Joining Forces Blog
- Posted byon March 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM EDT
Ed note: Dr. Jill Biden wrote this op-ed for USA Today.
Danny Anderson is an American hero. He is also a role model — in more ways than one.
Danny spent six years in the Army. He loved serving his country, and when he completed his time in the military, he was eager to find other ways to serve. So Danny decided to use his military benefits to earn his degree and enrolled in Hopkinsville Community College's nursing program. Through a partnership between Gateway Medical Center and Hopkinsville Community College in Kentucky, Danny became a registered nurse and is now employed in Gateway's emergency care department.
I met Danny last month when I traveled with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on a five-state "Community College to Career" bus tour to highlight the types of successful community college industry partnerships that are working and can serve as models for the nation.
The impact Danny's community college education had on his life is clear — and is one I see replicated on community college campuses across the country, as well as in my own 18 years as a community college professor.
- Posted byon March 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM EDT
Jordan Cobb is the son of a Marine who has selflessly served our country for nineteen years. Last fall, Jordan began his freshman year at St. Johns University in New York, and he credits the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation with making it possible for his family to pay for college. He recently wrote to the Scholarship Foundation about his experiences throughout his father’s service, and how his father’s military career has inspired his desire to achieve his own dreams, particularly graduating from college. Jordan writes, “It has been a challenge to maintain good grades having attended four elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools. As well as the distraction of being a bit frightened at times while my dad was gone for long periods of time training and deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan.”
His letter thanked the organization for “recognizing how important and appreciated the sacrifices that military members make for our country are.” The Scholarship Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen, with particular attention given to those whose parent has been killed or wounded in combat, or who have demonstrated financial need. Organizations like these are an important part of Joining Forces’ mission to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
Joining Forces recognizes that children of military families face particular hurdles to education due to frequent moves and the stress of their parents’ multiple deployments. For many, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the bridge between possibility and reality for achieving their educational goals.
And achieve they do. Jordan is one of 1,636 sons and daughters of Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have received scholarships from the Scholarship Foundation this year. These remarkable students – 46% of whom are the first in their families to achieve a bachelor’s degree – graduate in 4 years at a rate of 79% (compared to the national average of 31%). 70% of them maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout their academic careers.
Jordan is a first-time recipient of an award from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and the organization looks forward to funding him throughout his pursuit of his dreams. He is aiming high, and writes, “I am confident through hard work and continued academic success that I will find a way to fund the rest of my years at St. Johns University and will be a proud graduate of the class of 2015.” In supporting Jordan’s pursuit of his degree, the Scholarship Foundation is also helping him to become part of our nation’s next generation of leaders and heroes – the least they can do to honor Jordan and his family’s years of dedicated and selfless service to our country.
Learn more about the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, or how your child can apply for a scholarship, please visit www.mcsf.org.
- Posted byon March 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM EDT
In just the past few days, we have seen another great example of an American company stepping up to serve veterans and families as well as they have served us – The Walt Disney Company. Not just serve veterans – but benefit from the extraordinary talent that veterans bring to any company.
On Tuesday, The Walt Disney Company launched Heroes Work Here, an initiative to hire, train, and support returning veterans and their families. Through this program, Disney has committed to hiring at least 1,000 veterans over the next three years and also support these returning service members and their families during their transition into civilian life.
Backing up their efforts: a Public Service Announcement (PSA) entitled: “Heroes Work Here. Employ excellence. Hire veterans.”
- Posted byon March 8, 2012 at 1:44 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the Warrior Care Blog.
A recent amendment to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it easier for veterans with a wide range of impairments to qualify for protections under the law and get the reasonable accommodations they need to successfully obtain and retain meaningful employment. Any wounded warrior or disabled veteran looking for a job in the private sector should acquaint themselves with these provisions and protections.
According to the website of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the body that enforces the requirements of the ADA, the law defines an “individual with a disability” as anyone who: has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded, or treated by an employer, as having such an impairment, even if no substantial limitation exists. Previous to the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the law defined the term “disability” very narrowly, but now it is much easier for individuals with a wide range of impairments to establish that they are individuals with disabilities and are therefore entitled to protections under ADA. For example, under the amendment the term “major life activities” includes not only physical activities such as walking, seeing or hearing, but also other major bodily functions such as the operation of the brain and neurological system. This means that wounded warriors and veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can now more easily seek protections under ADA as they look for and participate in employment opportunities.
- Posted byon March 7, 2012 at 11:10 AM EDT
This week, Syracuse University’s Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) -- a national leader in veteran and military family research -- released an extraordinary study entitled “The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran: Beyond the Cliches.”
Among others things, the study confirmed what many of us already knew – hiring America’s veterans makes great sense and is a terrific investment for any company in America. I encourage wide dissemination of this report to corporate leaders throughout the nation.
Significant findings include:
- Veterans are entrepreneurial: It’s true – there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned small businesses in franchising alone. America is also stepping up in big ways to support the veteran entrepreneurial spirit -- several new programs aim to entice veterans to the world of franchising. The International Franchise Association runs one called VetFran, which requires that parent companies give veteran franchisees their “best deal” possible — often resulting in thousands of dollars off the initial franchising fee. There are more than 450 companies participating, and at least 2,100 veterans have opened franchises through the program so far. Some companies go even further — the UPS Store recently announced it was giving away free franchises to 10 veterans who qualify (five have already been given out.) In February, CiCi’s Pizza announced it will waive the franchise fee and offer a 50 percent cut on royalty fees to all qualified veterans who open CiCi’s franchises and hire a veteran manager.
- Veterans have - and leverage - advanced technical training: Beyond just having the technical training, veterans are already graduates of the world’s best training program – the Unites States military!
- Veterans exhibit advanced team-building skills: When I was in command of a Guided Missile Destroyer, I use to tell my crew, “When the team wins, you win…” It’s true – when companies do well; employees benefit (and vice versa). Veterans understand the meaning of “the team comes first” and they bring that same mentality to any company.
- Veterans exhibit strong organizational commitment: Loyalty goes a long way in the military – and that same organizational commitment stays with Veterans when they join corporate America. It’s an intangible that can’t be taught.
- Veterans have experience mastering diverse work settings: Veterans have had to perform in the toughest of circumstances. The mountains of eastern Afghanistan; villages in Kandahar; Baghdad; Mosul; Ramadi and so many more… the acquired skills and experience that American veterans have gained in the last 10 years of war can’t be taught or replicated in the classroom.
- Posted byon March 6, 2012 at 12:26 PM EDT
Medscape, the largest source of online continuing education for physicians and other health professionals, has teamed up with Joining Forces to ensure that our country’s servicemembers, veterans, and military families receive the best healthcare possible.
Soon after the White House released “Strengthening Our Military Families” in January 2011, Medscape began working with leading experts in military healthcare to create 10 new online education programs on topics ranging from military culture to screening for post-traumatic stress disorder and helping families connect with VA services. The free modules include links to resources from the government, warrior advocacy groups and medical associations. More than 100,000 physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers have viewed these education courses in the past year.
The curriculum that Medscape has created enables community health professionals to understand and meet the needs of military families. As servicemembers return home to their communities, such preparation is imperative—only half of those eligible for VA services seek treatment there.
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