

INSURANCE

Service Members and Veterans Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage recipients have two options available to them upon release from service: converting to the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program or a permanent plan with one of the participating commercial insurance companies.

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AND EMPLOYMENT

VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program assists veterans with serviceconnected disabilities to prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. Benefits include vocational counseling, on the job training and apprenticeships. More information on all of VA’s benefits and services can be found at www.va.gov. Content provided by the VA.


“I

FOUND ANOTHER WAY TO SERVE. THAT WAS MY MOMENT.” Scott Green Undergraduate Cybersecurity Student

PROGRAMS IN HIGH-DEMAND FIELDS After serving two tours and returning home, Scott experienced his Moment when he found a passion for cybersecurity and another way to serve his country. Now he’s learning to protect and defend information systems in local and broad-based domains. UMUC can help you transition to a post-military career in a high-demand field with • Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity, information technology, business and management, public safety and more • Up to 90 credits for prior college, work and military experience, saving you time and money • Online classes and more than 140 classroom and service locations, including military installations throughout the world Ranked the No. 1 University for Veterans in 2015.*

Visit military.umuc.edu/education to learn more. *Military Times ranked UMUC No. 1 in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 annual survey of online and nontraditional colleges and universities.

Copyright © 2016 University of Maryland University College

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BECOME SKILLED, EMPLOYABLE AND IN-DEMAND! Aviation Maintenance & Electronics Technicians Transitioning with PIA, your new career is right on the horizon.

PIA Ranks #11 in Top 30 Two-Year Trade Schools in the nation.

PIA is a partner school with Delta TechOps to help fill the Technician demand.

118,000 New Technicians needed in North America by 2035. The Boeing Company’s 2016 Pilot and Technician Outlook projection.

Industry Options & Salary1 Outlook Aircraft and Avionics Mechanics and Technicians..................................... $60,270 Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers.......................... $55,920 Wind Turbine Technicians........................................................... $52,260 Industrial Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers $49,100 Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics.......... $45,170 Automotive Technicians and Mechanics. $38,470 Small Engine Mechanics.......... $35,280 1 Median wage data based on December 17, 2015 Publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/home.htm

School for Aviation Maintenance & Electronics Pittsburgh, PA • Hagerstown, MD • Myrtle Beach, SC • Youngstown, OH 22 MERG Fall 2018

pia.edu • 800.444.1440


ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Automotive to Aviation Grant Long

PIA 2014 ......... Hagerstown Branch Campus, MD Program .......... Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) Length ............. 16 Months Employment ... United States Army Position........... Blackhawk Crew Chief Becoming a solider has been a longtime dream for PIA-Hagerstown graduate, Grant Long. However, after a knee injury that required surgery, Grant’s dream seemed out of reach. As a native to Washington County, Maryland, Grant’s father first learned about PIA.

“I will admit I was unsure about aviation at first, but after the first few months, PIA showed me my passion for aviation that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I love it.”

“I knew I was interested in mechanics, and I liked working on cars, so I came to an open house with my dad,” Grant said. “I will admit I was unsure about aviation at first, but after the first few months, PIA showed me my passion for aviation that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I love it.”

Today, Grant is a United States Army Blackhawk Crew Chief. “The Army saw something in me,” Grant said. “I couldn’t join before, but with my PIA work, they wanted me. I was sworn in three months before graduating, and then three weeks later, I left for boot camp.” Armed with his FAA Airframe & Powerplant License, Grant went to four months of Army Blackhawk training school, which he found “significantly easier than PIA.” It was Grant’s 16 months of aviation maintenance training at PIA-Hagerstown that prepared him for his military career. Grant jumped right into his first assignment maintaining Blackhawk helicopters in South Korea for a year. After just five months, he was promoted to Crew Chief, a position of great responsibility, where Grant had in-flight duties in the back seat. As a Blackhawk Crew Chief, Grant was still a part of the maintenance team, but he was also responsible for

School for Aviation Maintenance & Electronics

anyone in or around his aircraft. Duties range from everything to navigation, to combat, to supervisory roles. “I had no idea I wanted to work on Blackhawks when I enlisted. I was prepared to do any aviation job the Army had for me. There were eight or nine options… in my opinion, I got the best one,” Grant said. “I got really lucky.” Grant graduated in December of 2014 in a class of 21 students. He was comfortable with automotive repair, but he wasn’t familiar with some of the shop work at PIA, such as electricity, airframe, and sheet metal. PIA doesn’t require prior experience in aviation or mechanics, so Grant was able to learn everything from the ground up. To this day, Grant is appreciative of his father introducing him to PIA. His father said, “Taking Grant to the Hagerstown open house was one of the best decisions I made for him because he committed to the school. As I have told many, I never paid PIA for Grant's education. Instead, I invested in Grant through PIA. I will be forever grateful to his classmates and instructors. What an awesome, awesome place!”

800.444.1440

PIA.edu Fall 2018 MERG 23


WE ASPIRE.

TRANSFORMING EDUCATION. ADVANCING CARE. TOUCHING LIVES. When Roseman University of Health Sciences was founded in Henderson, NV in 1999 and South Jordan, UT in 2005 as a College of Pharmacy, the university aspired to positively impact healthcare in the region. After more than a decade of remarkable growth, Roseman is strengthening its commitment as a transforming force in vital areas of health care education.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS COLLEGE OF MEDICINE Doctor of Medicine (Nevada - Currently in Development) MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

COLLEGE OF PHARMACY Doctor of Pharmacy (Nevada & Utah) Professional Continuing Education (Nevada & Utah)

RESEARCH PROGRAMS Diabetes & Obesity | Cancer Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Diseases Cardiovascular Disease | Adult Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine

COLLEGE OF NURSING Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Nevada & Utah) Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Nevada & Utah)

COLLEGE OF DENTAL MEDICINE AEODO/MBA Residency (Nevada) Doctor of Dental Medicine (Utah)

PATIENT CARE

Orthodontic Clinic (Nevada) Dental Clinic (Utah) Community Outreach for Health

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roseman.edu

ROSEMAN UNIVERSITY IS A PRIVATE, 501(C)3 NON-PROFIT UNIVERSITY. REGIONALLY ACCREDITED BY THE NORTHWEST COMMISSION ON COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.


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THE POST-9/11 GI BILL

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he Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after Sept. 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a serviceconnected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Here is some basic information on eligibility and other questions about the bill. Am I eligible? You may be eligible if you served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, or were honorably discharged from active duty for a serviceconnected disability after serving 30 continuous days following September 10, 2001.

What kind of training can I take? You can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill at colleges, universities, trade schools, and for on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and light schools. To see what programs are currently approved for VA benefits, go to www.gibill.va.gov. You can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for tutorial assistance, licensing (attorney license, cosmetology license, etc.) and certification tests (SAT, LSAT, etc.). Note: If the program you are interested in isn’t on the GI Bill website, contact your State Approving Agency (list available on www.gibill.va.gov) to see if it can be approved. Can I transfer my entitlement to my dependents?

Note: Children of a member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, may be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits under the Marine Gunnery John David Fry Scholarship Program.

You must be a member of the uniformed services to transfer your unused benefits to your spouse or dependent(s). Generally, you must agree to serve four more years when transferring benefits.

What will I receive?

What Is the Yellow Ribbon program?

You may receive a percentage of the following payments:

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover all in-state tuition and fees at public degree-granting schools, but may not cover all private degree-granting schools and out-ofstate tuition. The Yellow Ribbon program provides additional support in those situations.

— A Tuition and Fee payment that is paid to your school on your behalf. — A Books and Supplies Stipend of up to $1,000 per year. — A Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)** that is equal to: • The basic allowance for housing (BAH)payable for the zip code of your school to a military E-5 with dependents for students pursuing resident training. • one-half the BAH national average for students training solely by distance learning. • the national average BAH for students pursuing training at foreign schools. **The MHA is not payable to individuals on active duty or those enrolled at half time or less. How many months of assistance can I receive and how long am I eligible? Generally, you may receive up to 36 months of entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You will be eligible for benefits for 15 years from your last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.

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Institutions voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund uncovered charges. VA matches each dollar of unmet charges the institution agrees to contribute, up to the total cost of the tuition and fees. Content provided by the VA.


POST-9/11 GI BILL: HOW TO USE IT

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he Post-9/11 GI Bill, enacted in 2008, is the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. Just as the original GI Bill allowed veterans to take their educational opportunities and leverage them for breakthroughs in automation, business, medicine, science, transportation and technology, today’s Post-9/11 GI Bill provides veterans with the tools that will help them contribute to an economically strong, vibrant and resilient America.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a comprehensive education benefit, paying tuition and fees on behalf of veterans or eligible dependents directly to the schools in which they are enrolled. Eligible participants also receive a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 annually for books and supplies. GI Bill benefits are tiered based on the number of days served on active duty, giving activated National Guard and Reserve members the same benefits as those on active duty. VA is committed to ensuring all service members, veterans, and family members eligible for the benefit receive a useful education without the burden of substantial student loan debt as they readjust to civilian life. As of July 9, 2013, VA has issued over $30 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to approximately 992,000 individuals and their educational institutions. Executive Order 13607 directs VA, the Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of Education, with help from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to develop and implement “Principles of Excellence” to strengthen oversight, enforcement and accountability within veteran and military educational benefit programs.

Schools agreeing to comply with the principles will: • Provide all military and veteran students with a personalized form covering the total cost of the educational program, pre-enrollment program costs, student debt estimates, and financial aid options. • Provide an educational plan for all military and veteran students. • Accommodate service members and reservists who are absent due to service requirements. • Designate points of contact for academic and financial advising • Ensure accreditation of all new programs prior to enrolling students. Participating schools also agree to have tuition refund policies similar to schools receiving Title IV funding. This means that service members, reservists and family members who stop attending school due to service obligations will be entitled to a prorated tuition refund based upon the day the student stops attending. To date, over 6,000 schools have agreed to adhere to the Principles of Excellence. VA has made it easy to identify participating schools by setting up a map on the GI Bill website to help find schools near you. Additional tools for student veterans can be found at www.gibill.va.gov. Content provided by the VA.

The Principles of Excellence are a set of guidelines with which institutions receiving federal funding agree to comply. The principles were designed to help ensure that students are given the right tools to assist them in making informed decisions when choosing a school. The principles also seek to help protect veterans, service members, and their families from aggressive and deceptive marketing tactics.

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PHOTO: Lt. Staff Sgt. Charles Stefan

A U.S. Army Soldier examines the head of the python they are preparing to cook at the survival portion of Jungle Warfare School, Achiase Military Base, Akim Achiase, Ghana.

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HOW TO USE YOUR POST-9/11 GI BILL BENEFITS

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pproved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, onthe-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits. This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits, generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty. The Post9/11 GI Bill also offers some service members the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill to dependents. Some of the benefits the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay include: — Full tuition and fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools tuition & fees are capped at the national maximum rate.

If you are attending a private Institution of Higher Learning in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Texas you may be eligible for a higher tuition reimbursement rate.

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For those attending a more expensive private school or a public school as a non-resident out-of-state student, a program exists which may help to reimburse the difference. This program is called the “Yellow Ribbon Program”. — A monthly housing allowance (MHA). — An annual books & supplies stipend. — A one-time rural benefit payment. As of Aug. 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) is no longer be payable under Post-9/11 GI Bill except during periods your school is closed as a result of an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on Dec. 15 and your Spring term begins Jan. 10, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January. Content provided by the VA.


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FACTS ABOUT THE MONTGOMERY GI BILL ACTIVE DUTY (MGIB-AD)

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he MGIB program provides up to 36 months of education benefits. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following your release from active duty. This program is also commonly known as Chapter 30. $600 Buy-Up Program Some service members may contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5,400 in additional GI Bill benefits. The additional contribution must be made while on active duty. For more information contact your personnel or payroll office. Who is Eligible? You may be an eligible veteran if you have an Honorable Discharge, AND you have a High School Diploma or GED or in some cases 12 hours of college credit, AND you meet the requirements of one of the categories below: The Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible veterans for: • • • • • • • • •

College Technical or vocational courses Correspondence courses Apprenticeship/job training Flight training High-tech training Licensing & certification tests Entrepreneurship training Certain entrance examinations

CATEGORY I • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985 • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for first 12 months

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• Continuously served for 3 years, OR 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR 2 years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty and served 4 years (“2 by 4” Program) CATEGORY II • Entered active duty before Jan. 1, 1977 • Served at least 1 day between 10/19/84 and 6/30/85, and stayed on active duty through 6/30/88, (or 6/30/87 if you entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years) • On 12/31/89, you had entitlement left from Vietnam-Era GI Bill CATEGORY III • Not eligible for MGIB under Category I or II • On active duty on 9/30/90 AND separated involuntarily after 2/2/91, • OR involuntarily separated on or after 11/30/93, • OR voluntarily separated under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program • Before separation, you had military pay reduced by $1200 CATEGORY IV • On active duty on 10/9/96 AND you had money remaining in a VEAP account on that date AND you elected MGIB by 10/9/97 • OR entered full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between 7/1/85, and 11/28/89 AND you elected MGIB during the period 10/9/96, through 7/8/97 • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1200 lump-sum contribution


Air Force Senior Airman Antonio Harmon and Tech. Sgt. Michael Gagnier fight a fire during training at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Harmon and Gagnier are firefighters assigned to the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron.

PHOTO: Senior Airman Nick Emerick

How Much Does VA Pay? The monthly benefit paid to you is based on the type of training you take, length of your service, your category, and if DoD put extra money in your MGIB Fund (called “kickers”). You usually have 10 years to use your MGIB benefits, but the time limit can be less, in some cases, and longer under certain circumstances. How Can I Apply? You can apply by filling out VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. Beginning August 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) will no longer be payable under MGIB-AD except during periods your school is closed as a result of an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on Dec. 15 and your Spring term begins Jan. 10, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January. Content provided by the VA.

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FACTS ABOUT THE MONTGOMERY GI BILL SELECTED RESERVE (MGIB-SR)

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he MGIB-SR program may be available to you if you are a member of the Selected Reserve. The Selected Reserve includes the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. You may use this education assistance program for degree programs, certificate or correspondence courses, cooperative training, independent study programs, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and vocational flight training programs. Remedial, refresher and deficiency training are available under certain circumstances. Eligibility for this program is determined by the Selected Reserve components. VA makes the payments for this program. You may be entitled to receive up to 36 months of education benefits. Your eligibility for the program normally ends on the day you leave the Selected Reserve. One exception to this rule exists if you are mobilized (or recalled to active duty from your reserve status). In this case your eligibility may be extended for the amount of time you are mobilized PLUS four months. For example, if you are mobilized for 12 months your eligibility period is extended for 16 months (12 months active duty PLUS 4 months.) So even if you leave the reserves after mobilization, you may have additional eligibility to the MGIB-SR. If your unit is deactivated during the period beginning on Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2014, or you are involuntarily separated for reasons other than misconduct, you will retain your original period of eligibility, which is 14 years from the date of your first six-year obligation with the selected reserves. Eligibility To qualify, you must meet the following requirements: • Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985.

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If you are an officer, you must have agreed to serve six years in addition to your original obligation. For some types of training, it is necessary to have a six-year commitment that begins after September 30, 1990. • Complete your initial active duty for training (IADT). • Meet the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT. You may not use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement. • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit. You will also retain MGIB - SR eligibility if you were discharged from Selected Reserve service due to a disability that was not caused by misconduct. Your eligibility period may be extended if you are ordered to active duty. How to Apply Your unit will give you a DD Form 2384-1, Notice of Basic Eligibility, when you become eligible for the program. Your unit will also code your eligibility into the Department of Defense personnel system so that VA may verify your eligibility. You should then make sure that your selected program is approved for VA training. If you are not clear on this point, VA will inform you and the school or company about the requirements. Obtain and complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. Send it to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State where you will train. If you have started training, take your application and your Notice of Basic Eligibility to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, (not available online) Enrollment Certification, and send all the forms to VA. Beginning August 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) will no longer be payable under MGIB-SR except during periods your school is closed as a result of


PHOTO: Samuel King Jr.

A wounded warrior’s service dog surrenders to a short nap on the final day of the Air Force training camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on Dec. 15 and your Spring term begins Jan. 10, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January. Numbers to Call Call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) Be advised this line only accepts calls from 7 a.m. 7 p.m. central time Monday - Friday and you may experience long hold times. If you are overseas you can contact the VA via telephone during business hours, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Students and School Certifying Officials calling from outside the United States may call the Buffalo Regional Office at 716-857-3196 or 716-857-3197. Once connected, the caller can immediately enter “option 1” to be placed in a special priority queue. This is not a tollfree number, but the caller will be routed to the next available Customer Service Representative for priority service. This is for overseas customers only. All others should call the toll-free number or contact the VA via the website.

Content provided by the VA.

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THE YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAM AND HOW TO USE IT The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay you:

Eligibility

• all resident tuition & fees for a public school • the lower of the actual tuition & fees or the national maximum per academic year for a private school • an exception to this exists for students enrolled in private schools in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Texas. In these cases the VA will pay the lower of the actual tuition & fees or the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition & fees.

Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate

Your actual tuition & fees costs may exceed these amounts if you are attending a private school or are attending a public school as a nonresident student. Institutions of higher learning (degree-granting Institutions) may elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement.

• You served an aggregate period of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, of at least 36 months; • You were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001; • You are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above. • To receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program: • You must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. • You must not be on active duty or a spouse transferee of an active-duty member. • Your school must agree to participate in the Yellow Program. • Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals stated in their participation agreement. • Your school must certify your enrollment to VA, including Yellow Ribbon program information.

Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA will match that amount and issue payment directly to the institution.

(based on service requirements) or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active-duty service members and their spouses are not eligible for this program (child transferees of active-duty service members may be eligible if the service member is qualified at the 100% rate). Therefore, you may be eligible if:

Content provided by the VA.

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PHOTO:Lance Cpl. Christian Garcia

A new recruit with Fox Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, receives his initial hair cut during receiving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

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EARN WHILE YOU LEARN: VA’S WORK-STUDY PROGRAM

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through careers in the field including as public affairs officers for VA medical centers, with veterans service organizations including Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and at VA’s Salt Lake City Regional Office.

Through the VA-work study program, veterans who are three-quarter or full-time students in a college degree, vocational or professional program can “earn while they learn” with a VA work-study allowance. Students with service-connected disabilities of 30% or greater are given priority consideration in the program. Work-study students perform work related to the VA, including at education institutions, VA facilities, DOD facilities and state Veterans agencies.

Through Terry’s work-study opportunity, studentveterans have the opportunity to learn all sides of the business while working with his staff – from direct outreach to veterans through planning and attending outreach events to answering calls and letters from veterans looking for more information on their VA and state veterans benefits. One recent work-study participant was hired full time for the state agency after he designed and launched a veterans database for the department.

A’s work study program gives student-veterans the opportunity for hands-on work experience and a monthly part-time income while they are going back to school as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill or other VA education benefit program.

As executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, Terry Schow has hired and worked with dozens of student-veterans over the past 10 years. His work-study trainees have come from a variety of education institutions, including the University of Utah, Salt Lake City Community College, Weber State University and Utah Valley University; and have gone on to continue their service in the veterans community

Why does Terry utilize VA’s work-study program to help hire student-veterans? Because they understand the mission of his office in the Utah State Department of Veterans Affairs and are comfortable working on a team. “There’s camaraderie between veterans,” which make them a key asset to the team, he says. Content provided by the VA.

A Wyoming Youth Challenge cadet works on computer applications classwork at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyo.

PHOTO: 1st Lt. Christian Venhuizen

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GET THE FASTEST CLAIM DECISION: HOW TO FILE A FULLY DEVELOPED CLAIM

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he Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program is an optional new initiative that offers veterans, service members and survivors faster decisions from VA on compensation, pension, and survivor benefit claims.

When veterans, service members and survivors submit all required records and documentation at the time they make their claim and certify that they have no further evidence, VA can review and process the claim more quickly. Here’s how: Why submit a Fully Developed Claim (FDC)? You get a faster decision because it saves VA time. When you file a claim, the law requires VA to make an exhaustive search on your behalf to obtain service records and other relevant evidence held by federal agencies and requires VA to ask at least twice for relevant evidence held by private parties, unless they are received on the first request. By submitting all your evidence with your FDC, identifying any relevant records held by federal agencies and verifying that you have no more evidence to submit, you shave a lot of the wait time off the process. There is no risk in filing an FDC. If VA finds that there is a piece of relevant evidence you did not submit, but should have included (like private medical records), VA will obtain that evidence on your behalf and process your claim the traditional way. What kind of records do you need to submit? Military personnel and treatment records are vital to establishing your claim for compensation. Military personnel records can contain deployment orders, pay records, medals and certificates not reflected on the DD-214. Other federal records, like those from Social Security Administration (SSA), are often necessary too – they may contain medical evidence and sometimes even evidence as to the cause of a disability.

How do I file an FCD? Go on to the Internet and log on to your eBenefits account. Click Apply for Benefits and then Apply for Disability Compensation. eBenefits will guide you through the process. You can answer the questions and upload all your supporting evidence all at once, or you can start and save your claim online, collect your supporting evidence and log back in to finish applying. Once you hit Save, you have one year to return to eBenefits, upload your evidence and click Submit. Don’t forget to save – in many cases VA may be able to pay benefits as early as the date you first save that application. Your Veterans Service Officer can also log into the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal – a VSO’s window into your eBenefits account – to look over your claim and give you advice before you press Submit. Once you have collected all your supporting evidence, log back into eBenefits and upload all your documents. There is no limit to number of documents you can upload, but each file must be 5 megabytes or smaller (about 150 black-and-white pages at 300 dpi resolution). Once you verify that you have no more evidence, VA can start processing your claim right away. If you do submit more evidence after you submit the claim, VA will remove your claim from the FDC program and process it through our regular channels. For more tips on submitting your claim, click here. The FDC program is the fastest way to get an accurate decision on your VA claim. By ensuring you submit all your evidence with your claim, you allow the VA to get you an accurate decision as quickly as possible.

Content provided by the VA.

Non-federal records, like medical files from your private doctor, are also important to establishing a claim. These can tell VA the degree of your condition, if it has become worse over time and general information needed for rating purposes.

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PHOTO: Sgt. 1st Class Brent C. Powell

Army Reserve Spc. Nicole Vicario, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) specialist and native of Chicago, Illinois assigned to the 379th Chemical Company, 472nd Chemical Battalion, 209th Regional Support Group, 76th Operational Response Command, pours water into a decontamination apparatus in order to prime hoses and build pressure to start the machine as her unit prepares for decontamination operations at Orogrande, New Mexico.

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become a certified dog trainer! Approved For Va Benefits

Turn Your Passion For Dogs Into A Career You Love! Veterans Educational Assistance Act Dog Trainer Certification Harry W. Colmery Forever GI Bill Now allows independent Study at schools that provide post secondary level education or post secondary vocational institutions. By attending our dog trainers’ school in-person or online, you will learn to teach any dog to be a good dog! • Learn to teach private and group lesson • Train dogs for therapy and special needs • Become an AKC evaluator • Learn how to start your own successful dog training business

Call us today! 770-667-0334

Jo-Thors’s Dog Trainers Academy • Alpharetta, GA protrainers@agooddog.com • www.agooddog.com

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TIRED OF TAKING ORDERS? Maybe it’s time to be your own boss

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fter years of relocating on demand and deploying to some of the planet’s most inhospitable locales, many former military members want to take control of their post-military lives by launching a business, with all the inherent risks and rewards. Opening a franchise – an established business that has independently operated locations – is one way to temper the risks of going it alone. Franchises offer veterans a tried and true model for success backed by a robust support system, says Terry Hill, who manages the Veterans Franchise program for the Washington-based International Franchise Association. Fast food, shipping companies and business service operations are the most popular franchising opportunities. “Included in the cost of purchasing a franchise are key items such as a tested business concept, training, brand recognition and the support of the parent company, which allows the new owner to focus on operations much more quickly since the start-up phase is already accomplished,” he says. It’s difficult to quantify how many vets operate franchises, but VetFran has helped 1,500 veterans establish a franchise in roughly a decade. It can cost $20,000 or more to start a franchise, but Hill says nearly 400 franchises work with his organization to offer veteran discounts. “The business format holds many similarities to military organizations, which require close adherence to a proven plan, teamwork and mission focus,” Hill says. “Veterans, having been exposed to a culture of discipline and training, adapt well to this structure.” Economic challenges could be leading more veterans to consider franchises, but tightened lending standards could make it more difficult to raise the necessary capital, Hill says. Part of VetFran’s appeal is its longstanding partnership with the Veterans Administration and the

By Bryan Mitchell U.S. Small Business Administration, both excellent resources for those considering a franchise.

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fter 30 years and 30 days in an Air Force uniform and more than 4,000 combined hours in the F-15 and F-16, Steve Carey took a moment to survey the landscape after his 2007 retirement. He had offers from defense contractors, but “nothing that rang my bell,” he says. That’s when he turned his attention toward buying a franchise, hoping to settle down in one location and create a legacy for his family. CertaPro Painters – a national operation with an established reputation and more than 300 outlets – caught his attention. “I looked at restaurants and storefront operations, but this business is different in that I am out in the community interacting with homeowners and business owners,” he says. “I get to size them up while they size me up.” His research also helped steer him toward the franchise. “It’s not that I have a passion for painting, but I do have a passion for growing a business,” he says. “CertaPro had a corporate long-term strategy that focused on developing a national reputation as America’s No. 1 home painters, much like the Air Force’s long-term strategy to be the world’s most respected airpower. Running a business, he said, requires leadership similar to commanding a fighter squadron. “It’s about dealing with people and issues every day.” Hill says that type of detailed research is critical. “Although a veteran may be familiar with a certain franchise such as a restaurant, it’s important to look beyond the tables filled with satisfied customers and get a deep understanding of the personal commitment and capital that owning such an establishment would require,” he says. Carey’s Mobile, Ala.,-based outfit was recently named the most successful CertaPro in Alabama. Continued on page 44

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PHOTO: Cpl. Danny Gonzalez

U.S. Marine 1st Sgt. Mauricio Grande, company first sergeant of Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), bites into a cooked snake during Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training (CARAT) Indonesia.

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Continued from page 42

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eter Turner served as a naval aviator for 20 years and was ready to keep flying following his retirement. But after taking a hard look at the prospects for commercial pilots, Turner reconsidered. “My focus was transitioning to the airlines originally, but that would have meant too much time away from home. With three teenagers coming up, that worried me, as did the omnipresent threat of a pink slip,” he says. “The worst part is that mergers, strikes or worse are beyond your control.” Research, not love of donuts or piping-hot coffee, led him to Dunkin’ Donuts. He opened his first outlet in 2008 and soon expanded with three additional stores. He says he researched the franchise and learned the company “has superb support in place with architects, construction, operating systems as well as a fiercely loyal following of customers.” Turner said his skills honed as a military commander leading and managing subordinates have been crucial to his success. “Take great care of your people and they will go the extra mile for you. With staffing, four aces beats seven average cards,” he says. “Operations are operations. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a squadron or a string of restaurants.” But being a savvy businessman doesn’t hurt either. Choosing the right location -- Raleigh, N.C. – helped, because the city escaped the worst of the recession. When the economy was weak he lowered prices to beat out the competition and expanded while interest rates, construction costs and real estate were all less expensive. Besides his wife, Turner also teamed with a financial partner on his first store.

FRANCHISING RESOURCES

International Franchise Association: www.franchise.org Small Business Administration: www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/ start/buyafranchise/index.html Entrepreneur magazine: www.entrepreneur.com/ franchiseopportunities/index.html Franchise Update Network: www.franchise-update.com

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Hill says all franchises should look toward two other key partners: attorneys and accountants. “While that step will incur expenses, it’s much better to have professionals, who know franchising, provide guidance,” he says. For Turner, the sky is once again the limit. He hoped to open 35 stores amid expansion nationwide by Dunkin’ Donuts and, hopefully, to one day own a seaplane.

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om Mitchell was the accidental franchisee. After 24 years in the Army in which he learned Chinese and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Mitchell landed a teaching job in suburban Washington, D.C., and thought he would be teaching until his next retirement. But after the family moved to Washington state and he was unable to land a teaching gig, Mitchell considered a franchise. His research led him to open a UPS Store. “They give you the SOP, just like they do in the military,” he says. “You just do what people have done before. You can modify as you see fit over time, but at least you’ve got the playbook.” Nearly any military veteran can appreciate the complexity of logistics. “We provide a reliable product and what many people believe is not a reasonable price, but after doing some analyzing about what it takes to get a package there by 10:30 the next day, we offer a very fair price,” he says. The biggest challenge has been adjusting to the civilian workforce. “After so many years in the Army, it’s really a shock to work with people who don’t carry their weight and to deal with difficult customers,” he says. “But you learn. You learn to cut things off before they become trouble.” Most parent organizations require an eight- to 10year contract, and even the most seemingly fool-proof business could crash and burn in a shaky economy. “During boom times, anybody can open a franchise and do well, but in (recessionary) times … you really have to do all your homework and be prepared to work incredibly hard to make it happen,” Carey says. “But there is still tremendous opportunity for those willing to take the risk and invest themselves in growing a business.”


PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael T. Eckelbecker

An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 163 (Reinforced) takes off from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during flight deck operations. Boxer is underway conducting routine operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

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THE BASICS OF FRANCHISE BUSINESSES

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ant to be your own boss, but not willing to take on the risk of starting your own business from scratch? Franchising can be a great alternative if you want to have some guidance in the start-up phase of the business. What is Franchising? A franchise is a business model that involves one business owner licensing trademarks and methods to an independent entrepreneur. Sometimes, franchises are referred to as chains. There are two primary forms of franchising: • Product/trade name franchising, in which the franchisor owns the right to the name or trademark and sells that right to a franchisee. • Business format franchising. The franchisor and franchisee have an ongoing relationship, and the franchisor often provides a full range of services, including site selection, training, product supply, marketing plans and even assistance in obtaining financing Before Investing in a Franchise Before you decide to franchise, you need to do your research. You could lose a significant amount of money if you do not investigate a business carefully before you buy. By law, franchise sellers must disclose certain information about their business to potential buyers. Make sure you get all the information you need first before entering into this form of business. To learn more about franchising opportunities, visit the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection. The decision to purchase a franchise involves many factors. To help you explore if franchising is right for you, consider the following questions: • Do you know how much you can invest? • What are your abilities? • What are your goals? Franchising Strategy You need a strategy before investing in a franchise.

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Doing your homework about the franchise first will help you gain a solid understanding of what to expect as well as the risks that could be involved. • Be a Detective In addition to the routine investigation that should be conducted prior to any business purchase, you should be able to contact other franchisees before deciding to invest. You can obtain a Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC), which contains vital details about the franchise’s legal, financial, and personnel history, before you sign a contract. • Know What You are Getting Into Before entering into any contract as a franchisee, you should make sure that you would have the right to use the franchise name and trademark, receive training and management assistance from the franchisor, use the franchisor’s expertise in marketing, advertising, facility design, layouts, displays and fixtures and do business in an area protected from other competing franchisees. • Watch Out for Possible Pitfalls The contract between the two parties usually benefits the franchisor far more than the franchisee. The franchisee is generally subject to meeting sales quotas and is required to purchase equipment, supplies and inventory exclusively from the franchisor. • Seek Professional Help The tax rules surrounding franchises are often complex, and an attorney, preferably a specialist in franchise law, should assist you to evaluate the franchise package and tax considerations. An accountant may be needed to determine the full costs of purchasing and operating the business as well as to assess the potential profit to the franchisee. Get More Information If you are considering purchasing a franchise, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has a wide range of resources and guides to help you buy a franchise and avoid franchise taboos. Content by the U.S. Small Business Administration.


PHOTO: Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann

U.S. Air Force Reserve Citizen firefighters Staff Sgt. Jesse Porcelli with the 514th Civil Engineer Squadron from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey and Senior Airman Warren Duke with the 624th CES from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, prepare a ladder to retrieve people trapped in a simulated three-story building fire as a part of Patriot Warrior at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia.

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S

OPENING A FRANCHISE: WHAT’S INVOLVED?

ome people who are interested in becoming owners of a franchise business enthusiastically bring up the fact that they’d like to open more than one franchise.

Let’s find out what’s involved.

Choosing and investigating a franchise First off, you have to choose, investigate and buy the right franchise. Once you do that, you can start thinking about opening your second one. So, let’s start at the beginning. 1. Do you thoroughly understand the franchise business model, including how and why it works so well? 2. Have you done a thorough self-evaluation to make sure that you’re suited for a franchise business? 3. Have you thoroughly investigated the franchise opportunities that you’ve chosen to look into? 4. Did you get proper legal advice before you signed your franchise agreement? 5. Did you obtain the right type of small business loan for your business? Open for business You’ve had your grand opening. Local residents are starting to hear about your new business. More and more of them are checking your franchise out. Things are starting to feel good. Your cash register is ringing up sales. You want more of that. After a few months of being in business – one that’s starting to look like a winner-- you may start visualizing what it would be like to have another franchise location up and running. But, what needs to happen to make it happen? Timing How will you know when it’s the right time? Ask these questions: 1. Is your current location making a profit? 2. Can you use the state of your local commercial real estate market to your advantage? Is it depressed? Are there good deals to be made with landlords who have empty space? 3. Do you have enough employees? Can one or two of them help you open another franchise location? 4. Will your local banker be on-board with you? Will you be able to secure another small business loan with favorable terms? 48 MERG Fall 2018

Where should you open it? If you’re going to open a second franchise location, it’s important to choose your physical location carefully. Not only will you have to make sure that the location you choose is a prime one, you’ll have to make sure that it’s in your territory. The franchise agreement you signed has very specific language with regards to territory. For example, you may have to stay within a certain ZIP code or maybe even a certain county. That’s why it’s important for you to go over your franchise agreement before you talk to a real estate broker or a landlord. That way you won’t be setting yourself up for disappointment if you find out about a hot potential location for your second franchise unit that turns out to be out of your territory. In other words, don’t put the cart before the horse. Family support Is your family going to be on board you on this? Will they be comfortable with the idea of taking on more risk? Think about what went on with those close to you when you were choosing and investigating the franchise that you now own. Did you have to convince your family of your idea to become a franchise business owner? What about when the subject of money came up? How nervous were they? It’s important for you to put yourself in their shoes. Just because you’re excited about the idea of getting another franchise unit open doesn’t mean that they are. Start discussing your ideas with them early on…not right before you’re applying for another business loan, or a week before you’re about to sign a 10-year lease on a new commercial space. Having two successful franchise locations up and running can be great. They’ll enable you to get closer to your personal and professional goals. Just make sure that you have done the things necessary to set you up for success. Reprinted from an SBA.gov Community Guest Blog post by Joel Libava

Content by the U.S. Small Business Administration.


PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeremy Graham

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Walter Rutherford signals a UH-1Y Venom helicopter assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 (Reinforced) to take off from the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) off the coast of Japan.

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FRANCHISE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK:

T

Growth slows after three years of steady gains, but franchises continue adding jobs

he Franchise Business Index (FBI), an index of the economic health of the franchising industry, rose 0.2 percent in September to 110.7, the International Franchise Association announced on Oct. 30. Growth of the index slowed as the component measuring employment in franchise-intensive industries showed no monthly gain for the first time in over three years and the small business optimism index declined. “Franchise businesses continue to create jobs and demonstrate that the franchise business model remains the best and most proven vehicle to quickly grow and scale a small business,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “While we are pleased the index grew for the fifth consecutive month, we remain concerned about the overall rate of growth in both new business formation and job creation. We believe comprehensive tax reform that eases the burden on small business owners by lowering the effective tax rate is essential to strong job and wage growth for all Americans.” The other four components of the FBI all made small positive contributions to the index. The unemployment

rate declined slightly and the incidence of selfemployment rose. Retail sales in franchise-intensive sectors increased by 0.3 percent and the index of credit conditions ticked up. After incorporating revisions to last month’s data for individual components of the index, the August value of the FBI also showed slower growth – up 0.2 percent over the July value. Designed to provide timelier tracking of the growing role of franchise businesses in the U.S. economy, the Franchise Business Index was developed by IHS Global Insight on behalf of the IFA Educational Foundation. The FBI combines indicators of growth in the industries where franchising is most prevalent and measures of the general economic environment for franchising. “The franchise sector continues to exceed the modest pace of overall economic growth, as improvements in the housing market have had a positive impact on consumer spending,” said IHS Global Insight Senior Economist James Gillula, “and we do not expect higher mortgage rates to choke off the recovery.” Courtesy of the International Franchising Association.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Hezekiah Morgan measures the distance for a flood light.

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Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Sarah Schenck, a native of Rogersville, Tennessee, assigned to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, cleans the landing gear of an F/A-18 Hornet prior to a demonstration at the 2018 Terre Haute Air Show. PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Schumaker

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PHOTO: Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt

Airman 1st Class Jared King, 23d Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) water and fuel system maintenance apprentice, saws a structural support beam during the “A Day In A Life” program, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.

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FINANCING YOUR FRANCHISE:

A

An SBA Guide

re you looking to buy a franchise, or do you currently own one? If so, you’re part of a growing population. The popularity of franchises over the last several decades has contributed to the massive growth of related jobs and new businesses. To help facilitate their development, the Small Business Administration has created a franchise program to simplify their financing process. What does it mean to be an SBA-approved franchise? SBA-approved franchises are select business opportunities whose agreements have been accepted by the SBA. When it comes to securing an SBA-backed loan, those applying for an approved-franchise have it easier and quicker. Applicants for SBA-approved franchises benefit from a streamlined review process that expedites their loan application. Because the particular franchise is pre-approved, the loan review is less complex and focuses on specific aspects of that brand’s business plan. Where can I find a list of SBA-approved franchises? Through a partnership with SBA, the Franchise Registry provides a list of approved franchises*. This list allows you to search by name if you have a specific franchise in mind or by program/industry if you doing research in related franchise opportunities.

Should I be worried if my franchise is not on the SBAapproved list? Franchises do not appear on the list for a variety of reasons. In some instances, the franchisor may decide not to have it listed. If this is the case, SBA and your commercial lender may need to review and evaluate more financial information when you seek SBA financial assistance, which may add more time to process the request. Being on or off the list is not an endorsement or indication of quality and profitability, so you should still thoroughly research for your potential franchise opportunity. What else is needed by SBA and my bank if my franchise is on the SBA-approved franchise list? Additional eligibility qualifications are required for applicants of financing for an SBA-approved franchise. These qualifications include items such as general eligibility, conflicts of interest, business plans, and use of proceeds. When you apply for an SBA-backed loan, you will still need to submit paperwork according to their application process. An SBA Loan Application Checklist can help you prepare all the necessary documentation. Common documentation includes: 54 MERG Fall 2018

• Purpose of the loan • History of the business • Financial statements for three years (existing businesses) • Schedule of term debts (existing businesses) • Aging of accounts receivable and payable (existing businesses) • Projected opening-day balance sheet (new businesses) • Lease details • Amount of investment in the business by the owner(s) • Projections of income, expenses and cash flow • Signed personal financial statements • Personal résumé(s) How do I proceed? Whether or not your franchise is on the SBA-approved list, there are still steps should take to move your loan application process forward: • Review process for SBA loans -Understanding the SBA process will help minimize the about of time the process will take. Being on top of what you need to submit and when can expedite everything. • Pull together all necessary information and documents More information will be needed to process the request. SBA will require less financial information if the franchise is on the SBA-approved list. There is common information and documentation that you will need to provide to SBA and your potential lender whether or not your franchise is on the SBA-approved list. Being on the SBA-approved franchises list will make the SBA approval portion move faster, but SBA has no control over the actual lenders. • Find a lender- SBA provides a list of Preferred Lenders that are familiar with the SBA process. You are not required to use a preferred lender, but if you have the option it could be beneficial. Throughout the process make sure that you are in contact with your franchisor and keep him or her updated. Whether or not your franchise is on the SBA-approved list, it is important to research your financing options. An expedited process is available for those on the list, but this does not guarantee approval. Remember, items such as general eligibility, conflicts of interest, business plans, and use of proceeds affect your odds, regardless of whether your franchise is pre-approved. Reprinted from SBA.gov


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BoatswainĂ­s Mate 3rd Class Devan Erichsen, right, tightens a turnbuckle to secure the anchor for sea on the shipĂ­s forecastle during sea and anchor detail aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109).

PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

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PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Delano Scott

Senior Airman William Leuzinger, 11th Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services firefighter, pulls a fire hose toward a simulated aircraft fire during a training exercise at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

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PHOTO: Senior Airman Taylor Harrison

U.S. Navy Master at Arms 1st Class Kristina Vargas, Kennel Master deployed to Camp Lemonnier, runs with members of the Kenya Defense Force’s 1st Canine Regiment during a military working dog partnership information exchange in Nairobi, Kenya.

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PHOTO: Sgt. David Bickel

Lance Cpl. Savannah Nickell, a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 airframes mechanic, performs routine maintenance on an F-35 Lightning II during Exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field Counterland Training Center, Camp Douglas, Wis.

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More than 200 Soldiers conduct their first rappels during the U.S. Army’s Air Assault School at Fort Pickett, Virginia. The ten-day course, taught by cadre from the Fort Benningbased Warrior Training Center, trains Soldiers on U.S. Army rotary wing aircraft operations including combat air assault operations, rigging and sling load operations. PHOTO: Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti

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PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular

Sailors assigned to USS Constitution conduct War of 1812-era boarding pike drills during weekly heritage training. Constitution’s crewmembers conduct weekly training to learn and retain sailing information.

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PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant G. Grady

Airman Jonathan Kennell, wipes oil off an F/A-18E Super Hornet with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 in the hangar bay aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

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U.S. Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 18.1 conduct “dead gunner� drills during Exercise Platinum Lion 18 at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria.

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PHOTO: Cpl. Alexander Sturdivant

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PHOTO: Lt. Col. Ross Franquemont

A U-2 Dragon Lady pilot assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing pilots the highaltitude reconnaissance platform at approximately 70,000 feet above an undisclosed location. The U-2 is a high-altitude, near space reconnaissance aircraft and delivers critical imagery which enables decision makers at all levels the visual capabilities to execute informed decisions in any phase of conflict.

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Staff Sgt. Timothy Driver, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, adjusts safety equipment for Deny, 5th SFS MWD, during flight familiarization training at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. PHOTO: Senior Airman Jonathan McElderry

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PHOTO: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob Smith

Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Bito Sementili, left, and Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Corey Campbell inspect practice ordnance aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).

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PHOTO: Aviation Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Scott Penman

Lt. Jesse Gutenberger, Naval Aircrewman (Mechanical) 2nd Class Hans Lara, and Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Caleb Southgate, turn the propellers from the flight station of a P-3C Orion aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 while conducting post-maintenance checks.

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PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Daniel Wetzel

Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) hook up an M777 Howitzer from Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, to an MV-22 Osprey during Marine Rotational Force – Darwin’s Exercise Koolendong at Mount Bundey Training Area, Australia.

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Members of the United Nations Command Honor Guard move dignified transfer cases from one C-17 Globemaster III to another during a repatriation ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 1, 2018. The UNC repatriated 55 cases of remains from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

PHOTO: Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker

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Military Education and Resource Guide 2018 Fall Edition  

A DEFENSE STANDARD Publication

Military Education and Resource Guide 2018 Fall Edition  

A DEFENSE STANDARD Publication