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Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember

Special Section:

Veterans in the Arts

Marine Educator Daryl R. Patrick Voluntary Education Program Manager Marine and Family Programs Division Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps

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July/August 2013 Volume 8, Issue 6

Public Safety & Emergency Management Careers & Transitions

Financial Services Careers O Graduate Programs VA Certifying Official Roundtable


MILITARY ADVANCED EDUCATION Features

July/August 2013 Volume 8, Issue 6

Cover / Q&A

Careers & Transitions

Veterans in the Arts

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Over the past year, the nation has witnessed domestic destruction from natural disasters at a devastatingly high level. While we can’t be certain what threats we’ll face in the coming years, we do know that in the next three to five years approximately 1 million servicemembers will leave the military—many of whom will join the civilian workforce. By Maura McCarthy

Some veterans have opted to explore careers in the arts, including supporting positions in recording studios, starring roles in the kitchens of fine dining establishments, and animating graphics for large companies. By laural hobbes

Directing Disasters

Exploring creative industries

17 Daryl R. Patrick

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School certifying officials (SCOs) are responsible for completing all paperwork necessary to certify the enrollment for students eligible for VA educational benefits at their college or university. MAE reached out to SCOs at several schools to learn more about how these individuals assist students eligible for VA benefits.

Most graduate degree recipients see their salaries increase once the degree is completed, and typically continue to do so with the increase in responsibility. Many who possess a high level of skill within a discipline feel a passion for and devotion to the discipline as well. The legacy lives on in those they teach or lead, who then direct others who follow them. By Bart MacMillan

The financial services industry is currently looking to hire returning veterans because they possess a variety of personal attributes that make them attractive candidates: leadership and teamwork skills, comfort with structure and discipline, resiliency, and loyalty. The advantages a career in financial services offers veterans make it a career worth considering. By Anthony Boquet

The Role of the School Certifying Official

Departments 2 Editor’s Perspective 4 PROGRAM NOTES 14 CLASS NOTES 26 CCME GRAPEVINE 27 RESOURCE CENTER

“Graduate School? Why Bother?”

A Career of Significance

University Corner Brian P. Foley

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Voluntary Education Program Manager Marine and Family Programs Division Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps

Provost Medical Education Campus Chair Military Services Advisory Council North Virginia Community College

“To be an effective force in our nation’s defense, our Marines must not only be highly skilled, but also highly educated. The educational opportunities and incentives we offer make for a more capable Marine.”

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Daryl R. Patrick


EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE

Military Advanced Education Volume 8, Issue 6 July/August 2013

Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember Editorial Editor Laural Hobbes lauralh@kmimediagroup.com Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly harrisond@kmimediagroup.com Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis laurad@kmimediagroup.com Copy Editor Sean Carmichael seanc@kmimediagroup.com Correspondents J.B. Bissell • Kelly Fodel • Michael Frigand Maura McCarthy • Ramsey Sulayman

Art & Design Art Director Jennifer Owers jennifero@kmimediagroup.com Senior Graphic Designer Jittima Saiwongnuan jittimas@kmimediagroup.com Graphic Designers Scott Morris scottm@kmimediagroup.com Eden Papineau edenp@kmimediagroup.com Amanda Paquette amandak@kmimediagroup.com Kailey Waring kaileyw@kmimediagroup.com

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In this issue of Military Advanced Education, we examine academic programs that prepare their students for success in various creative fields, including the music industry, visual arts, and mastering fine cooking. Employment aside, there is also immense value in practicing artistic endeavors as a hobby—and what better time to start than the relaxed days of summer? For veterans and their families, creative writing can be used as a venue for self expression and a constructive way to process war experiences. The Veterans Writing Project, which launched in 2011, is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that encourages veterans and their families to write. “We work with people at all levels of writing experience,” said Ron Capps, Laural C. Hobbes Editor an Army veteran and founder and director of the Veterans Writing Project. “Our curriculum is designed to hit sort of a middle ground: challenging brand-new writers while not being too pedestrian for more advanced writers. All we ask is that participants want to tell stories about the military experience. If they also want to tell other stories, that’s terrific. But we’re trying to give veterans, servicemembers and their families the skills and confidence to tell stories about the military experience.” The Veterans Writing Project has begun to publish books and a literary journal, O-Dark-Thirty, available online at www.o-dark-thirty.org. “We also have an expressive (therapeutic) writing component and plan to expand into working with civilians who have survived a combat zone as well,” said Capps. What if veterans face writer’s block? “Two things: If you simply think you’re out of ideas, just keep writing,” said Capps. “Sooner or later the ideas you’re putting on the page will begin to make more sense. But if you’re at a point in a piece of work and can’t figure out what to do next, and you’re there for a long while, just treat it like any other obstacle: Go around it. Go work on another part of the book or the story until you’re ready to solve the earlier problem.” For more information about the Veterans Writing Project, be sure to look out for our article on creative writing programs in the next issue of MAE.

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PROGRAM NOTES

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Capital One Bank and Capital One Foundation Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Jobs In mid-June, Capital One Bank and Capital One Foundation announced a $425,000 partnership with Easter Seals Serving DC|MD|VA, an organization providing support services for individuals with disabilities and special needs, to help veterans, wounded warriors and their spouses to transition to civilian life and navigate meaningful career paths. The partnership is part of a national workforce development initiative by Capital One, focused on helping to match job seekers with higher-quality jobs and to train and retrain workers to compete for jobs based on local community demand. This announcement was made in tandem with the recent Capital One Bank, Easter Seals and Corporate Immersion-sponsored “How Hiring Our Nation’s Veterans Can Impact Your Bottom Line” Flag Day workshop on Friday, June 14, where approximately 35-40 small businesses from the Washington metropolitan area gathered to address best practices in veterans’ employment and gain essential insight to help reduce staff costs, recruit a highly effective workforce and retain talent. “The future economic competitiveness and long-term success of a community is directly tied to the quality and skills of its workforce,” said Tony Pica, senior vice president and Mid-Atlantic Business Banking Group executive market president, Northern Virginia at Capital One Bank. “As

we think about developing our workforce, we must support our veterans who are returning home and looking to transition their unique skills into gainful civilian employment. We’re proud to support our veterans during their transition by helping them not only prepare for new job opportunities but also secure those jobs and keep them.” Capital One’s commitment to Easter Seals will specifically support the organization’s new Veteran Staffing Network (VSN), a nonprofit staffing agency exclusively for veterans and their families. The VSN will provide comprehensive, wrap-around support services to both the veterans transitioning to civilian life and the businesses seeking to hire military servicemen and women. These wrap-around services provide access to programs designed to meet additional needs that may impact access and retention of employment, including: • Operation Employ Vets employer training program, an Internet-based interactive program designed to outline the benefits veterans bring to an organization. Easter Seals has worked with leading employers and community stakeholders to develop this program, as well as local departments of commerce, labor and veterans affairs.

• Little Warriors Early Education and Child Care program, which is designed to meet the unique needs of the wounded warrior, their children and spouses, while taking into consideration whether a family has recently had to relocate and addressing urgent needs for family stability. • Veteran Caregiver Training, a comprehensive, multi-modal (classroom, web-based and DVD/ workbook) training for caregivers of veterans addressing a wide range of critical caregiving topics, such as self-care, obtaining benefits and support, behavior management, pain management, nutrition and wellness, and more. • In addition, VSN hosts quarterly workshops, such as the “How Hiring Our Nation’s Veterans Can Impact Your Bottom Line,” for employers designed to educate business owners and HR professionals that may have concerns regarding hiring veterans and to dispel common misconceptions. The Veteran Staffing Network builds on Capital One’s three-year, $4.5 million commitment to support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative, a program that provides job fairs and workforce training initiatives across the United States for veterans and military spouses.

(ISC)² Foundation and Booz Allen Hamilton Offer Cyber Warrior Scholarships The (ISC)2 (“ISC-squared”) Foundation, the non-profit charitable trust for (ISC)² that aims to make the cyber world safer for everyone through community cyber security education and awareness, launched the U.S.A. Cyber Warrior Scholarship program in June in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton. The program was created in response to recently released findings of (ISC)²’s sixth bi-annual Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS), which revealed a significant widening of the gap between demand for and supply of cybersecurity workers. The U.S.A. Cyber Warrior Scholarship program seeks to help close this gap by providing cybersecurity career training to qualified veterans who served in the U.S. military. It is designed to help ease their transition into the civilian workforce by underwriting all the expenses associated with the pursuit of certification, including training, textbooks, mobile study materials, certification testing, and the first year of certification maintenance fees. “Veterans entering the civilian workforce represent a large cohort of motivated professionals with a solid work ethic and admirable core values,”

4 | MAE 8.6

said Booz Allen Principal Tony Urbanovich, a member of the scholarship review committee. “Many have performed tasks in the military that, with additional training, can lead to successful cyber and information security careers. Booz Allen is proud to support a program that benefits our veterans, our industry, and our nation.” The scholarship program will focus on four (ISC)2 certifications that will help returning veterans demonstrate that they possess today’s in-demand information security skills identified in the 2013 GISWS: the Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional, Certified Authorization Professional and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (or Associate of (ISC)²). The committee will award a total of 10 scholarships to veterans, and winners will be announced in October 2013 during National Cyber Security Awareness month. Individuals can visit the U.S.A. Cyber Warrior Scholarship page at https://www.isc2cares.org/usa-cyber-warrior-scholarship/default.aspx to review the applicant qualifications.

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Careers & Transitions

Once you leave the military, a degree

in emergency and disaster management can help bridge the transition and pave the way to meaningful employment.

By Maura McCarthy MAE Correspondent

From Hurricane Sandy to the tornadoes that ravaged Moore, The Decision Okla., and the Colorado wildfires, over the past year the nation has witnessed domestic destruction from natural disasters at a devastatThere are a lot of choices out there, and it may be dauntingly high level. Sadly, we’ve also suffered manmade emergencies ing to think about your next steps—especially if you’ve actually like the Boston Marathon bombings and the explosion at the fertilenjoyed being told what to do and when to do it for years. The izer plant in West, Texas. While we can’t be certain what threats we’ll good thing about making the decision to pursue a career in emerface in the coming years, we do know that in the next three to five gency and disaster management is that veterans are a natural fit, years approximately 1 million servicemembers will leave the milialmost amazingly so. You’ll be joining a dynamic field that emphatary—many of whom will join the civilian workforce. For men and sizes operational clarity, adaptability, strategic planning, time women looking to apply the planning and response skills from their sensitivity, resource management and mission execution. Sound military years to new jobs—and to continue servfamiliar? ing the country—careers in emergency and disaster “As a profession, [emergency and disaster manmanagement is a win for all. Veterans can find meanagement] is mission-centric and focused on serving ingful employment, and the nation will benefit from those in need. Much of the core activity is focused on highly trained and tested responders. Still, making developing and executing plans, policies and procethe transition from the military to civilian workforce dures to effectively respond to natural and technologmay require an academic degree to bridge the gap, ical threats,” explained Anthony S. Mangeri, certified and one will certainly be required to advance in the public manager, certified emergency management field. (CEM), and manager of Fire and Emergency Services Whether you’re active duty thinking about sepaInitiatives at American Military University. In many rating or you’ve already made that decision, a new ways, responding to a bomb exploding at the finish Anthony S. Mangeri veteran wondering what to do next, or even if you’ve line of a marathon is not unlike responding to one at been out for years but want to go back to school to a crowded bazaar or mosque. The biggest difference amangeri@apus.edu increase your employability and pay rate, there are is geography, but the skills are the same. a slew of options available. Finding the right one will require some “Emergency managers most know how to bring organization legwork. and calm to disaster … The concepts of mission-critical systems, www.MAE-kmi.com

MAE  8.6 | 5


Careers & Transitions

Micheal A. Kemp, Ph.D.

Carlie Merritt

Mickey Shachar, Ph.D.

micheal.kemp@capella.edu

cmerritt@email.wcu.edu

mickey.shachar@trident.edu

threat assessment, operational planning and response operations are not new to veterans,” he said. Not only are the job functions similar between the military and emergency management, so too are the cultures. “Emergency managers coordinate the varied resources and multiple agencies existing within a jurisdiction to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate against hazards. Thus, the operation of emergency management is very similar to how our armed forces function: highly specialized groups coordinated to complete complex tasks,” reflected Micheal A. Kemp, Ph.D., CEM, and faculty chair with Capella

University’s School of Public Service Leadership. An interesting difference he points out is that terms like “command control become more organic actions like coordination and cooperation.” Additionally, as Carlie Merritt, director of the emergency and disaster management program at Western Carolina University, pointed out, “Many National Guardsmen and women and Reservists have also worked with state and local officials in response to domestic disaster situations.”

The World is Your Oyster

Trite, but true. Pairing military experience with a degree in emergency management opens doors in both the public and private sectors. In terms of federal public service, there are opportunities within the Departments of Defense, Emergency Management, Public Health, Transportation, Public Works, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as at the local and state level, for example in public administration. While FEMA “focuses on federal emergency management planning, mitigation, response and recovery, other federal agencies contain components of emergency management. Many students work in first response organizations, such

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education serve your country Complete your military service and your Masters degree. Anytime. Anywhere. Developed by public servants for public servants, our new Masters in Public Service Leadership (MPSL) program features seven areas of study with an emphasis on cultivating leaders in government, nonprofits, and other organizations committed to serving the community. Courses are led by professionals with relevant knowledge and hands-on experience.

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Photos courtesy of www.army.mil

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as fire departments, law enforcement agencies and emergency medical agencies,” Merritt noted. If you’re not looking to work as federal, state or local government employee, there are other options that may give you greater leeway in your career. “There is also a tremendous opportunity for both training and consulting. Some smaller municipalities Sheldon Silver do not have the budget or infrastructure to support a professional emergency/disaster manager, but are willing to hire a consultant to train their local police and fire personnel,” said Mickey Shachar, Ph.D., Master of Science in Health Sciences and Master of Science in Health Care Administration program director, College of Health Sciences at Trident University. On the private sector side, there are opportunities with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, business, social work and engineering. “The private sector is developing similar positions to serve in-house with many corporations and companies, as well as serving as outside consultants. Such positions may be called private security/safety consultant, safety manager, emergency manager [EM]

or risk manager,” said Sheldon Silver, assistant professor chair, Social and Criminal Justice for the College of Liberal Arts at Ashford University. The opportunities seem endless. “Veterans may find themselves working as emergency program manager, coordinating the emergency planning and response for a community; emergency planners; or trainers based on their Misti Kill, Ph.D. experiences and education. Many personnel begin their career in emergency misti.kill@columbiasouthern.edu management as operational planners or exercise officers. Others may work in positions focused on disaster response and recovery management,” Mangeri said. When we think of emergency or disaster managers, we probably first think of firefighters, police officers or EMTs. However, as Misti Kill, Ph.D., program director of emergency services at Columbia Southern University, reminds us, “There are many people who have been working behind the scenes to make sure the response is possible. These are usually the EMs. EMs develop plans, train, coordinate and collaborate with other agencies, ensure contingencies, obtain resources, etc., and these are things that the military has already had a role in.”

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Careers & Transitions Why School, and Which One?

theoretical-to-practical link has caused obtainment of a degree in emergency management to be more of a requirement for employment than in the past.” This is especially true to advance in the field to a managerial level.

That’s what you can do, but what do you need to do to get there? Whether you separated from the military after four years of service or 15, you have practical experience in operational management that recent college grads—and perhaps Western Carolina University even established professionals—lack. Military experience may be sufficient to meet the minimum requireThis program is a popular choice for Army civil ments, but in most cases a degree is necessary, even if it affairs specialists, and the university has an Army may not be required to apply. career degree plan for 38B civil affairs specialists. The degree complements military experience and Students would be wise to check their state builds a core knowledge of principles and theories, policies to see what each requires and if a degree making you a stronger and more viable candidate. It in the field could make their application package also provides the potential of upward mobility within more attractive. “Recent changes in the CEM stathe field. tus in North Carolina award more ‘points’ toward Thomas H. Kemp, Ph.D. “Becoming a professional in emergency manageprofessional certification for those with emergency ment requires one to be both proficient in the practimanagement-related bachelor’s degrees [as compared tkemp@argosy.edu cal application and theoretical foundations of the field, with community college associate degrees], along such as understanding the complex links between community, prewith work experience,” Western Carolina University’s Merritt existing vulnerabilities, hazards and disaster. Thus, an emphasis within explained. the profession on merging disaster research with emergency management has been especially prevalent over the past 15 years,” Argosy University Capella’s Kemp pointed out. “This renewed importance on the At Argosy University, students enrolled in the master’s of public administration (MPA) with a concentration in emergency preparedness and response will focus on both the military and civilian side of 100% ONLINE EDUCATION FOR A GLOBAL FORCE emergency response and on the key elements students—and ultimately practitioners—need to know to prepare themselves and the Wherever you serve, citizenry for unplanned disasters. MPA students in this concentration Cal U is there. are required to complete a capstone course during which they have the option of conducting a field project with an emergency planning organization. This offers students the “opportunity to network, build professional projects, and pull areas of the concentration together, not only planning for disasters but economically dealing with disasC A L U G LO B A L O N L I N E P R O V I D E S A CC R E D I T E D ters,” explained Thomas H. Kemp, Ph.D., SPHR, assistant professor in BACHELOR’S AND MASTER’S DEGREE PROGRAMS IN the college of business. A 1 0 0 % O N L I N E FO R M AT T H AT S U I T S YO U R N E E D S . “For example, they’ll learn how to reduce cost through planning and risk mitigation, risk transfers, etc. and how to prepare first and Why earn your degree online from Cal U? second responders to respond to crisis. [This is a] good opportunity for students/practitioners to network with organizations concerned Asynchronous courses give you access to with emergency planning and preparedness—from FEMA on down classes from anywhere, at any time. An to local jurisdiction like mayors’ councils,” he continued. accelerated schedule lets you earn your degree in less time. Pennsylvania in-state

Upper Iowa University

tuition rates apply for all active-duty military. And Cal U is a Military-Friendly University that supports military students through a dedicated Office of Veterans Affairs. So choose Cal U Global Online. We’re there for you. V I S I T W W W . CA LU . E D U / G O / M I L I TA R Y E-MAIL CALUGO@CALU.EDU PHONE 1-866-595-6348

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Upper Iowa University offers a Bachelor of Science in emergency and disaster management. Of the 120 required credits, 39 are in the general education core, 54 in the major, and 27 are electives. For credit in the major, students may select from a variety of courses including those pertaining to local, state and federal government: the Political and Policy Basis of Emergency Management, Disaster Response and Recovery, Psychology of Disaster, Principles and Practice of Hazards Mitigation, Public Budgeting Process and Business and Industrial Crisis Management, to name a few. In addition to traditional readings and group discussions, students are required to complete special projects, such as “preparing www.MAE-kmi.com


plans which assist personnel in preparing for, mitigating the risk of, responding to, and recovering from an emergency or disaster. These will include completion of hazard vulnerability assessments and completing practical exercises,” explained M. Wayne Converse, director of military affairs and business development at Upper Iowa University. Students also will complete written papers, which, for example, could require them to prepare an executive summary on one of the 15 emergency support functions defined by FEMA.

Trident University

management (MSEDM). The MSEDM prepares experienced military and civilian personnel to work at the managerial level. “In a master’s program … the courses will reflect how to manage large scale domestic and international terrorism, critical infrastructure protection, disaster logistics, crisis management, disaster relief and more. The six required courses are Survey of Emergency and Disaster Management; Emergency Planning and Methodology; Emergency Operations; Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability and Protection; Public Health and the Aftermath of a Disaster; Issues of Terrorism; and the capstone project. Students can then choose three elective courses to complete and complement the core courses,” Shachar explained.

Trident University offers a Bachelor of Science in M. Wayne Converse health sciences with a concentration in health care Columbia Southern University management and emergency and disaster manageconversew@uiu.edu ment; a Bachelor of Science in health sciences with Columbia Southern University offers a Master of a concentration in environmental health science with a certificate in Science in emergency services management that on average takes three emergency and disaster management; and a Bachelor of Science in years to complete, during which time students may choose from classes health sciences with a concentration in health educator-emergency including Special Topics in Criminology, Global Terrorism, Advanced and disaster management. Fire Administration, Advanced Toxicology, Legal Aspects of Emergency To prepare both military and civilians to work at the manager level, Management, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Advanced Interactions the university offers a Master of Science in emergency and disaster of Hazardous Materials.

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MAE  8.6 | 9


Careers & Transitions American Military University At American Military University, students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in emergency and disaster management are “introduced to the all-hazards approach, emergency and disaster management phases, risk assessment, prevention and management, counterterrorism, consequence management, mitigation, and recovery,” Mangeri said. The curriculum is built around a core foundation, and students are required to complete courses such as Emergency and Disaster Incident Command, Natural Disaster Management, Consequence Management, Introduction to Homeland Security and Defense, Special Operations in Emergency Medical Services, Public Policy, Psychology of Disaster, and Introduction to Meteorology with Lab.

Ashford University Students completing an online Bachelor of Arts in homeland security and emergency management at Ashford University can select from courses including Ethics and Homeland Security, Emergency Response to Terrorism, Research and Analysis in Homeland Security, Introduction to Cyber Crime, and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Capstone. Silver highlighted some of the academic challenges students will take on. Throughout these courses, students will

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complete written assignments and research papers that “develop not only subject knowledge, but also the written communication skills critical to success, and practical scenario-based problem solving assignments addressing real-world emergencies and disasters.”

Capella University Capella University focuses on advanced degrees in the field, and students have the choice of a Master of Science or Ph.D. in public safety with a specialization in emergency management. For the master’s program, students will complete 12 courses, including those related to the foundations of emergency management, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and modern emergency management program coordination. At the doctorate level, students must have completed a master’s to qualify, and the program focuses on the theories of disaster management. “Learners in this program take courses focused on research methodology, case studies in critical incident management, and the theoretical constructs of emergency management,” Kemp said when he differentiated the two programs.

A Growing Industry If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and enrolling, now may be a good time to do it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the coming years will see steady growth in this industry for emergency management directors. The Handbook predicts that between 2010 and 2020, this occupation will see a 13 percent growth rate, which the organizations classify as “as fast as average.” While hearing “average” may not impress you much, assessing growth for emergency management directors with comparable fields just might. First-line supervisors of police and detectives are only expected to see a growth rate of 2 percent (little or no change), and first-line supervisors of correctional officers predicted growth is at 6 percent (slower than average). The BLS also reported that the mean annual wage for emergency management directors in May 2012 was $64,730. Argosy University’s Kemp framed this potential a little differently. “Out of the 8 million public sector workers, 7 out of 10 work for local government, counties, cities, special districts and towns; 50 state governments; 87,500 local governments; 3,000 county governments; 19,400 municipal governments; 16,500 townships and 35,100 special districts. … We [estimate] that there are well over 90,000 jurisdictions and positions available right now that can be filled by graduates.” In an age of government cutbacks, hiring freezes and slow civilian job growth, nothing is certain. But, if you think emergency and disaster management is the post-military path for you, you’re making a strong bet on your future success. O

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The Role of the School Certifying Official What students should know about these VA liaisons.

The Department of Veterans Affairs defines a school certifying official (SCO) as the individual assigned the authority of completing all paperwork necessary to certify the enrollment and changes in enrollment for students eligible for VA educational benefits at their college or university. Military Advanced Education reached out to SCOs at several schools to learn more about how these individuals assist students eligible for VA benefits.

Noelle Atwell VA Certifying Official University of Maryland University College noelle.atwell@umuc.edu A school certifying official (SCO) may be located in a variety of campus offices but generally will be found in the registrar’s office, financial aid office or a stand-alone veterans office. Early in the admission and registration process, students eligible for VA educational benefits must locate and contact the SCO on campus and identify themselves. Students should realize that an SCO cannot determine eligibility for benefits; this is the sole responsibility of the VA. Benefit programs change frequently, so it is recommended that the student receive this information directly

John Gebhardt

from the VA. But an SCO can provide basic information about the various VA educational benefit programs and provide contact information to the nearest VA regional office. Most universities will require students to provide various documents and complete paperwork requesting benefits before their enrollment can be reported to the VA. The SCO office is the recipient of a student’s certificate of eligibility for all benefit programs. Depending on the size of the active-duty servicemember, veteran, Reserve or Guard and dependents population, an SCO may have responsibilities in addition to certifying students. Many SCOs provide services that include educating, advising and advocating for students eligible for VA benefits. The SCO can be an excellent resource in providing guidance for navigating through the institution. The SCO

can assist with or direct the student to information on academic programs, financial aid, counseling and support services, and other university processes. The SCO does far more than simply certifying enrollments; they ensure school compliance with VA regulations. Students should realize that the SCO is responsible for monitoring a student’s enrollments and can only certify courses that apply to a student’s degree program. The SCO must also report official and unofficial withdrawals from classes, monitor student grades and academic progress, and report correct tuition and fee charges. A SCO may also act as liaison with the VA regional office on behalf of a student with specific benefit-related issues. The SCO can assist students in getting resolution on or explaining overpayment issues. The SCO is a key player in a student’s educational career.

might provide additional months of support for disabled veterans. The CO should have a clear understanding of, if not the direct ability to award, military training to college credit; this can assist the student with attaining a degree goal faster and comes in two “flavors.” The first flavor is standard training-tocollege credit, which will fill elective blocks. The second is academic-based training, which would fill core degree requirements. Many veterans and active-duty personnel have zero understanding of this element of their educational goal attainment process. Done correctly, this single process can greatly assist the student in attaining a four-year degree within the Congressionally-mandated time constraints. A committed CO will use the work study function provided to participants on a GI Bill or vocational rehabilitation program to train peer counselors who have the ability to “buddy up” and advise the new student of how “the unit works.” A great strength of the military is the standard of communication, which can be used to “ramp up” the new student on the most effective way to earn a degree.

Finally, a great CO will understand that most program participants do not have family support for their academic goal or are first-generation college students. In keeping with this, they will arrange for older veterans to mentor the new student veterans. These older veterans will demonstrate the value of attaining higher education and the success that can come along with the proper use of the degree. Students should understand that most COs do not have the ability to spend time with them. Students must ask many people questions to determine what is best for their particular situation or degree goal. A student must get beyond “being the NCO” and in charge; asking questions are key in the academic world. Finding the right person to ask questions is most important. Finding another veteran on campus who can assist will also help the new student. They will know about in-state tuition, credit transfers, military credit options, financial aid, spouse support programs—if any—and campus veteran clubs. Ask who to talk to on campus that helps veterans; the answer may be a faculty/staff member or a community veteran with knowledge of how the campus works.

Veterans Advocate Santa Fe College john.gebhardt@sfcollege.edu A good certification official (CO) will make sure all is done that can be done to have payment to the program participant in the shortest possible time. The CO has the unique understanding of all the GI Bills and may have insight as to how to maximize the number of months available to match the degree goal of the program participant. For example, if a student wants a two-year degree, and he is 100 percent eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, then that is the best use and payment return. If that student is an engineering major with many prerequisites and a heavy class load, then it may be best for that student to use the old Montgomery GI Bill for 36 months. Then, he could convert to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, providing another 12 months of support, to finish the four-year degree. Following that, several other potentials might be explored. A good CO will also explore support options from vocational rehabilitation and how that program www.MAE-kmi.com

MAE  8.6 | 11


Lyone Conor Assistant Registrar VA Certifying Official St. Mary’s College of California In short, I report students’ enrollment, tuition and fee charges to the VA electronically, but this gets complicated: The VA expects certifying officials to do accounting for GI Bill [Ch.33] and Yellow Ribbon [YR] eligible students. This means I tell the VA how much money YR students should receive each term, and I budget the declining balance for each Ch.33 student annually, in addition to working with constantly rotating counselors of Voc Rehab [Ch.31] students. Too often the institution is under- or overpaid, which leaves me corresponding with the VA anywhere from 10

Lora Lavery-Broda Associate Registrar VA Certifying Official Saint Leo University Saint Leo University maintains its headquarters operation at our university campus in Central Florida, where we were founded and where I work. I have many colleagues among VA certifying officials at Saint Leo, as we maintain continuing education centers in seven states, many on military bases. Each center is staffed with at least one VA certifying official [CO]. We are certifying enrollments for more than 3,200 students each year and growing. In part, this growth is due to our history: Saint Leo is celebrating our 40-year anniversary of educating the military in 2013, so we have gained the trust of students. Also, veterans are able to choose from our asso-

minutes to an hour via phone to correct financial errors on students’ records. With my college, certification also requires advising the financial aid office to award YR scholarships and the business office to prevent student holds due to pending VA payments. Other challenges include working with students experiencing PTSD and catching changes in course fees when students adjust their schedules, which invites more accounting of retroactive payments. Though crucial, certifying officials are not notified if a student’s eligibility increases, leading to significant budget and tracking errors. When students are overpaid, VA sends debt letters requesting repayment, but the letters sometimes go to students while the institution holds the money un-notified; other times we issue money to students, but the debt center comes after us. There are policies about requesting

return payments, but the rule is not always followed by the VA due to processing time. St. Mary’s College has no veterans office, so regardless of my expertise, I am contacted for questions about scholarships, medical insurance, transitioning from Montgomery to GI Bill, media relations, housing payments, etc. This also creates necessary collaboration from campus departments such as enrollment, college communications, the alumni office, counseling center, admissions, financial aid, business office, student support, and beyond. None of this reflects my primary role in the registrar’s office. Why the hassle? It enhances networking, professional development, and it is a change of pace, to say the least, from my other duties. Most importantly, it serves military students, who have endured a heck of a lot more than what I described above.

ciate, bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a number of fields, as well as a new Doctor of Business Administration. We are committed to serving veteran students and publicly recognize the importance of transparency and providing students with appropriate information. Compliance with the Executive Order 13607 strengthens our commitment. My responsibilities to the VA are to keep the administration informed of the enrollment status of veterans and to remain a subject matter expert on VA rules and benefit programs. I am the keeper of records and make them available during compliance surveys. My responsibilities to the veterans are much larger. I realize that veterans have many choices for an education, and my job is to make the business process as seamless as possible for them. As a CO I wear many hats. I am here to help them along on their educational journeys.

I provide an overview of all VA educational programs available to veterans. I am there for the veterans when they have a question about benefits and can act as a liaison for a student with the VA. I provide financial counseling when they want to drop or withdraw from a course. I listen when they start talking about their experiences, good and bad. When a servicemember or veteran contacts my office, they need to know that we are here for them, but we, too, are also bound by the routes of communication within the VA. The veteran or servicemember should know that we are employed by the school, not the VA. It may take us several days before we can get an answer; it doesn’t mean that we aren’t trying, it just means that sometimes it can be difficult for us to get a quick answer. Things run much smoother when veterans come prepared with the paperwork they need. A veteran should bring patience for the process so that we can work handin-hand to find a solution.

Some of the information I provide to a prospective student veteran includes completion of the free application for federal student aid and the application for benefits to the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA]. Veterans need to understand that my role is not to provide them with specific dollar amounts to be awarded to them by the VA; this is the job of the VA. I can only direct them to the VA website, where they can utilize the benefits comparison tools. The comparison chart may help them in making a decision regarding their election of the appropriate education benefits that will serve them best. I also instruct the veterans regarding the process within our office which they need to follow once they have been approved by the VA. Davis & Elkins College is also fortunate to have Veterans Upward Bound, a U.S. Department of Education

TRiO program dedicated to helping veterans of the U.S. military on our campus. I connect the veteran with the members of the VUB program. The program provides services and materials at no cost to the program participants. The program’s purpose is to facilitate enrollment into institutions of higher learning and aid participants in the successful completion of studies. My role is to be a liaison the student veteran can rely on to work for them with other offices on our campus. This includes, but is not limited to, the financial aid office and the student accounts office. My office, as a result of my position on campus, is seen as a welcoming place where veterans are comfortable seeking answers to their questions as they pertain to their student veteran education needs at Davis & Elkins College. O

Deborah A. Larkin Associate Registrar Veterans Liaison Officer VA School Certifying Official Davis & Elkins College larkind@dewv.edu My role as VA school certifying official involves providing information and guidance to prospective student veterans and, in some cases, dependents of veterans. As I receive inquiries from prospective student veterans, I want them to use me as a resource; not only for veterans’ education benefits in general, but also as a resource to Davis & Elkins College. I want to be able to share contact information for various programs, offices and services available to the veterans here at Davis & Elkins College. 12 | MAE 8.6

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Students who possess a high level of skill within a particular area of study often feel responsible to protect the discipline.

The focus on educational requirements for the job market centers primarily around baccalaureate degrees, but there are laudable reasons to consider graduate school— even the terminal degree with the most dreaded words in academia: Doctor of Philosophy. This writing considers the potential worth of pursuing advanced degrees. A professor of mine offered the pyramid concept for explaining levels of education from a freshman in undergraduate studies all the way through to a Ph.D. The bottom—the foundation of the pyramid—is the strongest part of the structure, and is represented by freshman- and sophomorelevel coursework. Consider that the general education subjects are at this level and regularly have course titles that begin words such as, “Introduction to,” or “Principles of.” Upper- and graduate-level coursework build upon this foundation, narrowing the discipline to the most intense level of specialty—the doctorate—at the top of this proverbial pyramid. A good illustration comes from my own music studies: My freshman history course was titled “Survey of Music Literature”; one of my senior courses was called “The Baroque and Classical Eras”; a master’s course was titled “Nineteenth Century Music in America”; and a doctoral course was titled “Electronic Music Since 1945.” Hopefully, the narrowing of time and styles is evident in this progression (Believe me: so was the increase in intensity!). Examples of this can be found in any discipline (and explain, in part, use of the word “nerd” for those outside the discipline and the words “I have no life” for those within it). Students within the discipline and pursuing the www.MAE-kmi.com

degree tend to thrive on the intensity and sub-specialization, while those outside the discipline will ask, “Why bother?” A curious consequence can develop out of this scenario that begs the question even further. Let’s consider a fictitious college student, whom we’ll call Brad. Brad selects his college major because he has an interest in the field, due largely because he is quite good at a particular skill within this field. Brad practices this skill a lot while he pursues two degrees in this field, and is ecstatic to land an entry-level job. Brad’s employer notes that he is good at the job and enthusiastic, too. He talks often with others in the company about techniques learned and experiences gained from the job. The employer thinks Brad would offer a good seminar to help others improve their skills on the same job. Brad proves that not only does he do his job well, but he’s a good instructor, too! The whole company is growing in quantity and quality, largely as a result of Brad’s performance and teaching skills. The employer decides that Brad could serve the company even better by being in charge of a major company division. Meanwhile, Brad considers his promotion and suddenly realizes that he is not engaging in the skill he loved to practice while he was in college. Another way of looking at this, again, from my original musical profession, is: The quickest way to get Brad, the hotshot clarinet player, to stop playing the clarinet is to make Brad director of the band. This might be great for the band as a whole, but what if he just wanted to play the clarinet for a living? This continues to beg the question: Why would anyone want to go through

By Bart MacMillan Education Services Specialist

the agony of a graduate degree, if this is the end result? There seem to be two driving forces for this: economy and personal legacy. Most graduate degree recipients see their salaries increase once the degree is completed, and typically continue to do so with the increase in responsibility. The sense of personal legacy can be harder to explain, finding its rewards in intangibles, and is often misunderstood (especially by those who would use the word “nerd”). Many who possess a high level of skill within a discipline feel a passion for and devotion to the discipline as well. Those teaching or in charge of others often see their positions as those of responsibility and protector of the discipline. They do not mind giving up opportunities to practice their skills to ensure that all future practitioners will “do it right” and with proper respect to the discipline. The legacy lives on in those they teach or lead, who then direct others who follow them. Those who pursue the “dreaded” Doctor of Philosophy add as additional incentive the sense of accomplishment in completing the doctorate and personal pride in being an international player in the field. The professor who described the pyramid concept also told me, “You have to really want this degree to get it.” Most who go through it answer the question “Why bother?” with “It was worth it!” O For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at lauralh@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

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CLASS NOTES Mount Washington College is Announced as Hesser College’s New Name Effective July 1, Hesser College became known as Mount Washington College, marking the transformation of the century-old New England college into a national online education innovator, which will soon offer lower-cost, onlineonly associate and bachelor degree programs in business administration in addition to its current ground-based offerings in Southern New Hampshire. Part of Kaplan Higher Education Group, the Mount Washington College team has re-imagined online higher education for career-focused, self-motivated students pursuing degrees in business administration. The college also plans to offer associate and bachelor degree programs in information technology next year, pending the necessary state and accreditation approvals. The new national online offering will be delivered through a performancedriven learning platform that is more affordable, flexible and convenient for the student as well as highly measurable gauging academic success.

Regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, through its Commission on Higher Education, Mount Washington College’s new national online program promises to dramatically expand the college’s reach to underserved adult learners while continuing to serve students through its five ground campuses in southern New Hampshire with programs in business, allied health, criminal justice, legal studies, graphic design and psychology. Enrollment for the new national online program in business administration opened July 15, 2013, with classes starting September 3, 2013. “The national online program created by Mount Washington College treats both time and money as the precious resources they are for those who serve in the military, veterans, and their family members,” said Scott Dams, vice president of admissions, Mount Washington College. “Beyond that, the program is specifically geared for selfdirected students and gives them greater flexibility than traditional programs, which

Mount Washington College finds can be more appealing for both active duty military and veterans. Finally, the exceptional price point—tuition is $6,000 per year—enables the education cost to be largely covered by current military and Department of Defense grant and financial aid programs.” “Time and money are two hurdles that keep many career-minded people from pursuing higher education,” said Andrew Temte, Ph.D., interim president of Mount Washington College. “The barriers are particularly high for adult learners who are working full time, raising a family, and balancing schedules while pursuing a degree. Mount Washington College seeks to help students overcome such challenges by offering degrees in a high demand field through this new, high quality, online instructional program which offers greater flexibility in course scheduling.” The national online program offers one of the most affordable price points of any regionally accredited online or traditional higher education program in the United States.

Schools Awarded DoD Contracts to Educate U.S. Troops in Europe In July, the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) was awarded a new contract worth approximately $250 million by the Department of Defense to educate U.S. servicemembers overseas. The contract calls for UMUC to offer exclusive undergraduate and graduate instruction at military installations across Europe. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (approximately $23 million), University of Oklahoma (approximately $32 million), and Central Texas College (approximately $27.5 million) were awarded contracts for similar services. UMUC first began sending faculty overseas in 1949 and has continuously served the higher education needs of active duty military and their families since. The new contract is renewed annually, extends through academic year 2022-2023. “Serving the needs of the U.S. military is in our DNA. We are extremely pleased and proud to continue our long history of educating troops overseas,” said Javier Miyares, president of UMUC. “This award affirms the dedication of our faculty and staff abroad and the commitment that is shared throughout the university to providing a quality education to those who sacrifice so much to protect us.” In addition to undergraduate liberal arts programs, active duty military personnel, their families and DoD civilians can earn graduate level degrees 14 | MAE 8.6

in a wide variety of disciplines, including cybersecurity, homeland security, social work and business administration. Under the new contract, UMUC will offer its MBA program for the first time in the Europe Command, in addition to partnering with two other institutions in the University System of Maryland for first-time overseas programs. Frostburg State University and UMUC will offer an undergraduate teacher education program, while Salisbury University and UMUC will offer undergraduate and graduate programs in social work. “Educating our troops is a privilege we take very seriously,” said Allan Berg, Ph.D., UMUC senior vice president and overseas director. “Our faculty and staff in Europe will strive to deliver the highest quality programs possible for our students.” Faculty will teach at U.S. military installations in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the U.K. and other locations as required. As part of its contract to deliver undergraduate programs, UMUC also will manage national test centers at over 20 installations in Europe. These test centers administer a large variety of exams designed to help service members advance their careers by qualifying them for key certifications and credentials. www.MAE-kmi.com


Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Baker College Online Adds Two New Programs to Fall Roster

American Public University System Marks Accomplishments of Graduates at 2013 Commencement

Baker College Online will offer two new programs beginning fall quarter: educational effectiveness master’s degree and political science bachelor’s degree. Registration is open now for classes that begin Thursday, September 26. The educational effectiveness graduate program will emphasize improving student learning in an era of accountability. Candidates will select one of two concentrations: P-12 education or higher education. “Baker College created this unique leadership program to address teacher accountability issues,” explained Christine Schram, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education, Baker College. “In general, data is driving the education system now. This program will help leaders keep student learning as the first priority while working to meet increased accountability standards.” The program will provide students with the context for learning in areas such as management, organizational development, budgeting, ethics, diversity and faculty evaluation. They will learn to locate research and best practice information, interpret and use data for decision making, and apply continuous improvement processes to the classroom as well as all aspects of administration. There will also be a strong emphasis on technology as a tool for managing information and improving efficiency. Schram said the educational effectiveness program is ideal for working teachers and educational administrators because of the flexibility of online classes. Baker College added the online political science bachelor’s program because administrators saw a growing demand for political science research and an increased interest in politics, foreign affairs and public policy especially in the areas of health care, immigration and the environment. “Few institutions offer an online political science program,” said Jill Langen, Ph.D., chief academic officer, Baker College Online and Center for Graduate Studies. “We were able to utilize our expertise to provide career-focused education with the convenience of online classes.” The program provides students the skills to analyze public policies, political organizations and governmental structures. Graduates of this program will be able to forecast economic, political and social trends, which are valuable employee skills for social, civic, not-for-profit, government and political lobbying organizations. “Because the program focuses on building the highly desired skill set of critical thinking, global perspectives, and written and oral communication, graduates will likely be in demand in the business industry as well,” Langen said. “Many may pursue graduate education in political science, business or law.”

American Public University System (APUS) celebrated the achievements of its largest graduating class ever of more than 8,700 American Public University and American Military University graduates at its 17th annual commencement on June 15 at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, Md. Wallace E. Boston, Ph.D., APUS president and chief executive officer, commended the lifelong learning commitment of the students, who ranged in age from 14 to 67. Those attending represented 29 countries and all branches of the U.S. military. They join APUS’s global network of nearly 29,000 undergraduate and graduate alumni worldwide. Other noteworthy highlights of the 2013 graduating class and commencement included the following:

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• The University’s School of Public Service and Health and School of Security and Global Studies conferred the largest number of degrees overall. • The U.S. Army had the most degree conferrals of any service branch, with more than 2,500 graduates. • APUS recognized the inaugural graduates from its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program during an special pinning ceremony. • Several Transportation and Logistics Management program graduates were approved for the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL) academic waiver program and received ASTL’s Professional Designation in Logistics and Supply Chain Management credential with their APUS degrees. • Emergency and Disaster Management graduate Carol Jeffers and Intelligence Studies graduate Eric Sifford received the President’s Award for outstanding academic graduate and undergraduate achievement, respectively. In related news, Phil Ice, Ph.D., APUS vice president of research and development and Sloan Fellow, received The James P. Etter Award for Creativity and Innovation in recognition of his internationally recognized research on the impact of new and emerging technologies on cognition in online learning environments. In addition, keynote speaker John E. Pereira, CIA chief of corporate learning, praised APUS for helping advance the cause of global online learning. He urged the graduates to live a life of continuous learning founded in principles of service, integrity and excellence.

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Marine Educator

Q& A

Ensuring That Marines and Their Families Can Achieve Their Education Goals Daryl R. Patrick Voluntary Education Program Manager Marine and Family Programs Division Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps Daryl Patrick is a native of West Point, Va. Upon his graduation from West Point High School, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1977 as an administrative clerk, and served his initial three-year tour of duty at Fleet Hometown News Center, U.S. Naval Base, Norfolk, Va. After he completed his tour of duty he returned to his hometown and attended Rappahannock Community College. He reenlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1985 and served until he retired in July of 2003. Patrick currently serves as voluntary education program manager at Marine and Family Programs Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps located at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Strayer University, Washington, D.C., and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma located in Norman, Okla. Patrick joined the Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) in October 2010. Prior to his employment with MCCS, Patrick worked at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps as an Education Analyst for Indtai Inc. from 2004 to 2010. Q: What led you to pursue a career in voluntary education? A: My personal and professional experiences provided me with the expertise on how to display my leadership qualities, of which the key component is that for you to lead others you have to be confident in your beliefs. I believe leadership experience isn’t about what you have done; it’s about what you have helped others do. The majority of my leadership traits were instilled in me by my mother, Elizabeth P. Patrick, who always told me to treat people the way you want to be treated. I continue to follow her advice today. Looking back at my past experiences, I can say I have gained a substantial amount of knowledge independently, in addition to my 26 years serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Serving as a Marine played a big part in shaping my leadership abilities. My last active duty assignment as education program manager provided me with valuable knowledge of the importance of our voluntary education programs, which led me to pursue a career in voluntary education. In my career path, I continue to play a part in establishing, maintaining and operating voluntary education programs for our Marines. Q: Could you please describe your duties as the voluntary education program manager of the Marine Corps? www.MAE-kmi.com

A: My duty as the voluntary education program manager is to ensure our Marines and family members are provided information and tools necessary to achieve their educational goals. In addition, it is my responsibility to develop partnerships with colleges and universities by creating programs that benefit our Marines. Q: I understand that you’re filling the role of voluntary education chief of the Marine Corps until a permanent replacement is found. What does this position entail, and what have your priorities been since assuming the position? A: On a couple of occasions I have had the opportunity to temporarily fill the role of voluntary education chief for the Marine Corps. During that period, my responsibilities were to serve as functional advisor to Marine Corps leadership on voluntary education issues to ensure visibility and viability of the program Marine Corps-wide, and establish and resolve issues for our voluntary education programs, which included the tuition assistance program, counseling, testing and support programs. Q: In March, you were recognized as the Military Educator of the Year by the Virginia Advisory Council for Military Education—congratulations! Can you tell me a little bit about that award, as well as any other highlights of your career? MAE  8.6 | 17


Education Programs Available to Marines 1. United Service Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) https://usmap.cnet.navy.mil

Purpose: USMAP provides a tool to document skills acquired while on active duty in the Marine Corps which lead to civilian recognitions and journeyman status in a trade or skill. In addition, it positively impacts readiness by providing an opportunity to improve personal and professional performance and encourage continuing educational advancement for Marines whose abilities and interests are in trade skills.

Background: In 1977, the Marine Corps and the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established the Marine Corps Apprenticeship Program with 27 military occupational specialties (MOSs). On August 20, 1999 a memorandum of

agreement was signed by Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, and Chief, Naval Education and Training to consolidate the Marine Corps Apprenticeship Program and the Navy National Apprenticeship Program, thus forming the USMAP. On April 7, 2000, the Coast Guard joined with the Marine Corps and the Navy. The “National Standards of Apprenticeship” were signed on April 11, 2000 by the Secretaries of Labor, Navy and Transportation. Of 300 enlisted MOSs, 257 are covered under USMAP trades/occupations employing apprenticeship. The USMAP is the largest apprenticeship program sponsor registered with the United States Department of Labor. It provides a total of 126 occupations.

Advantages of USMAP include: • •

Encourages training that is compatible to civilian trades. Completion of program enhances employment opportunities while on active duty or separated.

A: Thank you! This is a tremendous honor which would not have been accomplished without the support of my wife, Joan; team members in the Personal and Professional Development Branch; education services officers; and staff worldwide. To be recognized by a group of educational professionals from the military education community, military personnel, and universities and colleges that have made a commitment to provide the very best educational opportunities to those serving in uniform and for their family members as well is truly an honor. I will continue to strive to provide the utmost support to our Marines, veterans and their families. Q: How important is pursuing higher education for advancement within the Marines? A: To be an effective force in our nation’s defense, our Marines must not only be highly skilled, but also highly educated. The educational opportunities and incentives we offer make for a more capable Marine. Q: What trends, if any, are you seeing arise in military education as troops draw down from Afghanistan? A: A trend that I am seeing is that our servicemembers are more focused on achieving their educational goals, and they are opting for schools that will earn them a degree with fewer distractions, in the least amount of time. I also notice that there is an increase in the number of military online students and the new approach to online education by institutions. Since members are often relocating from base to base, distance learning programs provide the flexibility to study anywhere and at any time of day. 18 | MAE 8.6

USMC USMAP stats for fiscal year 2012: Enrollments: 8,108 Completions: 562

2. Montgomery GI Bill [MGIB] - Chapter 30 www.gibill.va.gov

MGIB is a participatory educational assistance program which provides education and training opportunities for individuals who first entered active duty on or after July 1, 1985. Effective May 1, 2001, active duty members, whose original education program is the MGIB program, are afforded the opportunity to make an additional contribution of up to $600. This additional contribution will increase the current monthly benefit up to $150 per month. This contribution must be made while the member is on active duty.

Q: In your opinion, what are the most significant challenges facing voluntary education today? A: The increasing expense of a post-secondary degree is one of the greatest challenges facing our servicemembers today; however, we were able to reinstate tuition assistance [TA] this fiscal year 2013, and continue to educate our Marines on all programs available to them. Q: What percentage of Marines typically takes advantage of TA? Would you say this number has increased after TA was reinstated this spring? A: Over the last five years, the percentage of Marines taking advantage of tuition assistance has averaged 15 percent. It is too early to tell if there will be a major change in the number since TA was reinstated in the spring 2013. Q: Are there any employment or education resources that you wish more Marines knew about? A: I would encourage Marines to visit their education center and speak to a counselor about all of our programs, including the United Service Military Apprenticeship Program [USMAP], Montgomery GI Bill, Post 9/11 GI Bill, Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support [DANTES], Pell Grants and other miscellaneous grants. [See sidebar for more comprehensive information about each program.] Q: What do you think has been the most important recent development in voluntary education? www.MAE-kmi.com


3. Post-9/11 GI Bill

Chapter 33

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an education benefit program for servicemembers who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. The benefits are payable for education pursued on or after August 1, 2009.

4. DANTES

www.dantes.doded.mil

I wish more Marines would utilize examination programs provided by DANTES. DANTES sponsors a wide range of examination programs to assist servicemembers in meeting their educational goals. The CreditBy-Exam with College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) exam can reduce the number of college courses Marines may need to complete their degree program. In addition, DANTES funds the first administration

of any of these exam test titles for military personnel.

Background: The primary mission of DANTES, in support of education programs of the military services, is to provide nationally recognized examination and certification programs. The following programs are sponsored by DANTES: • • • • •

CLEP tests for college credits Undergraduate admission tests Certification Guidance Interest tests

• • • •

College Composition Modular College Algebra Analyzing and Interpreting Literature History of the U.S. I and II Information Systems and Computer Applications Introductory Psychology Introductory Sociology Principles of Management Spanish Language (Level I and II)

The examinations offered through the DANTES Examination Program are available to active duty and reserve components of the Marine Corps. Many are free of charge for active duty servicemembers.

A list of a few CLEP tests that are available at the installation education service office: • • • •

Social Sciences and History Natural Science Humanities College Mathematics

A: One of the most important recent developments is the college/ university pathway that was integrated into the transition process for servicemembers. This track will provide transitioning servicemembers with valuable information about selecting a college/university, and will enable them to determine which college or university will satisfy their career interest. They also will be provided with valuable information such as enrollment procedures, admission requirements, educational funding, financial aid and scholarships. It is essential that we continue to provide our Marines and servicemembers with all the necessary tools to help them achieve their educational goals while serving and once they transitioned out of the military. Q: What education programs or policies inspire you the most? A: I am inspired by the new focus on credentialing and licensure programs. Credentialing is the process by which a qualified agent grants formal recognition to and records such status of entities (individuals, organizations, processes, services or products) meeting pre-determined and standardized criteria. Credentialing is the umbrella term used for the many types of programs that exist, including licensure, certification, accreditation, recognition designation and certificates. Over the past years, I have learned that not every Marine or servicemember is interested in attending a two- or four-year college/university. It’s encouraging to see the effort to address the gap between military training programs and civilian credentialing and licensure requirements. We must continue to build that bridge between military training and civilian employment. Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as the acting voluntary education chief? www.MAE-kmi.com

• • • • •

A: On a couple of occasions I was fortunate to be the Acting Voluntary Education Chief for the Marine Corps, and the most important lesson I learned was to listen to those with years of knowledge when determining how to properly align and focus a program’s need for the 21st century. In my opinion, no individual of an organization can achieve success without the help of others. For example, I was tasked with responding to various voluntary education issues that would improve our voluntary education programs, and I had limited knowledge and history of those issues. During those occasions, I relied on individuals who had years of experience in voluntary education, including current and former ESOs like Sam Bagwell, Susan McIntosh, and Loretta Huff. With their support and knowledge I was able to successfully complete those tasks and be successfully in filling the role as acting voluntary education chief. Q: Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share with our readership about the men and women of the U.S. Marine Corps? A: Our Marines are dedicated to enhancing their education. They are the future of our nation along with every other college graduate. As they complete their military service to our nation, they will become the new leaders of our nation. We must continue to provide them with all the support required to ensure they achieve their educational goals. To be successful, education will continue to be a stepping stone toward personal achievement. We will continue to provide our Marines with the necessary tools to continue the climb to success and prepare them for the new chapter in their lives once they leave the Marine Corps. O MAE  8.6 | 19


Veterans in the Arts

Employment in the creative fields is the perfect fit for many veterans.

By Laural Hobbes MAE Editor

So you’ve made the decision to transition out of the military. What next? You’ve certainly cultivated many skills throughout the time you have served; one way to fine-tune them is to apply them to your next career. The creative fields—whether manifested in the recording industry, visual arts, or even seasoning a gourmet meal—employ candidates with many of the talents developed through military training. These include not only specific technical skills, but “soft” skills like teamwork, responsibility, accountability, focus, self-discipline and time management.

The Los Angeles Film School “The recording industry is a perfect complement to the discipline, work ethic and passion that vets embody as they transition out of the military,” said Amber Chaib, the executive director of Military Community Relations at The Los Angeles Film School, which offers a Bachelor of Science in entertainment business and associate degrees in recording arts, computer animation, game production, and film and music production. “A recording industry career requires skills that veterans naturally exemplify, such as teamwork, punctuality, problem solving, and attention to detail.” By earning an associate degree in recording arts, students can apply these skills towards a career as a recording engineer. “From recording a rock band in a Hollywood studio to mixing a live orchestra in a concert hall, a career as a recording engineer can be a diverse, fruitful and incredibly rewarding endeavor,” said Chaib. 20 | MAE 8.6

In the studio, a recording engineer has many responsibilities that will heavily influence the way music, television, film and game sounds, including the reproduction, recording and mixing of audio; and technical aspects of a recording session. “I’ve always had an interest in music,” said Ruddy Salazar, an alum and president of The LA Film School’s Student Veterans of America chapter. “I still remember opening up a session in FruityLoops and creating my first drum loop. I honestly never really considered a career in the music industry—or rather never really knew about the types of careers out there. My first exposure was actually taking a Pro Tools class at community college. After some research, I made an appointment for a tour at The Los Angeles Recording School [part of The Los Angeles Film School]. Once I entered the first studio, I knew I was at the right place.” Salazar has already been credited on an album as assistant engineer. There’s no need to be nervous about lacking sound recording experience before you apply—students will learn everything they need to know in order to get a proverbial foot in the industry’s door while they’re enrolled. Like Salazar, students at The LA Film School will gain knowledge and hands-on experience with the “latest industry gear built by esteemed companies such as Avid, Solid State Logic, and Neve,” Chaib said, which will help them learn signal flow, mic placement, foley, editing and mastering. Students will also become comfortable operating cutting-edge digital audio workstations and learn how to create professional-grade audio on both analog and digital control surfaces. www.MAE-kmi.com


Veterans in the Arts The Art Institutes The Art Institutes system of schools offers a broad range of degree programs that will prepare students for careers in many creative fields, including culinary arts, fashion design and fashion marketing and management, graphic and web design, audio production, digital filmmaking and video production, media arts and animation, game art and design, and more. Veterans at The Art Institutes don’t need to start from scratch; they can draw upon the technical skills cultivated while in the military. “Naval servicemen who repaired shipboard computing equipment are at ease learning challenging 3-D design software,” said Stephen M. Butler, Ed.D., director of curriculum development and learning resources at The Art Institutes. “Army servicemen with backgrounds as staff photographers—or photojournalists who go on to pursue a degree in Martin Jones and Rodney Williams, military veterans and culinary students at Stratford University’s Baltimore campus, represented the Air Force at Safeway’s Barbeque Battle in Washington, D.C., on June 22-23. Their pork barbeque took first place. photography—enter at a higher skill level and may All proceeds benefited the Wounded Warrior Foundation. [Photo courtesy of Keith Evans of Stratford University] receive college credit for those experiences.” he or she shows his best work in a two-to three-minute video compiAccording to Butler, veterans have been seasoned with real-world lation, a series of captivating rendered images of 3-D game environexperience that might give them a leg up on their younger civilian ments and/or game props, or playable game samples,” he said. Each counterparts. “Usually the life experiences that all veterans have seen student’s portfolio is available online via the student’s website or blog. can make them good candidates for enrollment,” he said. “For examStudents who study Media Arts & Animation often want to make ple, the prospect of taking our required class in effective speaking can films or short films, and pursue positions with Walt Disney Animation make students who enroll right out of high school quite nervous—the Studios, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and DreamWorks. Students converse is usually true with our veterans.” can even turn a lifelong passion for video games into a career. “Our Special effects, animation, and game design and programming students who study Game Art & Design and also Visual & Game are all competitive industries. “This is where our focused instruction Programming tend to be very focused,” said Butler. “They know video really makes a difference,” said Butler. Prior to graduation, students games, they play video games, and they know what it takes to pursue will have their portfolios ready to show to employers and hiring mana career in that industry. They are prepared for entry-level positions at agers. “Depending on the student and his or her chosen area of focus,

Stratford degree programs are designed to meet the educational needs of the Military

• Stratford has accelerated programs – 15 months for an AAS degree, plus 15 months for a BS degree, and another 15 months for a Masters degree • Flexible class schedules – Day, evening, and weekend classes • Online degrees available in several programs • Five entry points per year: January, March, May, August, October • Career placement assistance • Free tutoring available • Veterans on staff for your assistance • Stratford accepts transfer credits – Stratford accepts transfer credit up to 75% for undergraduate and up to 50% for graduate degrees ow n bo

Rib

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ll Ye

703-734-5326 or www.Stratford.edu Falls Church, VA at Tysons Corner • Baltimore, MD at Little Italy Newport News, VA near Oyster Point • Richmond, VA at Glen Allen Virginia Beach, VA at S. Independence Blvd. • Woodbridge, VA at Potomac Mills

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MAE  8.6 | 21


Veterans in the Arts Student Spotlight: Brian Townsend The Art Institute of California–San Diego, a campus of Argosy University Bachelor of Science, Media Arts & Animation, 2010 Specialist (Ret.) Brian Townsend served as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, spending one year in Korea and one in Iraq. Townsend is currently a 3-D artist/photographer for Microsoft, and he was previously a digital media artist for Luxion Inc., where he was responsible for generating all visual marketing content, web development, and HDRI photography. In high school I was always the kid drawing in my notebook instead of taking notes, so it felt very natural for me to pursue a degree in the creative field. As long as I can remember, I had the urge to create, but I wasn’t really born with any natural talent in that area. I was always amazed by the work of professional artists. More than anything, I wanted to create work at that level—so I started teaching myself how to draw. Once I started to understand the process behind it, I realized creativity is a skill that can be learned. From there, I felt like formal training would be able to take me to the level of the artists that initially inspired me. The skills I learned in school helped me turn a hobby into a profession. As the 3-D artist/photographer for Microsoft Surface, I use skills I learned from the foundation classes [at the Art Institute of California–San Diego] on up through the most advanced classes. I can’t emphasize the importance of the fundamentals enough though. I fall back to those constantly and I still reference my fundamentals of design and color theory books. A typical week usually involves a variety of creative tasks such as photography, 3-D animation and graphic design. Often I help the design team photo realistically visualize their ideas long before they physically exist. This helps them work through design variations as well as communicate their ideas clearly to the engineering teams who

large game studios such as Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Sony Online Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Activision.” For students interested in creating the shots and effects for films, broadcast television, and cinematic sequences in video games, a degree program in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics can help. “Often these shots are not in-your-face explosions; instead they develop the story and the characters,” Butler clarified.

Stratford University At Stratford University, a private institution with campuses in Maryland and Virginia, veterans who know they’d like a career that allows a unique blend of discipline and creativity can pursue an associate degree in baking and pastry or culinary arts. “Our programs prepare students for entry-level positions in their chosen concentration,” said Jordan Lichman, associate program director, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Stratford University’s Woodbridge, Va., campus. “But because many of our students typically work while they’re in school, they are often experienced enough for slightly higher-level 22 | MAE 8.6

actually build the products. The most important task I have is to tell a clear story through images/animations as quickly as possible. Design rapidly changes on a daily basis and a great idea communicated poorly can stop a concept before it even has a chance. Before the military, I wasn’t the most academically inclined individual, so I knew I wasn’t ready to head to college right after high school. I knew I needed to do something to keep moving forward and I thought the military would be an exciting way to do this. My time spent in the service prepared me for school in ways I never imagined. Had it not been for the Army, I wouldn’t have had the same work ethic that allowed me to get so much out of my education. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not attended school, I would not be where I am today. The Art Institute of California–San Diego gave me all the tools I needed to become a well-rounded and focused professional.

positions in restaurants, hotels, etc. Others have prior experience as culinary specialists in the service. Several have worked in the White House, Pentagon, military competition teams, or for generals/admirals, and these students are often prepared to open their own business or work at the very highest levels of the hospitality industry.” While the baking and pastry associate degree curriculum is designed to teach students the tried and true methods that have delighted diners for ages, it also allows for students to experiment. “We do express and encourage the students to follow their inspiration when cooking during some of the upper-level courses. With baking being a cooking technique that requires a necessary science and exacting of ingredients for success, however, students are given an education in the limits involved,” said Eric Yeager, the culinary program director at Stratford University’s Baltimore campus. Necessary classes for the baking and pastry associate degree include Culinary Theory and Sanitation; Kitchen Fundamentals; Fundamentals of Baking; Artisan Breads; Cakes, Custards and Creams, which focuses on old-world traditions of cake production and custardstyle desserts and preparations, as well as their more modern incarnations; Wedding & Specialty Cakes; Plated Desserts, which focuses on www.MAE-kmi.com


Veterans in the Arts plate presentation and product choice for symmetry while achieving the more artistic asymmetric balance of today’s demanding customer base; Confectionary Production; Advanced Culinary Theory; Nutrition and Menu Planning; Dining Room Service, an externship, which gives students experience in the field; and general education requirements. Although the majority of course offerings require students to perfect techniques in a kitchen setting, many general education courses can be taken online. In addition to learning classic techniques, students will also keep up with contemporary trends, like specialty cupcakes and doughnuts. “We educate our students on popular trends and can adapt recipes accordingly within our demos and classroom production to show students the reason for some of the trend based-popularity of certain items,” said Yeager. The culinary arts curriculum, which is based primarily on classical French techniques such as sautéing, braising and frying, includes knife skills, sauces and stocks, cooking techniques, and a class in entrée production that builds upon previously learned skills. In addition to specialized requirements of supervision, nutrition and culinary theory, students will fulfill general education requirements and an externship. Students explore regional cuisines in classes in upper-level classes such as entrée production or occasional electives such as international cuisine, American regional cuisine, or international pastry.

At Stratford University’s Woodbridge campus, students can opt to take an elective course on street food, where they will learn about popular international dishes from around the world that are consumed in casual settings. “We have two former military students in our program right now who own food trucks and are attending our program to better child their own businesses,” said Lichman. The course culminates with a street food competition between teams of students that is open to the public. In terms of other public competitions, veterans and Stratford culinary students Rodney Williams and Martin Jones competed with a team representing the Air Force in Safeway’s Barbecue Battle held on June 22-23 in Washington, D.C., in which teams representing the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines competed over who could cook up the best chicken and pork barbeque. The Air Force team took first place on Sunday’s pork battle. [See photo on page 21.] With the generous allowance of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans who possess talents related to art, design, or cooking can now pursue their talents and interests to the fullest—as civilians. O

For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at lauralh@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

YOU’VE PROTECTED OUR TOMORROW.

NOW CREATE YOURS Yellow Ribbon Program Participant

Your military benefits can help you get an education at an Art Institutes school to launch your creative career. Whether you choose a program in the field of Design, Media Arts, Fashion, or Culinary, talented faculty will guide your learning and help you gain real-world skills as you work with the professional technology you’ll use in the workplace. We offer a number of resources to assist student veterans on their academic journey, including financial and credit counseling, assistance with PTSD, relationship support, and help with other challenges.

veterans.artinstitutes.edu

1.800.894.5793

It’s all about preparing you to create your tomorrow. Artwork (far left): Jevon Tsen, The Art Institute of Vancouver, 2009 Graduate, Diploma, VFX for Film & Television. Since The Art Institutes is comprised of several institutions, see aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info. The Art Institutes is a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University. OH Registration # 04-01-1698B; AC0165, AC0080; Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 1287, 3427, 3110, 2581. Certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. Administrative office: 210 Sixth Avenue, 33rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. ©2013 The Art Institutes International LLC. 070513 7/13

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MAE  8.6 | 23


Financial services want to employ veterans. By Anthony Boquet

Successfully re-entering the workforce is a top priority for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who are returning to our country after tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are coming back to a country that is only now beginning to recover from one of the worst recessions in the history of the nation. According to the April 2013 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobless rate for male veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was 7.6 percent, while for female veterans the jobless rate was 7.2 percent. These unemployment levels are consistent with the current overall unemployment rate for the rest of the country, which stands at 7.5 percent. Having consistent levels of unemployment, however, does not mean all is well. To put this in perspective, if you were part of a battalion of 1,000 soldiers, 75 of your fellow soldiers are out of work and looking for a job. Military spouses also face significant employment challenges. Their unemployment rate stands at 26 percent. That means more than one in four military spouses who need or want to work is unable to find a job. This must change. As a nation, we owe a personal debt of gratitude to each and every veteran. These men and women safeguard our nation, our freedoms and our way of life. Veterans and their family members often make tremendous personal sacrifices to defend this nation and uphold liberty throughout the world. They miss important milestones in the development of their children. They take time out from their jobs to serve their country. And sometimes they pay for our freedom with their limbs, their peace of mind, or their very lives. Helping our veterans transition to a successful civilian career is not an obligation, it’s a privilege. They are American heroes who serve this country with honor.

Financial Services Wants Veterans While many sectors of our economy continue to struggle, the financial services 24 | MAE 8.6

industry is currently looking to hire returning veterans. There are two primary reasons for this: 1. Demographics: Employment demand for personal financial advisors is projected to grow 32 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This demand will be fueled by the large number of baby boomers approaching retirement age. It is anticipated that as they get ready to retire, they will need the services of personal financial advisors. 2. The Greying of The Financial Services Industry: A recent study conducted by LIMRA (Life Insurance Marketing Research Association) and McKinsey & Company revealed that sales capacity in the insurance industry continues to be an issue. The average age of experienced life insurance agents and producers is over 50 and there are not enough individuals being groomed to replace them. Insurance companies are looking to hire new talent who can help them reach the 58 million American households who are underinsured. Veterans possess a variety of personal attributes that make them attractive candidates for positions at financial services organizations. These attributes can be found in a report issued in 2012 by The Center for a New American Security called Employing American’s Veterans: Perspectives from Business. It clearly articulates the values veterans can bring to organizations— including financial services companies. They include: • Leadership and teamwork skills: Veterans typically have led colleagues, accepted direction from others and operated as part of a team. • Comfort with structure and discipline: Veterans have experience following established procedures in order to achieve success, a key attribute for financial services firms.

• Flexibility: Veterans are accustomed to performing and making decisions in dynamic and rapidly changing circumstances. • Goal Oriented: Members of the armed forces have often achieved significant victories despite difficult odds. They know how to get the job done. • Resiliency: Veterans are accustomed to working in difficult environments, and to traveling and relocating. • Loyalty: Veterans are committed to the organizations they work for, which can translate into longer tenure and a better return on dollars invested in training. Another report issued by the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Ready to Serve: How and Why You Should Recruit Veterans, addressed some of the competitive advantages hiring veterans can bring to an organization. • Positive Reflection on the Brand: When you hire a veteran, you send a positive message about your organization. That message says that your organization is patriotic and that you want to assist and thank those who served our country. • New Customers: Sales organizations that rely on personal networks, appreciate the camaraderie and support veterans have for each other. New hires who have served in the armed forces have credibility with veterans. • Diversity: Veterans have learned how to work with individuals regardless of their race, religion, creed, gender, or sexual orientation.

Why Choose Financial Services? The advantages a career in financial services offers veterans make it a career worth considering. Helping Others: Members of the military often enlist because they want to be part of an enterprise that is dedicated to positive values and noble purpose. Most veterans care deeply about protecting America www.MAE-kmi.com


and the democratic values that have come to define our country. As a financial services professional, veterans can continue this tradition of service to others. For example, insurance agents help protect families from financial disaster. If the primary breadwinner meets an untimely end, insurance helps to make sure families keep their homes and send their kids to college. If someone is injured in an accident, health and disability insurance help people recover and pay the bills. Personal financial advisors help make sure that individuals have financial security during their golden years. Financial service professionals can make an important difference in the quality of life their friends, family and neighbors experience.

compensation for CLU and ChFC sole practitioners ranges from $83,000 to $89,000, while those with a CFP certification on average only earn $80,000 in total compensation. Paying for advanced education like the ChFC and the CLU can sometimes be challenging for veterans. To assist our returning heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan and their spouses in getting this essential education and making a successful transition to financial services, The Penn Mutual Center for Veteran Affairs at The American College offers full scholarships and job placement assistance to individuals who qualify. For more information, visit www.theamericancollege.edu/ pmcva.

Income: Veterans have the opportunity to earn good money in financial services. Taking classes and earning a financial services credential can make an important difference in take-home pay. There are two credentials worth noting. The Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) credential is commonly referred to as “the highest standard of knowledge and trust” in financial planning. Requiring the completion of nine college-level courses, this designation is the most comprehensive financial planning designation available. More than 50,000 professionals have earned this respected mark. The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation is the world’s most respected insurance designation. This prestigious course of study provides financial planning professionals with in-depth knowledge on the risk-management needs of individuals, business owners and professional clients. The CLU requires professionals to complete eight courses, and more than 102,000 professionals have earned this respected designation since its creation in 1927. In a 2010-2011 study conducted by the Financial Planning Association (FPA), senior financial planners who hold the CLU and ChFC designations earn 28 to 31 percent more, on average, than CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certificants. The median yearly total compensation for CLU and ChFC senior financial planning professionals ranges from $130,000 to $133,000 while CFP designees have a median income of $101,000. Data from the FPA earnings study also revealed that the median annual total

Long-Term Potential: As I mentioned earlier, the demand for personal financial advisors is expected to grow significantly over the course of the next decade. Consider this: Do you want to be a part of an industry that is consolidating or do you want to join an industry that is expanding? If you are a veteran who wants to develop skills that will be in demand for years to come and attain a measure of financial security for yourself and your family, financial services makes sense.

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Independence: Financial services offers individual the opportunity to both be a part of a large, financially strong institution and at the same time be in business for themselves. Typically, insurance agents own and run their own agencies. They align themselves with large companies by representing the organization’s products and simultaneously work as entrepreneurs who work independently to generate business. This unique structure provides individuals with the opportunity to determine their own income levels through hard work. In addition, being in business for yourself provides you with freedom. You have control over your hours and the flexibility to achieve work/life balance. This flexibility makes a career in financial services an attractive alternative for military spouses. With most major financial services companies, a spouse’s financial practice can be easily relocated to another area of the country. If a serviceman or woman is transferred, the spouse can “take their job with them.” Developing financial services expertise would be an

effective way to reduce the high levels of military spousal unemployment. Advancement: Because you determine your own income through your willingness to work, individuals who are successful frequently have the opportunity for promotion. This achievement-oriented structure rewards those individuals who want to move ahead without having to contend with office politics or the employment challenges faced by members of diverse constituencies. It can be ideal for ambitious self-motivated individuals.

A Chance to Prove Yourself If you are a returning veteran, you have served this country well. Your selfless devotion to your country means that you deserve an opportunity to get a good job. We understand that you don’t want a handout. All you want is a chance to prove yourself. The financial services industry can give you that opportunity. As I see it, providing veterans with an opportunity to not just find a job, but to embark upon a career in the financial services industry is a down payment on a debt owed to all our veterans. To all those veterans who are reading this today, thank you. You protected our way of life. Now it’s our turn to help you achieve the American dream. O

Anthony Boquet

Anthony Boquet is the vice president, executive director, Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs at The American College of Financial Services.

For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at lauralh@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

MAE  8.6 | 25


Staffing and Customer Service at Veterans Resource Centers The customer service experience at a veterans resource center (VRC) begins with a student’s very first visit. Veteran students should be immediately greeted and made to feel more than welcome; they should feel as though everyone in the VRC has been waiting for them to arrive. The mindset of the veteran or TEB (transfer of eligibility benefits; this term refers to students who have benefits transferred to them from an active duty parent or spouse) student should be considered. Previous attempts to have questions answered have most likely been met with people who don’t understand what the GI Bill is, nor how to assist them with using it to go to college. Many of these students have been misled and misdirected to the point of angry frustration. Depending on their experience, this may well be the first and last time they step into a VRC. The “concierge concept” of customer service is the ability to provide the exact answers and assistance needed, almost as if reading their mind. Valuable VRC staffing resources for this customer service concept are current veteran students working in the VRC as VA work study students. VA work study students (work studies) are well suited to empathize with and coach new veteran students; they have already been down the same road and can easily anticipate questions and needs. The basic eligibility requirements to work as a VA work study is a student using GI Bill benefits who is attending classes at least threequarters of training time. Most importantly, VA work studies are veterans and share a bond

stretching across all military branches, establishing immediate credibility. VA work studies function as transition coaches or peer mentors, which have proven to be very effective in this sort of application. TEBs are a different demographic and require a different customer service connection. Great customer service involves two key things: 1) an authentic desire to help, and 2) comfortable and trusting communication. With veterans serving veterans, both of these key items are natural. However, for a TEB, there is no traditional veteran connection. The solution is a TEB VA work study. TEBs also meet the eligibility requirements to work as VA work study students and add a needed dimension to the customer service connection for this growing demographic of TEB students. Many of the TEBs may be living in the residence halls on campus, which presents new challenges to nontraditional age veteran students. Again, the peer mentoring concept applies with the alignment of TEBs with TEB VA work study students. One last point to make for the “concierge concept” customer service: A VRC staff member should escort and advocate for new veteran students/TEBs if they are referred to another office on campus and not just send them on their way. The director of the VRC should establish a strong working relationship with key offices on campus that will be regularly interfacing with the VRC staff, such as registrar, admissions, financial aid and advising. Building this relationship and

By Marc Churchwell

identifying primary points of contact as the “go to” people paves the way for future support needs of the VRC. In summary, VA work study students are excellent VRC staff resources for helping fellow veterans and TEBs. Some initial training will be necessary to ensure they understand the customer service process and level of expectation as well as the particulars associated with the different chapters of VA educational benefits. Remember, there is only one chance for a first impression. Take advantage of every opportunity and take care of our veterans as they deserve! O

Michael Heberling, Ph.D.

Note from Mike Heberling, CCME president: This month, Marc Churchwell wrote a thought-provoking article on improving the customer service experience at veterans resource centers. Make sure you plan on attending the CCME Symposium in Savannah, Ga., February 10-13, 2014.

PlEASE JOIn US FOR THE...

CCME 41st AnnuAl syMposiuM & Exhibition February 10-13, 2014 • Savannah, GA At The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa/ The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center

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• Military Friendly Schools List honored Oregon Tech among the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools. • Military Times' Best for Vets: Colleges ranked Oregon Tech in the top ten percent of 650 schools. Check online for our list of programs and majors, including 4 technology-focused Bachelor Degrees in Management.

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The advertisers index is provided as a service to our readers. KMI cannot be held responsible for discrepancies due to last-minute changes or alterations.

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Calendar July 31-August 3, 2013 2013 SVA Leadership Institute Indianapolis, Ind. www.studentveterans.org/index.php/component/ content/article/2-uncategorised/102-2013leadership-institute-application.html

September 23, 2013 Military and Veterans Employment Fair Cedar Falls, Iowa

October 17-18, 2013 2013 MBA Veterans Career Conference Chicago, Ill. http://mbaveterans.com/2013-conference

NEXTISSUE

September 2013 Vol. 8, Issue 7

Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Worley II Director Education Services Department of Veterans Affairs

The Careers in Health Care Issue

Features • Career Fairs • Veterans Resource Centers • Accelerated Programming Roundtable

• Academic Services for Online Learners • Careers & Transitions: Health Care • Creative Writing Programs

Insertion Order Deadline: August 19, 2013

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Bonus Distribution NGAUS Air & Space

Ad Materials Deadline: August 26, 2013

MAE  8.6 | 27


UNIVERSITY CORNER

Military Advanced Education

Brian P. Foley Provost, Medical Education Campus Chair, Military Services Advisory Council North Virginia Community College beneficiaries to increase their employment marketability.

Q: To begin with, could you please provide a brief overview of your school’s history, mission and curriculum? A: Founded in 1964, Northern Virginia Community College [NOVA] is a comprehensive two-year institution offering more than 120 areas of study leading to associate degrees or certificates. We are the largest institution of higher education in Virginia and in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. NOVA enrolls approximately 78,000 students at its six campuses, three centers and online through the Extended Learning Institute [ELI]. In addition, we are one of the leading community colleges for awarding associate degrees in the United States. NOVA has a dedicated medical education campus responsible for educating and preparing nursing and allied healthcare professionals. We are the leading provider of trained health care workers and first responders in Northern Virginia and the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. Q: What makes your school unique in the benefits and programs you offer to military servicemembers? A: Northern Virginia has one of the largest military populations in the nation. Our military-affiliated student enrollment is approximately 7,000—almost 10 percent of our total student population. NOVA’s Office of Military Services helps all members of the military community navigate the admission process, connects students with academic advising, and provides information on educational benefits. We have dedicated military and veterans’ advisors on each of our campuses and nearby military installations [Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer-Henderson Hall, and Quantico]. We belong to the Servicemembers Opportunity College network, subscribe to the President’s Principles of Excellence, and have been named a military-friendly school for the past five years. Q: What online degree and certificate programs do you offer, and how do these 28 | MAE 8.6

Q: How has your school positioned itself to serve military students?

distance learning programs fit in with the lives of active duty and transitioning military personnel? A: According to a DoD report in 2012, 78 percent of the classes funded by military tuition assistance were in an online or blended course format. We understand that distance learning programs have an important place in the lives of our military students. Our distance learning program—NOVA’s ELI— currently offers more than 400 online and hybrid courses, and students can complete courses in as few as eight weeks. Our ELI courses allow students to continue their studies from virtually anywhere in the world. In addition, NOVA has developed partnerships with online four-year institutions that provide a pathway to an affordable bachelor’s degree. Q: What are some of your most popular programs, and which ones are the most appealing to military students? A: Our most popular programs are the associate degrees in general studies, business administration, liberal arts, nursing and allied health. Our transfer-oriented degrees offer a very attractive route for students who plan on continuing in higher education because they parallel the first two years of many four-year bachelor’s degree programs. Students who graduate from NOVA are guaranteed admission to more than 40 colleges and universities across the United States when they meet the agreement requirements. Our non-credit workforce development programs offer another venue for military

A: NOVA’s veteran graduation rate is 18 percent, in comparison to the national average of 3 percent. In an effort to increase retention and graduation rates, NOVA is implementing new strategies focusing on pre-enrollment advising for active duty servicemembers prior to their retirement or separation. In addition, NOVA offers information sessions for veterans, active duty servicemembers and military spouses to help them make a successful transition to college. NOVA has a robust prior learning assessment program that allows students to transfer in credit for military education and training, CLEP and DANTES tests, and other educational experiences. In addition, NOVA has recently developed a program with the Marine Corps to award a substantial amount of credit for certain IT MOSs [military occupational specialty codes]. We are also part of the Troops to Energy Jobs initiative. Furthermore, NOVA offers comprehensive, grant-funded career planning and job placement assistance to veterans. NOVA works closely with local veterans’ and civic organizations to make their resources available to our students. Enrolling, retaining and graduating military beneficiaries [active duty, veteran and military spouses] is our ultimate goal. Q: Closing thoughts? A: The military recruits the servicemember, but retains the family. The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts [MyCAA] program is an excellent program to support military families. This program provides up to $4,000 [over two years] of financial assistance for military spouses who are pursuing degree programs, licenses or credentials leading to employment in portable career fields. MyCAA is eligible for the spouses of junior enlisted, warrant officer and officer servicemembers. O www.MAE-kmi.com


Over 60,000 military alumni within our ranks. Having already helped so many members of the military community, we understand the challenges veterans, active duty servicemembers and military spouses face. Whether in the military or civilian world, we can help you enhance your career. See how we’re helping military members get to work. phoenix.edu/mil

University of Phoenix is a longtime member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC). No Federal or Marine Corps endorsement of advertisers or sponsors is implied. The University’s Central Administration is located at 1625 W. Fountainhead Pkwy., Tempe, AZ 85282-2371. Online Campus: 3157 E. Elwood St., Phoenix, AZ 85034. © 2013 University of Phoenix, Inc. All rights reserved. | MIL-01941


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