Each November we honor the contributions veterans make to our nation. The men and women who serve in the military use their talents and work ethic to keep our country strong and safe. The contributions these men and women make don’t end when they leave military services. As higher education students and employees, veterans continue to make valuable contributions to the US.
About 200,000 veterans enter the civilian workforce every year. In spite of the skills they learned during their military service, many of them face challenges to employment. Only about one in four have credentials they need to secure a good job that will support them and their families. Others will need to seek higher education. Veteran students will most likely face challenges similar to other nontraditional students, but their probability of success is high.
Student veterans are generally a highly motivated student and successful population. Three-quarters of student veterans say that furthering their education with the funding provided by the GI Bill was a strong motivation for going into the military. A report from the National Veteran Education Tracker (NVEST) shows that post-9/11 veterans have the potential to succeed at schools that have high-graduation rates. Student veterans are 1.4 times more likely to earn a degree or certification than nonveteran adult students. Student veterans have an average 3.4 GPA compared to an average 2.9 GPA for traditional learners.
Veterans recognize the value of their military experience: more than 70 percent say they developed skills in the military that will help them succeed in higher education. These skills include:
• Work ethic and discipline, 87 percent
• Teamwork, 86 percent
• Leadership and management skills, 82 percent
• Mental toughness, 81 percent and
• Adaptation to different challenges, 78 percent
These same skills make veterans highly valuable employees. Veterans transitioning to civilian life often face under-employment, not doing work that makes full use of their skills and abilities. When this happens, the national workforce loses out. Veterans mean stability for a company; statistics show they remain with their initial company 8.3 percent longer than nonveterans. Veterans that already have a bachelor’s degree bring almost three times more work experience to the job because of their military experience. Veterans also are high achievers. They are 160 percent more likely to have a graduate degree or higher than nonveterans.
The social and cultural richness that veterans bring to their companies also is a benefit to their employers. Members of the military represent the diverse population of the US, and the majority of them serve outside of the United States. This diversity and experience give businesses an advantage that brings profitability.
Veterans are a positive factor in the current challenging social and economic environment. Their discipline and commitment to finish a goal raises the higher education completion rate. Their ability to work in teams, adapt to fast-changing and challenging situations, and persevere means that veterans are a vital part of rebuilding successful social and economic networks during recovery from the pandemic.
By Adrienne Way, Edcor owner and CEO
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