At the recent Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Orlando, Fla., President Obama announced the 8 Keys to Success for Veterans. This is an attempt to allow Veterans to get their college degree and enter the job market with more credentials and skills.
A commitment made by more than 250 higher education institutions
More than 250 community colleges and universities in 24 different states and D.C. will fully adopt the “8 Keys to Success” recently announced by President Obama, and more institutions are expected to rise to the challenge in the coming months.
At Western Nevada College, for example, the school hosts a “Veterans Orientation” to make sure returning service members begin college on the right track, and that every Veteran has a counselor assigned to work with him or her on adjusting to the classroom environment, performance expectations, personal challenges and program completion.
According to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki, “This commitment made by colleges and universities will help Veterans better transition from military service into the classroom, graduate, and find a good job to help strengthen our economy. Given the opportunity, Veterans will succeed because they possess exceptional character, team-building skills, discipline, and leadership.”
Here are the 8 Keys to Success:
1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for Veterans.
2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all Veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all Veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size).
5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for Veterans.
6. Use a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on Veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion.
7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to Veterans.
8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for Veterans.
I firmly believe these initiatives and others similar to them can greatly help veterans launch a second career in a supportive environment because the challenges veterans face as they reintegrate into life, family and society are often life-dominating.
It is so encouraging to know that environments within our colleges and universities are intentionally designed to assist and support our veterans to achieve academic success and help them launch new careers with hope, promise and fulfillment. I appreciate yet another valuable way that we are reaching out to our veterans.