Military Connection: Great News for VA Benefits: By Debbie Gregory

S.2258A measure has been passed that paves the way for increased benefits for Veterans with disabilities.

The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014, referred to the Senate’s Committee on Veterans” Affairs as Senate bill: S.2258, passed by unanimous committee consent on September 11th. It was then sent to the House. Once in the House, S. 2258 was fast tracked on a motion by Rep. Lamborn from Colorado. The legislation was passed by a voice vote in the House on September 16th.

Essentially, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014 directs the secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the payments of a number of Veteran benefits. The increased rates will affect benefits such as Veterans” disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, clothing allowances for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. The measure also requires each increase to be the same percentage as the increase in benefits provided under Title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act, on the same effective date.

According to the bill, the changes would go into effect as of December 1, 2014.

Since the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2014 has been passed in both the House and Senate, it now heads to President Obama to either be vetoed or signed into law.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: Great News for VA Benefits: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Job Scams Target Vets: By Debbie Gregory

ScamFor today’s military Veterans, the road to civilian employment can be tough. Competing in a tight job market and convincing civilian employers to hire them has proven to be a struggle. Most Veterans can’t or don’t want to sit and wait for an employer to contact them and offer them a job. It is this eagerness to work that has led to some Veterans being scammed.

The Veteran community has been increasingly targeted by unscrupulous rip-off artists, especially those disguised as employers offering job opportunities.

One such scam recently targeted Mark Blum, a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force. When he separated, Blum intended to use his experience as a logistical advisor to launch a civilian career. But instead, he was duped by an online employment scam.

Like many Americans seeking an edge, Blum created a profile on LinkedIn. His profile led to an email from a woman who identified herself as Betty Blakefrom Blue Line Network. “Betty” said that her firm was interested in hiring former military personnel, and that Blue Line Network was interested in having Blum join their team as a project manager.

Blum researched the global shipping and logistics company, and saw on the their homepage that the company was hiring. Blum was also repeatedly contacted by Blake and her boss, Thomas Wilson, over the next several weeks through emails, phone calls. They even conducted a Skype interview. Blum received training manuals and took weekly tests, on subjects related to the supposed job.

After a few weeks of studying, training and taking tests, Blum said that his contacts offered him a side job. They credited his credit card with  funds so that he could purchase computer equipment and ship it overseas. Blum was suspicious of the offer at first. But he received assurances from his credit card banks that the funds indeed were in his account. But after the purchases were made and shipped, the funds disappeared from his credit card accounts,  leaving the Veteran $32,054 in credit cad debt.

California’s cyber task force is now investigating Blum’s case, but so far, they have not heard of any other complaints involving Blue Line Network.

All consumers, but Veterans in particular, are advised to use their best judgment when responding to any unconventional employment offers, especially if it’s one that wasn’t applied for. If anything about the person, company or position seems fishy or too good to be true, then it probably is. And it might be a scam.

If you believe you have been contacted by a fraudulent employer, do not respond and report it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation immediately, via the Chat function on the website: http://www.uschamberfoundation.org/hiring-our-heroes.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp, 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: Job Scams Target Vets: By Debbie Gregory

MilitaryConnection: Vets Find Success at Sullivan U. By Debbie Gregory

Sullivan successSullivan University has a history of commitment when it comes to training and educating veterans and active duty military personnel. The university system, based in Louisville, KY, also has a campus in Lexington, and has operated a campus on base at Fort Knox, KY for more than 30 years. This a testament to Sullivan’s dedication to the military community. The school is also proud of its online division that benefits working professionals, as well as the Dale Carnegie Training Institute.

To further the school’s commitment to the military community, Sullivan formed the Military and Veteran’s Advisory Board, chaired by Brigadier General James Shane (US Army-Retired).  The board is tasked with establishing policies and procedures that provide the best educational experience possible for Sullivan’s service members, veterans and their families.

“I, along with other senior military leaders, stress there are no better ‘work ready’ candidates than our veterans,” said General Shane. “But they are not necessarily ‘work-trained’ and our job is to provide necessary education and training that leads to a second career and gainful employment.”

As part of its Veterans Retraining and Re-employment Initiative, the university sponsored a six-week program in Bowling Green, Kentucky for disabled Veterans’ job training. The program was the result of a collaboration with Preeminent Training Specialists LLC, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce.

Veterans received Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) training in safety, quality, manufacturing processes and production, maintenance of equipment and machines, and green/environmental production.

General Shane  went on to say, “Sullivan University’s partnership with Preeminent Training Specialists and MSSC provides an excellent opportunity for Veterans to seek a new career in manufacturing, one of the fastest growing high-tech industries in the United States.”

Sullivan is proud to report that 75% of the graduates from their Veterans Retraining and Re-employment Initiative have been offered jobs.

“These men and women have sacrificed much for our country,” said Gen. Shane. He added, “At Sullivan, we want to ensure we do everything possible to make their choice of continuing their education a good one.”

Sullivan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The University offers numerous certificate, diploma and degree programs in career-orientated programs. The programs include business, pharmacy, human resources, technology, supply chain management, culinary and baking and pastry arts, hospitality studies, conflict management, nursing, allied health sciences, legal studies and early childhood education.  For more information, visit www.sullivan.edu.

Sullivan is proud to have received the very first Military Connection Veteran School Salute. The award recognizes veteran colleges and universities that go above and beyond in their efforts to help military students, veteran students,  and their loved ones use the rich education benefits that they have earned, and make the most of their education experience.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: Vets Find Success at Sullivan U. By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Females with Ranger Tabs? By Debbie Gregory

Female RangersWhile opportunities in all branches of the armed forces are less abundant than they were just a few years ago, there is one population that appears to be in high demand for military officials. The Army could be looking for female volunteers to attend Ranger school.

Last week, Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Navy, Ray Mabus, voiced his desire to see more females in Navy and Marine Corps uniforms. Now it seems that senior Army leaders might be looking for female soldiers to participate in a one-time opportunity to attend the elite Army Ranger training.

The invitation is part of the military-wide effort to assess how to open combat-oriented occupational specialties to women. The Army is expected to decide in January if it wants to proceed with its experiment of an integrated Ranger school. If the Army does move forward, it would more than likely happen in Spring, 2015.  At that point, the Army will need female volunteers already in place and ready for Ranger school.

As part of this potential experiment, the Army is looking for two groups of volunteers, as outlined in two separate All-Army Activity messages.The Army is seeking female soldiers in ranks E-4 through O-4 who would be interested in attending Ranger school as students. All applicants must meet the same prerequisites and physical qualifications that males are held to in order to attend Ranger school.

Any female soldier who volunteers and manages to successfully complete and graduate from Ranger school will receive a graduation certificate, and be awarded and authorized to wear the Ranger tab.

However, women who graduate Ranger school may or may not be permitted to receive the associated Ranger skill identifiers, or be assigned to Ranger coded units or positions, pending future decisions about whether women will be allowed to serve in combat arms MOSs.

Female soldiers can also volunteer to serve as observers and advisers to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. These slots are open to enlisted personnel E-6 through E-8 and officers in paygrades of CWO 2-3 and O-2 through O-4. Volunteers for this assignment will not be Ranger instructors, and they will not evaluate students in the course.

Selection packets for both groups are due by October 10, 2014. Interested soldiers should work with their personnel officers and chain of command to submit their applications.

Applicants should be able to find out the results of their applications in December.

The Army has not yet determined how many volunteers it needs, part of the open-call is also is to determine the level of interest among female soldiers.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: Females with Ranger Tabs? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Corvias Foundation Scholarship: By Debbie Gregory

CorviasAs part of our commitment to connecting military/Veteran families with valuable resources and information, Military Connection features organizations that serve these communities. One such organization is the Corvias Foundation.

Founded in 2006 by John G. Picerne, the Corvias Foundation is the non-profit arm of the Corvias Group, originally “Our Family for Families First.” The foundation was established by Corvias Group CEO John Picerne as a way to give back to the families of the men and women who serve in the United States military, some three million active duty and reserve military personnel.

The Corvias Foundation works with colleges and universities, military families, students, and their employees to help individuals and families reach their educational goals and dreams.  The foundation accomplishes this through scholarships and grants.

Since its creation, the Foundation has invested more than $5.2 million in grants and scholarships to the children and spouses of active duty service members at Corvias installations. This year alone, Corvias Foundation has awarded 20 grants, totaling $100,000, to the spouses of active duty service members at Corvias installations.

Over the last seven years, 90 high school seniors have been awarded scholarships of up to $50,000, and the foundation has helped more than 160 non-traditional students, including Veterans and military spouses, receive grants in order to return to school.

The Corvias Foundation is a private, charitable organization. The foundation is committed to supporting military families in their pursuit of higher education. The Corvias Foundation has been recognized by the White House for its service.

Beginning November 1, 2014,  the spouses and children of active duty personal stationed at the following installations are eligible to apply for $50,000 college scholarships: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Bragg, Fort Meade, Fort Polk, Fort Riley, Fort Rucker, Fort Sill, Edwards AFB, Eglin AFB, Eielson AFB, Hurlburt Field, McConnell AFB, Seymour Johnson AFB.

Go to http://corviasfoundation.org/?id=application-information to apply.

For anyone interested in becoming a corporate contributor to the Corvias Foundation, you can inquire at: [email protected]

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: Corvias Foundation Scholarship: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Retired Gen. to Return to Iraq: By Debbie Gregory

gen. AllenRetired Marine Gen. John Allen has accepted his next mission. On September 13, 2014, Gen. Allen was appointed as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State (also called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL). Gen. Allen brings with him a substantial résumé, chalked full of experience in the Middle East.

From 2006- 2008, Allen served as the deputy commander in Iraq’s Anbar province, where his assignments included organizing the Sunnis to fight against al-Qaida. From 2008 to 2011, Allen served as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. And in 2011, Allen was promoted to four-star general (O-10) and served as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013.

Allen also has experience working with the current head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Lloyd Austin, who will oversee America”s military campaign.

Because of his vast experience, especially dealing with leaders of Middle East nations, Allen has been tasked with coordinating the joint efforts by the U.S. and nearly 40 other countries that have agreed to fight the Islamic State. All of the embattled general’s experience and relations could be tested as the campaign against the extremist group intensifies, and the other nations begin to play active roles in the fight against the I.S.

Since his retirement in April, 2013, Allen has been serving as a security adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: Retired Gen. to Return to Iraq: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Newest Push to End VA Backlog: By Debbie Gregory

sep 16In an effort to improve care for all Veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has set a goal to eliminate the appointment backlog by the end of 2015. In the latest efforts to accomplish this goal, VA secretary Robert McDonald announced that the department plans to increase the range of pay for its health care professionals.

Secretary McDonald told the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs Convention that more facilities, more employees and better pay for providers are the keys to solving the appointment wait-time problems that have plagued the VA for years.

The VA is hoping that a more competitive pay scale could sway top-of-their-field doctors to work for the VA instead of private hospitals around the country. Hiring the best would mean better and more efficient care for our nation’s Veterans.

The VA has also been reaching out to Veterans who are already on the waiting list, and attempting to set up appointments for them within the VA healthcare system or private healthcare facilities. As of the beginning of this month, the Veterans Health Administration has reached out to more than 240,000 Veterans in order to get them appointments, reducing the electronic waiting lists by 57%.

While the VA is making efforts to improve the situation, expansions take time, and the Veteran population is growing. The down-sizing of the entire U.S. Military is rapidly separating approximately 250,000 VA healthcare-eligible Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan each year.

Only time will tell if all of these new initiatives and expansion efforts will turn the VA around completely. But at least for now, the VA has halted on its course to total ruin and is coming about onto a new heading. With any luck, it will be full-speed ahead for eliminating the appointment backlog in 2015.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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 Push to End VA Backlog: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Accelerated Learning for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

Accelerated learningOn September 10, 2014, the White House and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hosted a roundtable discussion, bringing together government, American industry, and education leaders. The topic of discussion was regarding how utilizing accelerated learning programs could help our nation’s military Veterans. The symposium was part of the White House’s Skills and Supplement Demand-Driven Training Initiative.

Accelerated learning is a non-traditional form of education that utilizes multiple learning styles in order to maximize learning effectiveness, and generate considerable advancements in skills and knowledge. Individuals, such as Veterans, who have had long gaps in their academic endeavors can pursue accelerated learning programs with a career or industry skills development focus in mind. Many accelerated learning programs that are currently available include accelerated certificate programs, apprenticeships, online courses and boot camps.

The VA is looking into using accelerated learning programs to enhance or replace traditional education programs for Veterans. During the initial period of exploration, the VA will focus on information technology programs due to the high demand for IT’s, optimizing Veterans’ chances for transitioning into successful careers.

The VA is attempting to develop a strategy that utilizes accelerated learning and tests its effectiveness for Veterans in projects over the next two years. In order to assist with formulating the program, collecting student data and evaluating its success, the VA will need to work in collaboration with educators and employers.

The White House and the VA plan to use the feedback provided at the roundtable discussion to maximize the effectiveness of the program.

Many Veterans and Veteran advocates have, for some time, been against the need for Veterans to go to college in order to use their benefits. Accelerated learning programs won’t likely get Veterans a degree, but they will eliminate the need for Veterans to spend several semesters taking classes simply for degree requirements in subjects that they will never need for their desired career. With a certification from an accelerated learning program, the VA hopes that Veterans will have a more direct route from the military to civilian employment.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: Accelerated Learning for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Winning the GI Bill Invasion: By Joe Silva

Veteran student invasionColleges and universities: be on the lookout…more than a million Veterans are flooding campuses nationwide. And even more Veterans are on the way. How can you prepare?

According to the Student Veterans of America (SVA), more than 1.2 million Veterans have gone back to school using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The SVA also claims that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued $43.1 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to Veterans. Those numbers are set to continue to climb as more Iraq and Afghanistan-era service members separate from the military at a rate of around 250,000 each year.

I, myself, am a college graduate by way of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and can speak firsthand of the increasing presence of Veterans on campuses  throughout the U.S.  This should drive home the point that schools wanting the VA’s tuition money need to step up their efforts to accommodate the needs of military Veterans.

Most colleges have made major progress in providing for Veteran students since 2008. Now, almost three-quarters of them have at least one member of their staff specifically dedicated to assisting Veterans. But there is always more that can be done to provide for military Veteran students.

Many schools have created a common gathering space for their Veteran students. Veteran Resource Centers, Veterans Affairs offices, lounges and study areas are becoming more and more common. Make sure that your school’s space is known to your Veterans, while still encouraging them to mingle with the rest of the student population. Interacting with other students contributes to a well-rounded education through the exchange of knowledge.

Along the same line, many schools with large Veteran populations have introduced events, forums and even courses that focus on inclusion,  and allow these students to field questions about the military from their classmates. Many Veterans won’t openly share with strangers what they have experienced, but if asked, they are happy to answer.

One final thing that schools can do for Veteran students is hire Veterans. With more than one million Veterans who have returned to college, there is a growing number of Veterans with degrees. The nation’s academic institutions can assist all students, especially Veteran students, by tapping in to this talent pool. From staffing administration offices and Veteran Resource offices, to tutoring centers and even classroom instructors, hiring qualified Veterans should be a top priority.

By showing Veterans that your school is dedicated to helping them succeed in their mission to earn a college degree, administrators can guarantee the continued enrollment of GI Bill students.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp, 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: Winning the GI Bill Invasion: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: National POW/MIA Recognition Day: By Joe Silva

powmiaToday is National POW/MIA Recognition Day in the United States.

In 1979, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution that authorized a national day devoted to the American Prisoners of War (POW) and personnel who went Missing in Action (MIA).

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is not a federal holiday, but is intended to be a national day of observance and recognition for the service members who were held captive, and the ones who never made it home. Since 1986, National POW/MIA Recognition Day has been held on the third Friday of September.

It is no secret that current and former members of the U.S. Military hold their traditions and oaths to be sacred. Anyone who has ever donned amilitary uniform has put themselves at risk of injury and death for the oaths they swore to uphold. One of the promises that service members hold most sacred is the one they make to their brothers and sisters in arms, to never leave their comrades behind.

On this day, we are asked to observe and recognize the sacrifices made by 83,193 Americans who remain unaccounted for, and the thousands who were captured by enemy forces.

In World War II, more than 130,000 Americans (military &amp, civilian) were taken as prisoners of war, and there are still 73,539 Americans listed as MIA from that war.

More than 7,100 Americans were taken as POWs during the Korean War, and 7,881 are still listed as MIA.

Approximately 800 Americans were captured during the Vietnam War, and 1,641 are still listed as MIA.

There are also 126 Americans who are listed as MIA from military operations during the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

All of these brave souls are remembered and honored for their sacrifices in service to their country, and for the promise that couldn’t be kept to bring them home.
Please take a moment in observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and 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: National POW/MIA Recognition Day: By Joe Silva