Next time you meet a veteran, thank them for what they have done.
More of us need to be open to listening to their experiences, showing appreciation for their sacrifices, and helping them adjust to returning to mainstream America. Not only did they face the horrors of war and separation from friends and family, but oftentimes they left previous positions in order to serve and are returning to an economy where jobs are tough to find and competition is fierce. If they had a home when they left for the war, it is probably worth 30-50% less than what they still owe on it. They are coping with life outside a war zone and dealing with the problems associated with earning a degree or a license to make it possible to get a decent job and bring order and stability to life. They are the definition of a non-traditional student. Many have families already and are trying to be a father or mother after a long absence, balance a budget at home, and pay for classes.
Fortunately, by serving in the military, they are entitled to educational benefits which help pay for the books and tuition and take some of the financial burden away. Schools and colleges are responding better to returning veterans than they had in past wars. Many have full-fledged veterans programs that tackle all the issues facing non-traditional students returning from war, including programs to help with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other schools have at least a veteran’s representative to address their needs or point them in the right direction.
Many students know already what they want to study. Others need counseling to figure out what their experiences in the military will translate to in an occupation that is secure and growing in the civilian world. There are many papers written by vets for vets on returning to school. Vets and veteran representatives need to be aware of today’s “hot” career fields. The largest majority of these are in the healthcare field. Some programs take as little as nine months to complete and are projected to grow up to 36% between now and 2018.
Current educational trends show the most valuable careers for veterans are:
Healthcare allied professionals, such as nurses, lab techs, med techs, x-ray techs, surgical techs, etc.
Security personal such as counter terrorism, Homeland security, criminal justice positions, and police work
Skilled labor positions such as plumbing, electrical, computing, HVAC
Firefighting and rescue
“Some gave all. All gave some.”
Do the same and welcome back our troops with a helping hand in their newest challenge: the college campus.