Military Connection: No College Credit for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

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By Debbie Gregory

Beginning in the recruiter’s office, long before they even get to basic training, those who join the U.S. Armed Forces begin training in the customs, cultures and languages of military life. They’ve laced up a freshly shined pair of boots, put on their country’s uniform. They know that there are countless hours spent preparing, training, drilling, testing and laboring to hone their occupational specialty in the world’s greatest fighting force.
No matter what their military occupational specialty (MOS), rate, position or title, those who have served know that they acquired more knowledge through their military on-the-job training and real-life military experience than they could hope to learn in the classroom. That is why military Veterans, going to school using their Veteran education benefits, are finding themselves increasingly frustrated with the civilian education system that refuses them college credits for their training. They have experience in fields that equivalent civilian occupations would require certification, a degree, or some type of college education to work in.
Instead, many Veterans, especially those going the certification/accreditation route, have to waste their time, energy and Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility on classes that are redundantly teaching them skills they have already acquired.
More than one million Veterans are currently using their Veteran education benefits. That number is almost double the number, 560,00+ who were using their benefits in 2009. That number is expected to increase by at least 1 million more Veterans over the next five years.
These Veterans will be looking to advance their education in order to land sustainable employment. These Veterans should not have to waste their time and VA tuitions on courses certifications and licenses for skills and trades that they already have a proven proficiency in.
Law makers and educators need to be made aware of the hindrances that some academic institutions put on Veteran students when their military occupational training and experience isn’t recognized in academia and state licensing agencies. These bodies are slow to change, perhaps because they are more concerned with receiving the VA money for the course or certification than they are with helping the Veterans. Schools and government agencies should do all they can to assist Veterans in achieving the prosperity they have earned.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.
Military Connection: No College Credit for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: 8,600 USAF Opt for Early Retirement: By Debbie Gregory

USAF

By Debbie Gregory

Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force asked thousands of it members to consider voluntarily separating from the branch in 2015.

According to Military Instruction 1332.43, dated February 26, 2014, the DOD’s policy is use Voluntary Separation Pay (VSP) in order to minimize the need for involuntary separations. The instruction mandates that all branches make every effort to utilize the voluntary programs in order to prevent the involuntary separation of service members who otherwise would have remained in service until they were eligible for retirement.

The deadline for Air Force personnel to apply for VSP was May 1st. More than 7,000 enlisted members and over 1,600 officers applied by the deadline. Of those, it is reported that 5,600 of them are eligible for VSP.

To be eligible for VSP, members must be eligible for Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA), which means they have accumulated more than 15 years, but less than 20, of active-duty service. Members who utilize VSP will receive all of the same benefits as members who retire at 20 years, but their retirement pay will be pro-rated.

So far, more than 380 officers and roughly 2,400 enlisted airmen have been approved for VSP.

Service members who are interested in finding out more about Voluntary Separation Pay, Temporary Early Retirement Authority can visit www.sf.mil or read Military Instruction 1332.43. Service members and military families affected by force reduction are also urged to utilize www.militaryconnection.com for connections to resources, benefits and programs to help them transition into their next assignment.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: 8,600 USAF Opt for Early Retirement: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Newest Veteran Education Tool: By Debbie Gregory

Edge CCT

By Debbie Gregory

Hundreds of thousands of Veterans are currently utilizing their education benefits earned through their military service. Over the next few years, over a million more Veterans will be hanging up their helmets and will begin earning their graduation caps. These Veterans will be faced with the task of investigating which college or university is right for them.

With so many Veterans in the market for higher education, many schools are actively recruiting former military personnel to use their VA-paid tuitions at their campuses. Often overwhelmed by the enormity of the decision, Veterans have a hard time sifting through the scores of schools. Veterans need to be mindful that not every school can meet their every academic need. And unfortunately, Veterans also need to be made aware that there are schools that are not interested in Veterans needs at all. So how are Veterans supposed to decide which schools are right for them?

The Home Front Alliance, founded by Garrett FitzGerald, seeks to unite colleges and universities interested in providing Veterans with the materials needed to make an informed decision on where to attend college. As part of this campaign, the Home Front Alliance created Edge College Connection Tool (Edge CCT).

Edge CCT is essentially a data base of more than 3,000 two and four year institutions of higher education around the U.S. Each participating school has its own  profile page on Edge CCT that can be viewed from search engines. There are a variety of filters, including location, major, and what type of institution (two  or four year) the school is. Edge CCT offers Veterans the ability to see what each of the schools have to offer them as far as academics, Veteran resources, and pricing.

Veterans using Edge CCT create their own profiles that include information about their academic career and military history. After Veterans create their profiles and find the schools they are interested in through Edge’s search engine, they can message administrators at those schools directly to obtain more information and establish a point of contact. The administrators can view the Veteran’s profile and familiarize themselves with the potential student for their school’s programs.

MilitaryConnection.com is always thrilled to find the latest and greatest resources for Veterans in all of their pursuits. Edge CCT is a valuable resource that enables Veterans who are looking in to utilizing their VA education benefits and make informed decisions that can impact their future. MilitaryConnection.com recommends using the Edge CCT in combination with the VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool in order to gather the most information about prospective schools.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Newest Veteran Education Tool: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA Secretary Won’t Resign: By Debbie Gregory

Shinseki

By Debbie Gregory

Back in April, the VA acknowledged the deaths of 23 Veterans due to delayed treatment within the VA healthcare system. Stories and accusations have been on the rise, amplifying the charges around the country and increasing the number pf those affected to several dozen, depending on varying unconfirmed accounts.

One of the main accusations is taking place in Arizona, where leadership from the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Healthcare System is under fire. It is alleged that more than 40 deaths have occurred among Phoenix area Veterans due to lengthy waits for VA healthcare treatment. Officials for the Phoenix VA Healthcare System have acknowledged that there have been mistakes and issues within their region, and agree that measures must be taken to improve Veteran healthcare, and access to it, within the region.

The National Commanders for both of the largest Veteran organizations, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, have voiced their disapproval of the VA’s handling of Veteran healthcare, especially in Phoenix. The VFW expressed their lack of trust in VA officials in Phoenix.But the American Legion is taking their distrust of VA healthcare to another level. The American Legion, along with another Veterans organization, the Concerned Veterans of America, have called for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

General Shinseki, U.S. Army [RET], was appointed to his position as head of the VA by President Obama in 2008, and was sworn in on January 21, 2009. Gen. Shinseki’s last post was as the Chief of Staff of the Army. Under Shinseki’s tenure, the VA system has seen some improvements. Though still not perfect, the VA has made significant advancements in speeding up the claims processes for nearly all Veteran benefits. Moving from paper applications that required snail mail, fax machines and manually maintained paper files, the VA is now almost completely paperless. Now in use are online systems, such as eBenefits, that are stored, dated and prioritized automatically, removing several opportunities for human error and delays.

Veterans also have the best and most generous education benefits in history with the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Veteran homelessness in America is on schedule to be eradicated by the end of next year, and the Veteran unemployment figures are improving faster than the civilian rate.

The biggest concern being voiced while calling for Shinseki’s resignation has also been one of his main focuses as VA secretary. Knowing that Veteran healthcare has been in a backlog for decades, the VA has made speeding up healthcare and disability claims their number one priority. The VA has been one of the few government agencies that has been on a hiring spree to employ doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers and medical administrative staff in order to remedy the situation. Unfortunately, the entire department cannot be overhauled overnight.

Shinseki has responded by saying that he will not step down. “I serve at the pleasure of the president,” Shinseki said. “I signed on to make some changes, I have work to do.”

The White House briefly addressed the situation at their daily news brief. Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media that the president takes accusations of Veteran deaths very seriously.”The President remains confident in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the department and take appropriate action,” Carney said.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Secretary Won’t Resign: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Criminal Veterans in CA? By Debbie Gregory

Criminal Vets

By Debbie Gregory

A bill that recently passed the California Assembly would require California court judges to take a defendant’s Veteran status and mental health status into consideration when passing sentencing.

Recently, the CA State Assembly passed Bill AB 2098, which would apply to a defendant who was, or currently is, a member of the United States military; and who may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of that service.  Considerations under the law include courts to lean favorably towards probation and treatment programs for defendants who meet the criteria.

California Judges are already mandated to determine whether convicted defendants were members of the military, and whether they suffer from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual trauma, or other illness that could affect their mental state. Bill AB 2098 will require that judges include the Veteran status as a factor in favor of shorter sentences, probation and treatment options.

A significant amount of crimes committed by active duty military and Veterans can be directly linked to emotional and psychological injuries sustained while serving their country. Locking these emotionally scarred Veterans away in jail is not necessarily the best option.

The passing of this bill may have been influenced by the overcrowding of California prisons. The bill’s author, Assemblyman Marc Levine, was concerned with the number of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who return from combat with  post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that, if untreated,  could be the reason why a military Veteran could resort to crime.

For some Veterans, criminal behavior could be linked to their military service, and as a result, 27 states have begun to implement Veterans’ Courts into their legal systems. The first one was established in 2008 in Buffalo, New York. These Veterans’ Courts are modeled after drug and mental health courts, and promote sobriety, recovery and stability through strict court appointed measures that differ from jail time.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Criminal Veterans in CA? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: EANGUS Warns CA Vets Against Bill AB 2099: By Debbie Gregory

EANGUS-logo

By Debbie Gregory

In February, Bill AB 2099 was introduced to the California State Assembly. If approved, AB 2099 will require that all schools headquartered or operating in California will be subjected to approval by the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE). At first glance, this proposed bill seems like a proactive way to monitor colleges and universities in order to ensure that Veterans are getting their full academic return on investment received through their military service.

But on May 6th, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), combined with the support of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) formally announced their opposition to AB 2099. Prepared with help from the law firm Bancroft PLLC, EANGUS has presented a document that argues that the bill negates the rights of Veteran students, and conflicts with federal law.

The EANGUS document contends that AB 2099 restricts Veterans’ rights to attend federally authorized, accredited schools. The document raises the issue that, if AB 2099 is approved, Veterans can be denied the ability to use their benefits in California at the school of their choosing, despite the fact that the GI Bill is paid for by the federal government and was earned on the blood, sweat and sacrifice of the Veteran.

Through AB 2099, lawmakers in Sacramento are trying to put the same restrictions on the GI Bill that they did with the Cal Grant program. AB 2099 establishes that schools must maintain certain eligibility requirements, subject to investigation by CSAAVE. These requirements include providing:

  • Licensing information on state licensing programs
  • Evidence of accreditation
  • Data regarding Veteran student retention rate and graduation rate, time to degree, cohort default rate, and graduate placement and graduate starting salary
  • Evidence of compliance with the federal Principles of Evidence Program

Additionally, the institution must meet one or more of the following:

  • Maintain a three-year Cohort Default Rate (CDR) of less than 15.5% and a graduation rate of greater than 30%
  • Maintain a three-year CDR of less than 10% and a graduation rate of above 20%
  • Have less than 40% of undergraduate students borrow federal loans.

But the EANGUS document also argues how requirements made by AB 2099 should not be within a state’s jurisdiction: “It is one thing for California to impose graduation rate and cohort default rate requirements in connection with the State’s expenditure of its own funds under the Cal Grant Program. It is quite something else for California to try to impose those requirements on a federal program that makes use of federal funds. That is what AB 2099 proposes to do.”

EANGUS believes that it is supporting the Post-9/11 GI Bill by opposing AB 2099 and calls on others to come together and closely examine the significant problems associated with the bill. EANGUS has expressed concern that if California enacts such a restriction on the GI Bill, other states may enact similar legislation leading to a patchwork of state regulations in which the GI Bill would differ from state to state.  This California legislation will set a precedent to change the GI Bill and has the potential to penalize Veterans.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: EANGUS Warns CA Vets Against Bill AB 2099: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Honor Flight Takes Off: By Debbie Gregory

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By Debbie Gregory

Earlier this month, the Honor Flight Network aided 135 Veterans in achieving their dream trip from Kansas City, MO to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
As stated on their website, www.honorflight.org, “The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s Veterans for all their sacrifices.”
The organization was founded in 2004 by U.S. Air Force (Ret.)Captain Earl Morse. While working for the VA at a clinic in Springfield, Ohio, he noticed that many of his older patients at the clinic were interested in visiting the World War II Memorial. Unfortunately, they were very often physically or financially unable to make it to the memorial in their honor.
For the first Honor Flight, the former military physician’s assistant and licensed civilian pilot flew a single World War II Veteran at his own cost. A week later, he took a second WWII Veteran. Both Veterans were moved to tears by the generous gift. Morse began recruiting the help of his pilot friends, and the Honor Flight Network took off.
The latest excursion, out of the Heartland Honor Flight, was one of the largest groups that has ever gone out of the Midwest. The group of more than 135 Veterans included 85 WWII Veterans and 5 Korean War Veterans. Each Veteran was allowed to bring one caregiver or family member to assist them on their journey to Washington, D.C. The oldest Veteran to make this trip was reported to be 98 years old.
The Veterans on this trip were taken to the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Air Force Memorial. They also went to Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects.
For most of these Veterans, it was their first and only chance to visit the memorials built in honor of their sacrifices. The Honor Flight Network is providing a great service to Veterans who deserve to see the monuments that the nation has dedicated in their honor.
To apply for an Honor Flight, follow the link to their application portal. Please note that the Honor Flight Network holds World War II and terminally ill Veterans in priority for their service.
To donate to the  Honor Flight Network please CLICK HERE.
Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.
Military Connection: Honor Flight Takes Off: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Indiana Law Protects Vets: By Debbie Gregory

5 14 at 4 pm  Indiana law

By Debbie Gregory

U.S. military Veterans are a proud group of men and women. Most Veterans, after they separate from their branch of service, just want to live productive, peaceful lives. Veterans want to work, go to college, advance their careers in their new fields and provide for their families.

Recently, Indiana became the first state to approve a law that protects Veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Indiana National Guard from employment discrimination. On March 25th at the National Guard office in Ft Wayne, IN, Governor Mike Pence signed the bill into law that authorizes the Indiana Civil Rights Commission to receive, investigate and attempt to resolve discrimination complaints.

If the commission determines that an employer was in violation of the law by failing to employ an individual based on his or her Veteran status, provisions were made that include placing the Veteran in the position they were denied.

But the new law also makes provisions for employers, stating that employers may have an affirmative defense to a discrimination claim. This would be true if a qualification standard, test or selection criteria that screens out or otherwise denies a job or benefit to a Veteran with a disability is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity, and performance cannot be accomplished by reasonable accommodation. The law also allows for religious entities to give employment preference to individuals of a particular religion.

Effective July 1, 2014, the new law will require Indiana employers with six or more workers provide applicants with a notice that details this new law concerning employment opportunities for Veterans. State officials in Indiana will develop a model notice that an employer may use to comply with the new law.

Governor Pence often refers to Indiana as the most Veteran-friendly state in the country. With the passing of the new law, it is clear that Indiana stands for those who have served. What is your state, your city, your community doing to stand up for Veterans?

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

 

Military Connection: Indiana Law Protects Vets: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Marine for Life: By Debbie Gregory

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By Debbie Gregory

Among all U.S. military branches, there is no comradeship that can compare to the unity found among current and former members of the U.S. Marine Corps. The Marine for Life organization is extension of that camaraderie for Marines who are no longer in uniform.

There is no such thing as an ex-Marine. It’s actually a part of policy that the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, established in 2011. And as all U.S. military personal are accustomed to take care of their own, the Marine Corps’ attitude towards its separated members makes it second nature to make provisions for their Veterans. In Fact, Marine for Life derived its name from the Marine Corps attitude of, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Marine for Life is an official program of the United States Marine Corps, and was formed in 2002 at the direction of then Commandant General James Jones. The organization provides global assistance to Marines and U.S. Navy sailors who served with Marines, who are transitioning into their civilian lives.

The Marine for Life organization serves Marine Corps Veterans in all 50 states and all major Marine hubs around the world. They offer Veterans assistance with employment success, pursuing their education goals and connecting them to the VA benefits and resources that they are earned through their service.

The organization runs through the help of Veteran mentors. Just as nearly all military training comes from learning from those who came before you, Marine for Life asks for other Marines who have successfully transitioned into their civilian careers to help fellow Marines find their own way. The organization also utilizes non-Veteran members of the community who are interested in seeing Marines succeed. Mentors help Marines plan for their career and academic goals, and can help get them started with extremely valuable networking contacts that can be hard for new Veterans to obtain on their own.

Marine for Life also makes use of local and national employers who wish to utilize dedicated, disciplined individuals in their workforce. While there is no promise that they connect every Marine to employment, they do provide job sites, help with creating and improving résumés, and other tools for success.

For more information about Marine for Life, or to become a Mentor, visit www.marineforlife.org or call (866) 645- 8762

Marines and Veterans of all branches of service are also invited to search www.militaryconnection.com. Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Marine for Life: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Veteran Suicide Truth: By Debbie Gregory

Veteran-Suicides

By Debbie Gregory

By now, most Americans have heard the VA’s statistic that claims 22 Veterans commit suicide every day.  Using this data, we can deduce that approximately 8,030 U.S. military Veterans take their own lives. To put these numbers into perspective, as of May 9, 2014, the U.S has lost 6,790 service members in combat since September 11, 2001.

It is unacceptable that the greatest country in the world should lose more Veterans to suicide each year than have been lost in battle over a series of wars, lasting more than twelve years. Steps need to be taken to ensure that we, as a nation, have the backs of the men and women who stood up for us through military service.

The VA contends that almost 70% of Veteran suicides occur in Veterans who are 50 years of age or older. This means that more than 5,500 of the 8,030 Veteran suicides are coming from Veterans of generations who preceded the Global War on Terrorism.

Historically, Vietnam Veterans have had higher suicide rates than other generations of Veterans. The elevated numbers can be due to the emotional suffering they endured due to civilian protests against the war they fought in. The VA estimates that 30% of Vietnam Veterans suffer from PTSD, compared to 20% or fewer among the GWOT era Veterans.

Unfortunately for Vietnam Veterans, widespread public awareness and acknowledgement of PTSD didn’t come about until recently. Many of them struggled with PTSD as they transitioned and built civilian lives. As these Veterans grow older, they are having a harder time coping with their still untreated PTSD.

Veterans of all generations should be made aware of the warning signs of suicide. These include withdrawing from family and close friends, increased substance abuse, stated feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, rage, anxiousness, mood swings, insomnia, and mentioning thoughts of suicide, even jokingly.

Fellow Veterans, family members, friends and caretakers of Veterans who witness these behaviors should research the Veterans Crisis Line website or call 1 (800) 273- 8255. Veterans can also chat confidentially on the website, or text the number: 838255. Veterans should seek help in any way that they can, and concerned friends and family should persuade their Veteran to get help. But in emergency situations, please utilize 911 or your local emergency number.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. MilitaryConnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit MilitaryConnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Veteran Suicide Truth: By Debbie Gregory