America must never take for granted the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought and continue to fight against threats to our way of life. Thus, S.E.E.4Vets is steadfast in supporting and honoring these brave men and women with programs to help them as they transition to civilian work and academic life. As a result, our organization has embarked on ambitious long-term programs of work to achieve its mission.
There are ten Arizona community college districts with approximately 43 campuses, three public universities with extended facilities and campuses as well as many for profit colleges and universities. Thousands of veterans transitioning to civilian life, enroll in these higher education institutions. Arizona should lead the nation in cost-efficient and effective veteran supportive campuses. Our Initiatives disrupt the way community college veteran students assimilate to the rigor of academic study and campus life:
- Support the creation of Veteran Service Centers (VSC) for student veterans; VSC seem to improve student veteran retention, and support the improvement/expansion of VSCs at community colleges in Arizona.
- Institute veteran student success programs at community colleges, and provide Grants to these programs, which would directly benefit veteran students academic and certification pursuits.
- Provide opportunities for community college student veterans to engage with local employers and for employers to develop a greater understanding of the veteran culture with the aim of connecting to subject matter experts, presenting opportunities for employment, including mentorships and internships.
With thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans returning from service and looking to start new careers in a dynamic economy, businesses should focus more than ever on supporting veteran’s transition into civilian careers.
Further, veterans find some sense of achievement and satisfaction by starting their own business. A 2011 study from the Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, reported that veterans are about 45 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs than people with no active-duty military experience. The most recent U.S. Census data from 2007 showed veterans owned about 2.4 million businesses that generated $1.2 trillion in receipts and employed 5.8 million people, proving that veterans make their mark on America long after their military service has ended according to Entrepreneur Magazine
In addition, veterans offer a unique set of skills, experiences and leadership abilities developed and honed during their years in the military and in the crucible of combat. Utilizing veterans’ military experiences and inherent discipline can be a definite strategic advantage for a business trying to differentiate itself in the marketplace, as well as them becoming entrepreneurs. Our far-reaching Initiatives are:
- Support mentoring and internship programs to improve employability and sustainable employment for student veterans.This should include periodic office and facility tours as well as luncheons.
- Support a process that enables the learning of private sector best practices aimed to improve the understanding of the free marketplace and free enterprise in private sector business.