4 Questions about Yellow Ribbon Schools and Military Benefits

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Soldier dressed in fatiques looking at his laptop

Yellow Ribbon schools offer unmatched benefits to military veterans. In fact, they cover the entire cost of tuition. But while there is a lot to be gained, there is also some confusion about how the program exactly works.

Yellow Ribbon schools offer additional funding to help eligible veteran students pay for the balance that is left after their annual contribution from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been maxed out. To be eligible under the Yellow Ribbon program, students must be utilizing the Post 9/11 GI Bill (at the 100 percent level) and cannot be on active duty. Additionally, the Yellow Ribbon designation is not available to students whose active duty spouses transferred the Post 9/11 GI Bill to them.

We spoke to Vanessa Weber, assistant director of military and veteran education benefits (MVEB) at Azusa Pacific University, to learn more about what participating schools offer veterans and their families.

  1. How are military benefits similar to scholarships?

Weber noted that military benefits are similar to scholarships in that they do not have to be repaid as long as the student completes his or her classes and maintains a steady enrollment status (i.e. does not drop from full-time to part-time partway through a term).

  1. How are they different from scholarships?

Military benefits have a more rigorous approval process than scholarships. “Military benefits are very different than scholarships because they go through various approval channels,” explains Weber. The benefits must be approved by the university’s military benefits office, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense, depending on the benefit type. Additionally, military benefits are earned through selfless service to the country. There is no competition or merit-based system that limits potential beneficiaries of the Yellow Ribbon program.

  1. What makes APU’s military benefits unique?

Azusa Pacific University offers a very generous Yellow Ribbon contribution. “Whereas other schools may offer Yellow Ribbon only to a set number of eligible students, APU provides for every student who qualifies,” says Weber.

APU has noted that it is committed to supporting every veteran and minimizing the sense of competition for financial and personal resources. The university’s benefits are not just limited to veterans; APU facilitates tuition assistance for active duty military members and their spouses.

  1. How does APU support military members and veterans?

In addition to the Military and Veteran Education Benefits office, APU also supports military members and veterans through the Military and Veteran Services (MVS) office. Whereas MVEB is involved solely in the processing of military benefits, MVS provides a number of services and resources—including the Veterans Club and events specifically designed for military-connected students.

Yellow Ribbon schools are committed to helping veterans graduate from college debt-free, regardless of their in-state status or whether the school is public or private. That expands educational opportunities beyond what the GI Bill provides, and it demonstrates a university’s commitment to veterans both inside and outside of the classroom.

Author-John Montesi

Source: Reprinted with permission from Azusa Pacific University

Maximize Your Education Benefits

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Black female army soldier with backpack and books

Don’t waste one of the greatest benefits of military service: a college education. Use these tips to get started and to make the most of the educational benefits you earned.

Ask How, What, Where

You’re now out of the military and want to attend school on the GI Bill. Where do you go? Ask yourself three questions when deciding on a school: 

How will you attend school: on campus or online? Evaluate your employment schedule, family circumstances and a commute. You might have to relocate to be close to a university campus. Some traditional universities have begun offering online degrees, and many for-profit institutions specialize in online education. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of taking classes online , and pick a method of learning that best suits your lifestyle.

What do you want to study? This question should help narrow down where you want to get an education. Schools offer different kinds of programs, degrees and certificates, and not all are equal. Some value programs over others or have particularly strong departments. Identify what you want to study early so you can save credits by not changing degree plans in the future.  

Where do you want to be when you graduate? In the competitive job market, where you went to school may help or hinder your chances at employment. A degree from a private school in one state might be prestigious in its borders but overlooked elsewhere. Choosing a nationally recognized school can help when employers evaluate your educational background.

  1. The GI Bill as an Investment

The GI Bill does not last forever. You are granted 36 academic months to finish your degree plan—whether it’s to get a certificate, undergraduate, or graduate degree. The bill comes to you on behalf of taxpayers, but it’s not free and should not be wasted. Many people change majors in the course of their life, but it’s a risk when it comes to the GI Bill. There is not much room to adjust and take different classes once your basics are out of the way. Weigh your different degree options and make your decision before taking major-centric courses. Doing so will minimize the risk of exhausting benefits and paying out of pocket for the rest of your classes.

Be prepared to research the quality of education offered by the school you want to attend. While Veterans usually don’t need federal student loans while using the GI Bill, default rates of individual schools can help indicate the ability to secure a job that pays high enough to pay down loans. The Department of Education’s National Center of Education Statistics utilizes a school search directory to evaluate schools on these grounds. Look up schools you’re interested in and find out how graduates fare after they walk the stage.

  1. Anticipate the Unpredictable Job Landscape

Another reason to take post-military education seriously is the unforgiving job market. Veterans leaving the service after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan—those most able to take advantage of education benefits—face a disproportional amount of unemployment compared to civilians. Veterans face a civilian workforce that doesn’t understand their skills and worries about the burden of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. And according to a VA-sponsored study, Vets often earn less than their civilian counterparts, even with degrees in hand. The takeaway is this: Veterans already enter the workforce at a disadvantage, so make your education bullet point on your résumé stand out just as much as your military experience.

  1. Trust, but Verify

Schools will always welcome your dollars, whether you pay them through loans, scholarships or GI Bill tuition. Unfortunately, some schools use aggressive and questionable practices to enroll students and deliberately exaggerate the earning potential of degrees earned. Resources like Payscale can help determine earning power right out of school and break down how much you stand to make depending on the type of college you attend: public, private, and for-profit. If an enrollment adviser says you will make big money after graduating, think back to the used car lots that litter the roads outside of military bases. They might be selling the equivalent of a car with 200,000 miles for a low interest rate of 18 percent.

  1. Beware of Questionable Research Aids

Go to Google and search for “GI Bill schools.” The first link you get isn’t a page run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The first result is GIBill.com, and it uses the name of the most recognized public education program in existence to its financial benefit. It appears to be a legitimate site for information, but a cursory search of its privacy policy shows it is owned by an online marketing firm that, according to a major business publication, specializes in directing students to for-profit schools through its page. It’s a questionable marketing strategy that seeks to legitimize a page that serves little purpose other than to funnel student Veterans and convince them their options for education are limited to their advertisers. There are 6,500 schools across the country that allow GI Bill benefits; only use VA’s school locator to find qualifying programs. Avoid suspicious websites drowning in advertisements.

  1. Reintegration is Key

The challenges of schoolwork paled in comparison to the difficulties of finding footing in an unfamiliar civilian world—it can take only a few classes to start to realize you can be a changed person after service. As painful as it was, the reintegration process can expose you to different people and ideas that can put you on a path to feeling normal again. For many Veterans, education after the military acts as a first exposure to college and the first challenge of reintegration. Therefore, the campus becomes training wheels for the professional world and allows you time to comfortably adjust to the slower pace of civilian life. If you’re undecided between a physical campus and an online school, consider the benefits of surrounding yourself with other students before you enroll.

Do What’s Best for You

The quality of education a Veteran receives with his or her benefits is a serious matter that can’t be taken lightly, and it is with these tips that we hope Veterans can fully maximize their hard-earned benefits. The GI Bill is a return on an investment that was measured in sweat and blood, often drained on foreign soil. Make it count.

Source: va.gov

Kean University Student-Veteran Receives K-9 Service Dog

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K-9 Keen and Jason Pryor stand outside in a group photos with student body members

Jason Pryor of Elizabeth received the K-9, named Keen, as a gift from the Kean Office of Student Government.

A special Veterans Day ceremony was held on Kean University’s Union campus as senior Jason Pryor, a U.S. Army veteran, introduced the K-9 service dog that he received through an on-campus fundraiser.

Pryor, a senior from Elizabeth majoring in exercise science, did tours in Iraq and Honduras and suffers from PTSD. He received the K-9, named Keen, at the start of the Fall semester as a gift from the Kean Office of Student Government.

“Being with Keen has taught me to be more patient,” said Pryor, whose dog accompanies him to class. “Keen is used as a measure to help prevent me from going through the symptoms and effects of spiraling down, by me tending to his needs and having him tend to me.”

Kean is ranked first in the nation among large public schools for its programs supporting student-veterans, according to the Military Friendly Schools survey.

Student Government raised nearly $20,000 to support service dogs through Rebuilding Warriors, a volunteer non-profit organization whose mission is to provide trained service dogs to veterans. The bulk of the funds raised went toward training Pryor’s dog, and the rest was donated to Rebuilding Warriors to help train other K-9 dogs.

At the ceremony held outside Miron Student Center, Vito Zajda, director of Veteran Student Services at Kean and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, called Pryor a remarkable student.

“He has been a big support and influential person in our program,” Zajda said. “He has helped open our eyes about how the University can best support its vets.”

Vice President of Rebuilding Warriors Jeff Mullins, also a veteran, said post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can’t be seen by others. ”It’s invisible, stays with you your entire life, and it’s not easy sometimes,” he said. “Our goal is to provide veterans and first responders with a service dog to help them achieve their new normal.”

The University’s Veterans Day event included a color guard, a performance of the national anthem by the Kean Gospel Choir, and the presentation of other honors.

Juan Leon Torres, a senior from Spotswood also studying exercise science and a U.S. Navy veteran, received the 2019 Kean Veteran’s Award for OutstandingK-9 Keen service dog to U.S. Army Veteran pictured sitting next to his new owner Mentor. He develops transition opportunities and initiatives, and mentors a student-veteran each semester.

“Being a veteran and going back to school is super hard because you go from one community to a different lifestyle,” Torres said.

Zajda noted that it is important to support veterans at all times. “The importance of Veterans Day is to recognize that it’s 365 days a year, as veterans go through different highs and lows in their lives,” he said.

K-9 Keen, the service dog accompanying student-veteran Jason Pryor (pictured at top, left of center, in red shirt), is part of the Kean University community. The Kean Office of Student Government raised funds to donate the dog.

About Kean University

Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral degree programs and more than 80 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit kean.edu.

Some Disabled Vets to Get Automatic Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

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Paralyzed veterans seated in their wheelchairs

President Donald J. Trump recently signed a presidential memorandum intended to streamline the process of erasing federal student loan debt for totally and permanently disabled veterans.

Through a process called Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge, veterans will now have their student loan debt discharged unless they decide to opt out of the process.

The Department of Education anticipates notifying more than 25,000 eligible veterans and continuing the discharge process on a quarterly basis.

The executive order builds on improvements to the TPD discharge process implemented by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie.

The education department established a data matching process with the VA in April 2018 to identify totally and permanently disabled veterans who are eligible for student loan relief. Since then, this process has resulted in more than $650 million in student loan relief to more than 22,000 eligible vets.

Veterans will reserve the right to weigh their options and to decline loan discharge within 60 days of notification of their eligibility. They may elect to decline loan relief either because of potential tax liability in some states or because receiving loan relief could make it more difficult to take future student loans.

Eligible veterans who do not opt out of the program will have their remaining student loan balance discharged and will be reimbursed for payments made following the date of their disability discharge.

Carrie Wofford, president of Veterans Education Success, issued a brief statement calling the administration’s action “a welcome development on an issue we have been leading since November 2018.”

She said what began as a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the education department grew to include advocacy by military and veteran service organizations, 51 state attorneys general and bipartisan Congressional support and “has led to student loan debt relief for thousands of disabled veterans.”

“We strongly urge the Education Department to complete these loan discharges by September 30, 2019,” the statement concluded.

Continue on to diverseeducation.com to read the complete article.

A Guide to Pursuing an MBA

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veteran student

By Ron Kness

Whether going to school or working for a company, an important component to success is fitting in and feeling like you belong there.

If the school or business is veteran friendly, you will feel like you are “part of the family”—just like when you were serving. Others around you will understand the military lingo that you still use.

They can relate to your experiences when you need someone to talk to.

And if you have this comfort level, you will do better in your coursework or at your job.

Even though the MBA program or job may seem like a perfect fit in the beginning, you’ll soon question if you made the right choice if that veteran friendliness is lacking.

Is Your MBA program military friendly?

Choosing an MBA degree program is an important educational and career decision. After all, an advanced degree serves as a key to career advancement—with the company, position and experience being other factors. Just the difference in starting wage between having an undergraduate and MBA degree is significant—$54,000 versus $70,000 (minimum) respectively. Graduates from the top MBA programs start at six figures right out of school. Run the salary difference between the two types of degrees out over a 30-year career and the number is staggering.

But the first mission is choosing an MBA program. While only you can make the final choice, here is a thought-provoking checklist to help you arrive at a decision:

Does the school have a veterans’ association chapter on campus?

Once out of the military, veterans miss the comradery. Schools having a veterans’ association on campus not only gives veterans a place to meet, but gives the school administration ideas on how to make a veteran’s experience better while at their school.

Is the MBA program also offered online?

Many veteran students are also stay-at-home dads, struggle with PTSD or just like the flexibility of being able to study whenever the time fits into their busy schedule, so an MBA program being offered online can be a deciding factor. More and more, schools are offering the same MBA program both on-campus and online … even with the same curriculum.

Is the school part of the Yellow Ribbon Program?

This can be a true indicator of just how much a school supports veterans. If they support an unlimited number of graduate students with a maximum contribution of at least $9,000 or more per year per student, they have a great Yellow Ribbon Program. It actually ends up being twice that amount because the VA will match whatever contribution the school provides – in effect doubling the amount.

Is the MBA cost-effective?

While cost won’t be much of an issue if attending a public school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill or a private school under the same GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program, it’s a primary consideration if not using either. While going the cheapest route is not always a good decision, going the most expensive may not be either. Choose a route that will get you the best education that you can use to reach your career goals.

Does the school have an accreditation that is recognized by the career field?

Some of the for-profit schools were in the news lately where graduates discovered their school’s accreditation wasn’t recognized by their chosen career field. Not only was it costly to get their degree but not any of it was of value in getting the job they wanted.

Funding MBA Programs for Veterans

Post 9/11 GI Bill

For veterans having entitlement left from their Post 9/11 GI Bill, this can be a major source of MBA funding. When shopping for schools, check the Weam’s School Search to see if the MBA program is in the school’s list of programs—double check by asking the question when visiting the school.

With the GI Bill, the VA pays the school directly up to the resident tuition cost and eligible fees. Monthly, students receive a housing allowance determined by the zip code of the school and number of credits taken. Also students receive up to $1,000 per academic year in a book stipend.

One housing allowance difference to be aware of is for students taking all online courses—in this case students are limited to about half of what they would get if attending classes on campus. A loophole that still exists is to take one class per semester that can be applied to your degree plan (and the rest of your credits that semester online) to get the increased housing amount.

Yellow Ribbon Program

To be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program, students must use the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under this program, the school declares to the VA how much they will waive in tuition as well as how many students they will accept into their YRP each year, the degree levels covered and the maximum contribution per student. The VA pledges to pay an equal contributed amount.

The Weam’s School Search shows on the first page if the school is a Yellow Ribbon School or not, or you can visit the VA’s Yellow Ribbon School website to search by school.

Source: affordablecollegesonline.org

How Wharton’s EMBA Program Adds Value for Military Students

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The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania helps students accelerate their careers, whether they are staying in the military, planning a future transition, or working in the private sector through its MBA Program for Executives.

The program delivers the “undiluted Wharton MBA to working professionals,” with programs in both Philadelphia and San Francisco that work around a full-time work schedule and offer many benefits for military and veteran students.

Application Fee Waiver and Financial Aid

As a small token of our appreciation, we waive the application fee for all U.S. military applicants. To request a waiver, contact the admissions team of the program to which you’re applying before submitting your application.

Also, if you qualify for all military financial aid programs, it is possible to bring your total out-of-pocket expenses for this program to less than $12,000. We’ve included some resources for additional information about financial aid below.

GI Bill

Both active duty service members and veterans are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The GI Bill amount is $23,671.94 per year for the 2018–19 academic year. This amount generally increases by a small percentage every year so check the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at gibill.va.gov for the most up-to-date information.

The VA defines the academic year as August 1–July 31. Because our program starts in May every year, our students qualify for three payments of up to $23,671.94 (up to $68,416), based on eligibility percentage as determined by the military.

Yellow Ribbon Program

In addition to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans who are eligible for 100 percent of the GI Bill and retired at the start of the summer term can qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Wharton has an unlimited number of Yellow Ribbon spots for the full-time and executive MBA Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program awards $12,500 per fall and spring semesters, for a total of $50,000.

Applying for the Yellow Ribbon Program is not difficult—once accepted, students submit their certificate of eligibility to the Student Financial Services Office (executivemba.wharton.upenn.edu/emba-tuition-financial-aid/).

Basic Allowance for Housing

To calculate your estimated benefits, enter your own personal information using the GI Bill Comparison Tool at va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool/.

Additional Financial Aid Resources

Military students may qualify for additional scholarships, including the FRA Education Foundation and AT&T Veterans. Wharton’s EMBA program also awards a few merit-based scholarships each year. These scholarships are based on the individual applicant and the applicant pool. Consideration is automatic, and awards are granted as part of the admissions offer.

Wharton’s Military Network

We recognize that our military applicants are faced with unique circumstances and we welcome the opportunity to assist you in any way possible. We have a very tight network of military students, and we would be happy to connect you up with any of them so that they can share their personal perspectives and experiences.

Wharton Veterans Club

The Wharton Veterans Club is committed to assisting transitioning service members and veterans who are interested in pursuing an MBA. There are more than 80 veterans and active military members in the club, and they take great pride in their military service and are extremely proud to be a part of the Wharton community.

They host Wharton MBA military visit days throughout the year, provide support and mentorship through the application process, and connect applicants with military alumni.

Wharton Stories

Rebecca Bennett

Test Pilot, U.S. Navy

EMBA, 2019, Wharton Philadelphia campus

Prior education: Cornell University, B.S., chemical engineering

Military experience: “I joined the Navy in college to be part of something bigger than myself and to Rebecca Bennett standing next to army helicopterserve my country. I’ve always done things that challenge me because I believe you grow when you go outside your comfort zone, so I chose to become a pilot and headed to flight school. I opted to fly helicopters because I was passionate about the helicopter missions, which often involve hurricane relief and search and rescue, and I wanted to fly with a crew. I did a few deployments around the world, and then I was selected and attended the U.S Naval Test Pilot School. Now, I work as a test pilot where my job is to help develop and test new technology and equipment for Navy helicopters before those products are deployed to helicopter units around the world.”

Getting an MBA: “When my commitment to the military is up in the summer of 2019, I plan to separate from the military and get into business. I believe companies have incredible opportunities to tackle some of the problems facing society today, and I want to be on the leading-edge of the technologies being developed to solve those problems. I want an MBA to learn how to leverage my military background and gain new business knowledge to transition into the private sector.”

Military students: “One of the great things about this program is that it brings people with all sorts of backgrounds together. Even so, sometimes I find there can be a stark divide between veterans and civilians – we speak a different language and it’s sometimes hard for each side to understand what the other does for their job. This program has helped me bridge that divide. It has also allowed me to better understand my opportunities in the private sector as well as explain how my military background adds value.”

Value of Wharton for military students: “The Wharton network is an incredible benefit. I’ve sent cold emails to alumni with an almost 100% response rate. Alumni are willing to get on the phone and talk about their jobs, which is something I didn’t expect when I came here. I’ve also learned a lot from my fellow classmates. And, of course, the academics are phenomenal. I am getting the business knowledge necessary to make a smooth transition to the private sector.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill.”

Chris Robinson

F/A-18 Instructor Pilot, U.S. Marine Corps

Position after graduation: Investment Banker, Goldman Sachs

EMBA, 2019, Wharton San Francisco campus

Prior education: Boston College, B.A., economics and political science

Chris Robinson standing outside with his familyMilitary experience: “I joined the Marines as an undergraduate student to serve something greater than myself. I served on two deployments, including one to the Western Pacific and one to the Middle East. More recently, I’ve served as an instructor pilot teaching newly winged aviators to fly the F/A-18. This year, I’m transitioning off active duty to the Reserves and will continue to serve as a flight instructor.”

Getting an MBA: “I knew I would be transitioning out of the military to the private sector and getting an MBA was a way to accelerate that transition. I wanted to gain high-level, relevant knowledge about different facets of business and learn alongside an experienced cohort from different industries. I needed a program for executives because as a full-time active duty officer with four kids, going back to school full-time was not an option. I explored some other EMBA programs, but they didn’t compare to Wharton.”

Military students: “Coming from the military, I wasn’t aware of all of the opportunities the private sector has to offer or the paths to those careers. This program has a dedicated career director, who also has military experience, who provides one-on-one career coaching and is a great resource for students wanting to make a transition. After graduation, I will be joining Goldman Sachs.” [Wharton EMBA career directors are Steve Hernandez in San Francisco and Dr. Dawn Graham in Philadelphia.]

Value of Wharton for military students: “Military students bring such intangible leadership qualities as having presence in a room and being able to cut through things quickly, which is valued in team settings. We also are good at time management. I’m always the guy who wants to begin meetings on time. On the other hand, we also tend to speak more bluntly. My peers have helped coach me about cultural norms in the private sector, which has served me well as I go through my transition process.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill. As I transition off active duty, I plan to use the Yellow Ribbon Program and the part of the GI Bill that provides a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). I also received some scholarship funds from Wharton.”

Marty Pendleton

Management Consulting Manager, Accenture

Previously U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer

EMBA, 2020, Wharton Philadelphia campus

Prior education: Vanderbilt University, B.S., communication studies

Military experience: “After college, I served in the U.S. Navy for five years because I wanted to giveMarty Pendleton standing outside in full dress uniform back and do something service oriented. After getting out of the military, I wanted to continue working to support our defense and intelligence communities. I did that through consulting and joined Accenture’s federal practice. I work with law enforcement, intelligence and defense agencies to improve technology and processes. My service to the country is continuing, but I have a broader impact in this role and it is very rewarding.”

Getting an MBA: “I wanted to continue learning about business, and sometimes you have to step away from your day-to-day and learn in a classroom surrounded by people doing different things. I learn a lot from my classmates and the professors – more than I could learn on the job.”

Military students: “We bring a unique perspective to the classroom because we have led teams, often under life and death circumstances. Those high stakes teach a person how to filter out the noise in decision-making and how to focus on what really matters. One critical factor is building and empowering a team you trust.”

Value of Wharton for military students: “Military people have great leadership experience that makes us good generalists, but we tend to come out of the service with knowledge gaps. While we know how to lead teams, we may not know how to read a balance sheet or build a marketing plan. Wharton helps us develop these skills, while also broadening our network outside of the military.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the GI Bill.”

Craig Replogle

Manager, Strategic Account Operations, Nike and Navy SEAL Commander, U.S. Navy Reserve

Previously U.S. Navy SEAL

EMBA, 2015, Wharton San Francisco campus

Prior education: U.S. Naval Academy, B.S., ocean engineering

Craig Replogle in uniform outside kneeling on one knoee holding his son with his two other children on either sideMilitary experience: “I grew up watching Top Gun and went to the Naval Academy to be a fighter pilot, but eventually discovered the SEAL Teams. During my senior year, 9/11 occurred and that had a big impact on my trajectory. I was fortunate to earn an opportunity to enter the Navy SEAL selection and training program and even more fortunate to make it through the arduous program. I then went on to spend the next decade as a SEAL officer, deploying overseas six times. I transitioned off active duty in the Wharton EMBA program and continue to serve in the Navy Reserves while growing my new career at Nike.”

Getting an MBA: “Towards the end of my time on active duty, I decided I wanted to be home more for my wife and kids. I decided to take advantage of the GI Bill to get my MBA and help transition to the private sector. In the Navy, the things that mattered most to me were the amazing people I worked with, the impact of culture on an organization, and the ability to maintain an active lifestyle. At Wharton, I explored possible career paths with those factors in mind. Wharton EMBA Career Director Steve Hernandez coached me as I narrowed my search to various sports and outdoor companies. When I dove into the deep end to pursue a career at Nike, both the veterans’ and Wharton networks were instrumental in helping me land a role at the Swoosh.”

Military students: “We bring a different leadership experience having led teams in high-risk critical situations. As a result, we know that every midterm and final is just one piece of the entire puzzle. It’s important, but no one’s life is on the line. We have a unique perspective on the big picture, which can be helpful for our classmates, because we know the stakes are less in the classroom than they are on the battlefield.”

Value of Wharton for military students: “This program helps shore up any lack of business experience for military students. The knowledge, brand, and network from Wharton are priceless. Employers know you have a solid business foundation and understanding of the levers that are pivotal to a company. Just as important, you learn from and how to work with your classmates who come from a variety of backgrounds outside of the military. They are your first and most important network you’ll grow outside of the military.”

Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill. In my second year, I used the Yellow Ribbon Program and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).”

Source: executivemba.wharton.upenn.edu

What Are ‘New-Collar’ Jobs?

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Cropped shot of a group of business colleagues meeting in the boardroom

By Jess Scherman

In the past, American jobs have generally been classified into one of two categories: white collar and blue collar. The former typically includes jobs performed in an office setting by highly skilled and formally trained professionals, while the latter generally refers to labor jobs that often require professionals to work with their hands.

Today’s workforce, however, is chock-full of job opportunities that don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree but do call for a highly specialized skill set. It was in response to this widening need that Ginni Rometty, president and CEO of IBM, coined the term “new-collar” jobs.

As national focus on this developing sector of the workforce increases, we’re digging into the definition of new-collar jobs to uncover how they can impact entire industries.

Join us as we explore our findings and look into several examples of new-collar jobs you might come across in today’s labor force.

What are New-Collar Jobs?

Rometty has defined her coined phrase as including jobs that may not require a traditional college degree. In doing so, she hopes to help entire industries acknowledge a shift that needs to occur amidst hiring managers to look beyond the four-year degree and focus instead on a candidate’s relevant skills—particularly when obtained through valuable hands-on experience.

That being said, there’s no set-in-stone definition of the term or master list of jobs that fit the bill. Generally speaking, new-collar jobs are defined as skilled positions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree and often require some degree of technological know-how.

7 New-Collar Jobs to Consider

Many new-collar jobs can be found in the fields of healthcare and technology, and many of these positions offer respectable compensation levels. They’re also among some of the most in-demand jobs in today’s market.

Whether you’re looking to enter the workforce for the first time, you’re hoping to transition back to the workplace after taking some time off or you’ve been eager to change your career path, there are plenty of promising opportunities with new-collar jobs. Consider the following examples.

1 Pharmacy technician

Professionals who pursue a career as a pharmacy technician are able to enjoy the numerous benefits of working in the medical field without having to spend a handful of years immersed in formal medical training. So what do they do? In simple terms, pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist to prepare medications for customers.

Typical duties include measuring, mixing, counting, labeling and recording dosages of medications from prescription orders in addition to some basic clerical work like obtaining patient information, data entry and filing.

2 Cyber security analyst

With an increasing amount of valuable data being stored online, it should come as no surprise that information security has become a hiring focal point for many organizations—in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of information security analysts to grow 28 percent by 2026.* Cyber security is one area of new-collar expertise that is so in-demand that Congress has actually considered passing a bill that would grant tax credits to employers who pay for workers to receive specialized training in it—though that bill still has a ways to go before becoming law.

Political wrangling aside, working as a cyber security analyst requires a wealth of hands-on experience with common security technologies and a working knowledge of networking services, protocols and design principles. These tech pros are responsible for designing and developing security architectures and frameworks within dynamic and adaptive online environments.

3 Physical therapist assistant

As a physical therapist assistant, you would team up with physical therapists to help patients regain their full range of motion after an injury or when an illness provides temporary setbacks. This is an ideal career path for those who want to get out from behind a desk and be able to directly observe the ways your work can impact the lives of others.

Physical therapist assistants spend a lot of time working one-on-one with patients, observing their progress and showing them new stretches and exercises to help get them functioning at their peak levels. In addition to working to help patients regain typical range of motion, these medical professionals can contribute to the design of a patient’s treatment plan and provide any necessary education to patients and their families.

4 Web developer

As you may have assumed, web developers specialize in building websites, but their duties span much further that. These tech pros are tasked with analyzing user needs to ensure the right content, graphics and underlying structure is used to both meet the goals of the user and the goals of the website owner.

Typical duties of a web developer include using authoring or scripting languages to build websites; writing, designing and editing web page content, or delegating others to do so; identifying and correcting problems uncovered by user testing and converting written, graphic, audio and video components to compatible web formats.

5 Medical assistant

Professionals in patient care, medical assistants can work in a wide range of settings, from large hospitals to ambulatory care. They work under the direction of a supervising physician as they perform various administrative and clinical tasks. Administrative duties include updating patient records, scheduling appointments and navigating billing and insurance.

The clinical aspects of the medical assistant job include assisting the physician in taking and recording patients’ vital signs, explaining procedures to patients and their loved ones, administering medications, drawing blood, sterilizing equipment and conducting a variety of tests in the lab.

6 Radiologic technologist

With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age and additionally needing more medical care, it’s no surprise technical medical support roles are in-demand. One of the key components to medical care, diagnostic imaging, is performed in part by radiologic technologists—a career that fits the “new-collar” label very well. Radiologic technologists are healthcare professionals who use specialized equipment to create X-ray images or mammograms that help doctors diagnose ailments and determine treatment options.

7 Computer user support specialist

We live in a digital world—practically every business and organization relies on a host of computers, networks and devices to keep things running smoothly. While most people do a good job of using this technology for their specific jobs, things get a bit dicey when the technology they use isn’t working as intended. That’s where computer user support specialists come in.

Computer user support specialists, often called help desk specialists, are the tech professionals who work directly with users to ensure their devices are working properly. They troubleshoot issues, install and remove hardware and software and perform regular maintenance to keep computer networks up and running.

Could a New-Collar Job be Your Dream Career?

New-collar jobs present a bevy of new opportunities for American workers of all ages who don’t have four-year college degrees. If you’re looking for your chance to enter into a new field, these careers may be an excellent starting point to consider.

Source: rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/new-collar-jobs/

About Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

University of Wisconsin Online: Veteran to Versatile IT Professional

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University of Wisconsin Online–Veteran-to-Versatile-IT- Professional

Searching for your post-military career? Launch into a computer science profession and gain in-demand skills such as programming, database management, and computer security with the University of Wisconsin 100% online Applied Computing bachelor’s degree.

Whether you have tech experience from your military service or you’re interested in discovering a new future in the computer science field, the UW Applied Computing degree will set you up for success as a versatile IT professional.

“The University of Wisconsin Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing is a well-balanced IT education that prepares graduates for success in any industry. The curriculum teaches a wide range of technologies that enable them to interact effectively across an organization, not just serve a niche role.” – Jeff Thomas, Chief Technology Officer, Forward Health Group

The UW Applied Computing program means business. Literally. As a student in this program, you’ll complete a variety of technical and business courses that cover IT fundamentals that today’s employers value.

Upon graduating you’ll gain:

  • Experience and knowledge in software design and development, database management, systems analysis and design, and object-oriented programming
  • Business skills in communication, budgeting, project management, team-building, and leadership
  • UW bachelor’s degree employers respect

University of Wisconsin institutions are among the most recognized public universities in the nation, and as an online student, you’ll earn the same degree as on-campus students.

Learn about the veteran’s benefits that may be available to you through the veteran benefits coordinator on your selected University of Wisconsin home campus.

Discover where tech can take your career.

For information on tuition, courses, and careers get the UW Applied Computing degree guide.

Crafting Killer Veteran Resumes For Civilian Employment

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transitioning veterans

By Russ Hovendick

I review more than 200 resumes every day, and I notice that those from military folks have common pitfalls. What happens when these types of resumes find their way to a civilian employer’s desk? In most cases, they end up in the trash bin or buried in the inbox.

Your skills and talents are too valuable to end up in “no man’s land,” so give employers a reason to hold onto your resumes.

What follows are some of the common mistakes I see in military resumes.

Acronyms and Military Jargon—Ditch Them
After spending any amount of time in the military, I’m sure it’s natural for military acronyms to become part of your everyday vernacular. But when you use acronyms in your resume and any other communications with civilian employers (e.g., e-mails, phone calls, job interviews), you’re speaking a foreign language. Employers don’t want to have to ask or research what an acronym represents. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re conveying information clearly. To be frank, it’s more annoying than anything else to see an acronym in a resume. It shows the applicant’s laziness and inability to anticipate that the acronym might be a stumbling block for the employer.

For example, here’s a line taken from the top section of a military resume: “I am a certified DOD mediator to hear EO complaints.” Leave the certification for the bottom of the resume. In the body, the employer is more interested in hearing about the quality of work you’ve done. Here is what he’s probably thinking: Tell me the details of your work as a mediator. Give me a glimpse of the types of disputes you mediated and how you resolved them. And, by the way, I know DOD means Department of Defense, but what the heck is an “EO complaint”?

Too Many Numbers,Too Little Explanation
Numbers are a good thing. If they demonstrate something meaningful about your previous experiences (e.g., you introduced a new policy that reduced processing time by 30 percent), include them. But often in the military, some numbers are so intimidating that they deplete the importance of the accomplishment you’re trying to showcase. For example, if a veteran says he oversaw 200 soldiers, the employer would know he couldn’t have possibly had much personal contact with all 200 of them. But if he mentioned that he trained five sergeants to lead their groups of 40 soldiers each, the statement is more meaningful.

Overemphasis on Technical Skills—Show Your Soft Skills
If you’re applying for a technical position, your resume should play up your technical skills. But you’re not a robot. You drive that fuel your technical aptitude. Make sure that comes across in your resume. No matter what job you’re applying for, employers want to see soft skills, too, such as leadership style, communication skills, motivation to make a difference and more.

Lengthiness, Longwinded Language—Be Concise, Get to the Point
No matter how many years of experience you’ve had, no one should have a resume that’s more than two pages long. If you’re applying for a technical job and want to highlight specific projects, I recommend attaching a separate sheet of case studies or projects. You never want the person reviewing your resume to feel frustrated, overwhelmed or lost. A reviewer who gets bored reading your resume might get the impression you’re dull or bland. A reviewer who gets confused reading your resume might think you’re not a clear communicator or simply not bright. The best way to avoid conveying this impression is to be concise. Get straight to the point. Use action words to bring life to the resume and by using as few words as possible. Every word on your resume occupies valuable space. Don’t waste space on meaningless words. You don’t even need full sentences—use bulleted lists where appropriate.

“So, What?” Statements—Tell Me Why It Matters
Sometimes, I read a statement in a resume and think to myself, “So, what?” Then, I prod the candidate for more information and realize that he or she simply didn’t highlight the significant part of that experience. Former Marine Nolan Ruby gave this great advice: Employers just don’t know how to interpret military accomplishments into their own private companies. It’s up to you to explain it.

Highlighting Decades of Military Service Makes You Look Old
It’s perfectly understandable that you might feel proud of having served, say, 20 years in the military. But don’t create additional hurdles through misconceptions by explicitly stating at the top of your resume that you had a 20-year career in the armed forces. When employers see that a person has held a position for a couple of decades, they automatically assume the candidate must be old when, in fact, the individual could be as young as 38 if he or she joined right out of high school. Let the employers see your skills and experience first, and do the math later. Don’t give them an easy reason to reject you. If you’ve spent many years in the military, I recommend writing “extensive experience,” instead of the number of years served.

Create Multiple Resume Versions
If you are looking for jobs in multiple industries, you’ll need to tailor your resume for each industry. We’ve already pointed out the different languages of the military and civilian worlds. Now, think of the various industries in the same way. Law firm staffers talk very differently from tech startups. People in the medical field use different terminology from people in manufacturing. The more you know about your ideal employers, the better you will be at determining what they are looking for, and therefore, what to include in your resume.

Use a Hybrid Profile-Objective-Company Heading
I often see resumes with the applicant’s objective listed at the top. Here’s a typical example:
“To secure employment as a project manager at an information technology firm.” As an executive recruiter who knows how hiring managers think, I find this type of statement unhelpful. It tells the employer what you want, not what you can offer. On the other hand, I’ve also seen resumes with a profile heading that highlights key skills, qualifications or summarizes the applicant’s experience in a sentence. The profile heading can be helpful, but it runs the risk of repeating items included in the resume. Consequently, I propose a hybrid model that incorporates the applicant’s profile, his or her objective and a complimentary description of the company the applicant is applying for. Here’s an example of the hybrid profile-objective-company heading: “Electrical designer with expertise in automation and relay logic systems searching for an innovative manufacturing company.”

Lacking Education? Highlight Your Professional Development
If you’ve never completed high school or college and you’re wondering what to list in the education section of the resume, no need to worry. I recommend following the advice from Monster resume expert Kim Isaacs: Create a professional development section in which you highlight vocational training, certifications, courses and even seminars or conferences you attended. If you did not complete high school but passed the GED, don’t include the GED on your resume. Employers tend to assume that candidates graduated from high school. You may hear differing opinions from other career counselors, but I firmly believe it’s better not to highlight the fact that you did not earn a high school diploma.

Creating a killer resume takes a lot of thought, time and effort … but the more work you put into creating your resume, the more success you’ll see.

Source: Quintessential Careers

Veterans surprise D.C. elementary school with makeover

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When the children at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in Southeast Washington left school on Friday, they had no idea what would happen there before their return on Monday.

But on Saturday, 150 volunteers stormed into the empty building with the efficiency of a military platoon and got to work.

They painted the drab brown linoleum-tiled stairwells red, blue and yellow. Drew clouds on the ceiling tiles of the library. Created murals. Planted flowers in front of the school. Left inspirational messages in the bathroom stalls. Built Ikea furniture to revamp the teacher’s lounge. The list goes on.

And the volunteers completed their mission in a single afternoon.

“They are going to be so surprised and really excited,” said Angel Hunter, the principal of King Elementary, which serves about 380 students in preschool through fifth grade. “It boosts teacher and student morale.”

For the complete article, continue on to Washington Post.

Attracting and Sourcing Veterans—Help for corporations looking for the right veteran for the job

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transitioning veterans

By Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Some organizations, such as TriWest, GAE, and the Combined Insurance Company of America, appoint a key veteran staff member to lead efforts in recruiting high-potential veteran candidates transitioning from military service to the private sector. This person understands military and corporate culture and can help HR and hiring managers understand military culture and service.

However, general recruiting efforts may not reach prospective employees with disabilities, so advertising with disability organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, and disability-related job fairs are good ways to reach potential employees with disabilities.

Another means for attracting veterans is to develop marketing materials that help translate and transfer military skills/experience into civilian job responsibilities. Organizations that have focused veteran recruiting strategies leverage military classification codes in their application materials and jobs postings. These codes specify an individual’s job and rank, and often include additional qualifications, such as languages or specialized training.

Numerous organizations offer specialized websites for veterans, including AT&T, Amazon, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Sodexo, T-Mobile, and Walmart Inc. Military recruitment channels, career fairs, and other similar events are additional avenues where businesses can share their employment opportunities and veterans can explore whether there’s a match with their skills and experience. Businesses can showcase their job opportunities along with the benefits of joining their organization, while veterans have the opportunity to demonstrate they are some of the most qualified talent in the nation.

Partnerships with business and trade associations represent another important channel for recruiting veteran talent, as well as a means for communicating the value of veterans in the workforce. Leveraging community collaboration and networking with other firms are excellent means for sourcing veterans. Encouraging inter- and intra-industry collaboration to identify and utilize the most comprehensive military skills translators creates more effective placement. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of 41 companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, is an example of private-sector collaboration contributing to improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

JPMorgan Chase has instituted a “High-Touch Gold Desk,” where recruiters respond to any veteran applicant within five days of receiving the individual’s application for employment. This high-touch approach is positioned to support veterans in finding the right opportunity at JPMorgan Chase, based on the applicant’s experiences and qualifications. In addition, this personal response to each and every applicant has the benefit of helping the company’s HR staff become better educated as to how military skills and experiences correlate to the firm’s different work roles. The program functions by utilizing integrated, regional teams that map veteran applications against available positions at the firm. Using those maps, the teams are able to identify positions across the firm that best match the veteran’s skills profile. This results in a process that aligns the veteran with an opportunity where he or she is most likely to find success and also facilitates an approach to recruitment and hiring that looks across lines of business, as opposed to within a given organizational silo.

Other examples of focused military recruiting are at BAE and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. BAE provides career pathways for wounded warriors through its Warrior Integration Program (WIP), which is specifically designed to identify, hire, and develop qualified wounded veterans into valuable employees. Lockheed participates in the Army Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS), which allows those who serve our country to plan in advance to explore private-sector job opportunities. The program gives new soldiers the opportunity to select a job with a PaYS partner during the time of enlistment. After the position has been selected, a Statement of Understanding is signed, and the PaYS employer/partner promises to interview the returning solider, as long as he or she receives an honorable discharge, is otherwise qualified, and a job vacancy exists.

Many companies, including Walmart, leverage campus recruiting and veteran service organizations, such as the Student Veterans of American (SVA). Ernst & Young organizes veteran internship fairs at schools, while AT&T leverages internships that provide veterans job shadowing opportunities.

Following are other resources positioned to support employers with veteran-focused recruiting and onboarding initiatives.

U.S. DOL Vet Employment (VETS)

VETS proudly serves veterans and service members by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain careers, employment opportunities, and employment rights, as well as information on transition programs. VETS offers a multitude of resources for veterans looking for jobs.

Joining Forces

Joining Forces is a great resource and offers some of the nation’s top job resources for veterans and employers, such as access to the Veterans Job Bank, links to employment tools, like My Next Move for Veterans, and many more.

Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

This event includes military-friendly employers that represent thousands of available job opportunities for veterans.

U.S. Veterans Pipeline

An effort of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the U.S. Veterans Pipeline is a talent networking and career management platform that allows users to connect directly to peers, companies, jobs, schools, education programs, and more.

Gold Card Initiative

This joint initiative between DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and VETS provides post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services, necessary for success in today’s job market. Eligible veterans can present their Gold Card at any One-Stop Career Center to obtain enhanced intensive services that include up to six months of follow-up, job readiness assessment, referral to job banks, and much more.

100,000 Jobs Mission

JPMorgan Chase and the other founding corporation/coalition members are committed to working together, sharing best recruiting and employment practices, and reporting hiring results.

Hero Health Hire

This initiative is a gathering place where business leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens can learn, share information, and commit to helping our nation’s disabled veterans find and retain meaningful employment. This initiative provides information, tools, and guidance for recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting disabled veterans in the workplace.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training and corporate engagement.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Offers virtual and in-person meetings or webinars, helping military spouses with resumes, employment resources, training to update skill sets, and assistance in finding employment resources in their current location or the area to which they’re relocating.

Source: toolkit.vets.syr.edu