Veterans Career Transition Program builds on and transforms IVMF partnership with iSchool
In July 2011, Syracuse University and JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched the Veterans Technology Program (VTP), a collaborative effort to assist veterans transitioning from the military to second careers in large corporations, specifically information technology within global organizations. Since its launch and founding within the University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool), the population of VTP program participants has grown to include those transitioning from the military into operations and additional career fields, and those transitioning to second careers within organizations of all sizes. In addition, the needs of participants have also evolved, with some students needing professional (or “soft”) skills training and/or technical training tied to a specific skill set, paired with others only needing technical training.
To facilitate continued growth of the program across a unique population with diverse needs, and to assist as many veterans as possible, the VTP program has now been transitioned under the auspices of SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and has been re-branded as the Veterans Career Transition Program (VCTP).
“The IVMF is pleased to build on and transform its partnership with the iSchool. The incredible work of Bob Heckman, former senior associate dean and current professor; Sarah Weber, Global Enterprise Technology program manager; Sarah Hagelin, assistant dean for student and faculty services; and Deborah Nosky, professor of practice, in designing and launching VTP, under the leadership of iSchool Dean Liz Liddy, is a terrific example of the partnerships that we want to continue to build on-campus and across programs and colleges,” says James Schmeling, IVMF managing director and co-founder.
“Through our work with veteran service organizations, business, industry and veterans, it has become clear how much demand there is, and will be, in the next five years for programs of this nature. Transitioning program management from the iSchool to the IVMF, while maintaining the iSchool’s information technology curricula development and delivery of that training to veterans, will allow IVMF and the University to expand this method of training into new areas and build on our world-class partnerships with business and industry, to include areas such as advanced manufacturing and other industry sectors as we determine specific demand through our partnerships with over 200 leading companies with veteran hiring initiatives.”
VCTP consists of three separate tracks, delivered entirely online and at no-cost to eligible veterans. The program is paid for by a generous grant from JPMC.
- The Professional Skills Track includes training in professional or “soft” skills, necessary to be successful in the civilian workforce. It covers how to effectively prepare for and execute job searches, including company research, résumé and cover letter writing. Participants become official SU students and receive SU non-credit certificates upon completion. The track also offers a foundation to advanced level courses in Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Students are assigned an academic advisor to assist them as they progress through the program. Cohorts launch quarterly.
- The Tech Track is focused on preparing transitioning service members for next careers in operations or IT. Like the Professional Skills Track, participants become official SU students, are assigned an academic advisor to assist them and receive SU non-credit certificates upon completion. In many cases, where applicable, the program will pay the graduate’s associated exam fees for industry certification. Cohorts launch quarterly.
- The Independent Study Track (coming soon) provides veterans with access to a large library of online coursework covering all subject matters, including professional and personal development, leadership, information technology, accounting and finance. Participants pick and choose individual online classes in areas of interest and support individual career development needs. Participants have six months of access and a bank of 25 credits to design their own program. Coursework can begin weekly, and in many cases, where applicable, the program will pay associated exam fees for industry certification. Participants are not SU students and do not have an assigned advisor.
To participate in VCTP, applicants must be post-9/11 veterans or service members within one year of transition from service to the civilian workforce. This includes Guard and Reserve members who have civilian sector employment, or will be transitioning within one year. Participants may be employed and seeking career advancement or change, underemployed (working in a field other than their qualifications would prepare them for, or working for lower salary or fewer hours than they would like) or unemployed. The program requires an application which reviews applicant preparedness and likelihood of success in the program, as well as career goals and fit with program offerings. Interested veterans can apply online by clicking here, or visiting http://vets.syr.edu/employment/employment-programs.
In addition to transition of VCTP program management, staff members overseeing the program have also been transitioned and/or hired by the IVMF. They include:
Cohen is responsible for overall VCTP administration and management. He joined SU in July 2011 as lead advisor for VTP within the iSchool. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served as an artillery officer. Cohen was stationed in Germany with the 1st Armored Division and served two tours in Iraq in roles including foreign military advisor, platoon leader, executive officer, civil-military affairs officer and training officer. Upon release from active duty, he entered supply chain operations management for Kohl’s Department Stores, where he held various positions of progressively increasing responsibility and was accountable for the development and performance of over 200 employees. His professional experience includes advising, coaching, training, operational and strategic planning, operations management and recruiting. Cohen received his B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he participated in ROTC.
Cooper has been in her present role since 2012. She is responsible for maintaining open lines of communication with students and assists with questions or concerns regarding certificate coursework, program offerings and career advice. She is accountable for processing registrations for follow-on certificates, maintaining student records toward program completion, reviewing and providing feedback on résumés and cover letters and contributing to the team’s overall admissions goals and student retention. She holds previous experience within the education industry, including a four-year role as an academic advisor and later advisor team lead for an online nursing program through Chamberlain College of Nursing. In that role, Cooper worked with both undergraduate and graduate students on course registration, school expectations and policies and general counseling. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and education, and a minor in Spanish language, from Wingate University, North Carolina. Her passion is connecting people with continuing education opportunities and aiding in personal and professional growth through advanced degrees, certificates, formal training or any means of learning.
Jeffery has been in her present role since 2012 and joined SU in 2005. She previously worked in the advising and academic support office of The College of Arts and Sciences, coordinating advising and registration processes for undergraduate students. Prior to making the transition to the civilian workforce, Jeffery served in the Coast Guard for over seven years. She was a machinery technician third class and stationed at search and rescue small boat stations in Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Florida, working mainly in search and rescue and law enforcement. Since leaving the Coast Guard, she has worked for a diverse collection of employers including a seminary, ceramic tile corporation, toy distribution firm, engineering and resources firm, general contractor and non-profit charity corporation. She holds an associate’s degree in ecology and environmental technology from Paul Smith’s College, and is four classes away from completing her bachelor’s degree in geography at SU and is pursuing Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.
Johnson is responsible for enrolling qualified students, counseling prospective students, evaluating admissions applications and tracking statistical data. She previously worked as a student support coordinator within the advising and academic support unit of SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, where she was responsible for coordinating student support functions for current and prospective students, including helping them make a successful transition to college and ensuring they were linked with all University and college services. Her daily duties involved supporting student records management, pre-health and pre-law advising support and career/major exploration. She additionally served as a liaison to students, faculty, staff and administration in facilitating college objectives and helping students develop academic career plans and successfully meet academic and career goals. She holds a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications from The Pennsylvania State University and is currently pursuing a master of science in information management at SU.