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News for Veterans

IVMF Publishes Research Report Highlighting Veteran Workforce Development Programs at Three U.S. Colleges

May 26, 2016
Source: Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF)

Del Mar College, Tarrant County College, and Wake Technical Community College exemplify how institutions committed to advancing veterans employment can leverage external funding to design, develop, and deliver accelerated vocational instruction to veterans and transitioning service members.

Today the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) released a report resulting from its Vocational Acceleration for Veterans Grant Program-a project funded by the Walmart Foundation through which the IVMF oversaw grants to a network of colleges and universities with student veteran-focused workforce development initiatives implemented in partnership with local workforce development agencies, businesses, and industry collaborators. The report highlights three schools - Del Mar College (Texas), Tarrant County College (Texas), and Wake Technical Community College (North Carolina) - and their unique continuing education programs that equip veterans with skills highly sought after by local and regional employers.

Authored by Zach Huitink, an IVMF research associate and a PhD candidate in Public Administration at Syracuse Universitys Maxwell School, the Vocational Acceleration Report showcases how each program blazed a trail to success. The case illustrations highlight the programs approaches to recruitment and service delivery, survey their achievements to date, and identify five best practices that could inform how other colleges and universities implement vocational acceleration programs to advance both veteran employment and their underlying educational missions.

"These programs demonstrate the untapped potential of higher education to not only build a skilled workforce that will sustain American competitiveness in a rapidly changing global economy, but also position veterans and transitioning service members to contribute to that future and ultimately succeed," said IVMF Senior Director of Research and U.S. Army veteran Dr. Nick Armstrong. "Considering the freshly honed skills that these veterans bring to the workplace, combined with their discipline, leadership, and unwavering commitment to mission accomplishment, hiring veterans is not just a good deed for employers to do-its good for business."

Keys to Success: Best Practices for Delivering Vocational Acceleration Services to Veterans and Transitioning Service Members:

  • Pursue a multi-faceted recruitment strategy that leverages both personal- and institutional-level relationships with public, private, and nonprofit partners;
  • Design a program that harnesses existing resources and infrastructure to maximize program enrollment capacity and minimize time required to complete training;
  • Raise program stakeholders "veterans IQ" by providing tools and knowledge necessary to understand the unique needs veterans bring to the learning environment;
  • Continuously gather data and feedback to tailor training to area employers needs; and
  • Plan for the future: develop a vision and a plan of action for delivering additional training modules that equip veterans with more high-demand skills.

"By incorporating these practices into the development and implementation of their own programs, colleges and universities can put themselves in a stronger position to succeed using the vocational acceleration approach to advancing veterans employment," said Zach Huitink, author of the report.

According to Anthony M. Caison, Sr., Vice President for Workforce Continuing Education at Wake Technical Community College, vocational acceleration for returning veterans is crucial in assisting with the successful transition of veterans into the community as productive and contributing citizens. "Providing vocational training in an accelerated format for veterans with the requisite skills ensures that they can return to productive jobs in their communities in the shortest time possible, and with the industry credentials to go along with it," shared Caison. "Providing these opportunities to our returning veterans benefits the surrounding community and local economy by providing the foundation for stable veteran military families that have returned home and are able to contribute to the local economy through income earned as a result of valuable vocational training."

Jerry Hutyra, Coordinator of Workforce Training at Tarrant County College, added "There were many achievements with veterans completing the IVMF training program, and it has furnished Tarrant County, the Dallas-Fort Worth regional area, and the State of Texas with critically trained workforce members."

View/download the report at

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