University of Phoenix helps veterans transition into civilian life
Ever wonder what happens when veterans trade their military fatigues for a business suit?
“Once upon a time, we’d just send our veterans out into the world with a pat on the back and wish them well. But in today’s tough job market, we can’t do that anymore,” explains Garland Williams, associate regional vice president of the University of Phoenix Military Division and a retired U.S. Army colonel.
“We owe it to our veterans to help them transition from military life into corporate America,” he says.
With that in mind, University of Phoenix is launching its Start Strong Veterans Event, which will occur at 19 campus locations nationwide in conjunction with Veterans Day 2012.
The Start Strong Veterans Event features coordinated seminars that include panel discussions, workshops and networking forums — all focused on easing the transition between military and civilian life, especially when it comes to finding employment.
“This is a much bigger event than we’ve done for our veterans in the past,” Williams notes. “Our goal is to help educate our veterans on where their job skills are and how they can put those skills to work for employers.”
The University selected the 19 locations based on their high concentration of military veterans, especially those recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Each location will tailor its content and speakers to fit the unique needs of its local veteran population and employer base.
Topics to be covered in the panel discussions include how long the transition period lasts, how to navigate the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability system, financial issues, moving into civilian housing and how to conduct a job search.
Workshops will focus on dressing for success, adjusting to civilian life and other related topics. An open networking forum where veterans can mingle with other veterans, potential employers, and educators will run parallel to the panels and workshops.
Many event locations will feature University of Phoenix alumni veterans who will answer questions and share tips on how they handled their own transitions. The event will also help connect veterans and their families to available support resources, along with potential employers and educational opportunities.
The event is open to the general public and presented in cooperation with the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the status and professionalism of enlisted military personnel.
“The civilian world is so different from the military world,” Williams explains. “Military personnel are trained to lead a different lifestyle than the rest of us. We want to help them adjust to their new surroundings.”