Deciding the next step in your career or education after serving in the military can be challenging. At University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), we are dedicated to helping our students in the military and veterans advance their education through a variety of resources and services and prepare for their career.
What Is Veteran Readiness and Employment?
Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E), also known as Chapter 31, is an employment-oriented program for transitioning servicemembers and veterans who have a service-connected disability. These benefits make it possible for veterans to attend college or vocational training and prepare for jobs and careers that fit their goals.
Danielle Johnson is a VR&E and VetSuccess on Campus counselor from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who works specifically with students at UMGC.
“Veterans can apply for services by completing the 28-1900 form,” Johnson says. “After completing the form, an invitation to attend the VR&E orientation will be sent and veterans will have the opportunity to meet with a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) after the orientation.”
In addition to VR&E benefits, veterans can access other employment opportunities, including On the Job Training (OTJ) program, Non-Paid Work Experience (NPWE), and Special Employer Incentive (SEI), all offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
How Does UMGC Help Veterans?
UMGC is proud to provide support to our student veterans as they transition from military to civilian life, and we are there for them every step of the way.
“The support and services we provide to veterans at UMGC are all-encompassing. From the point of inquiry all the way up to graduation, our students are provided individualized advising and support by whatever measure works best for them,” says Kelly Grooms, assistant director of veterans initiatives at UMGC. “Our team is available on site at specific locations, by phone, email or on the spot or scheduled virtual appointments.”
Student veterans can access education benefits and make their degree at UMGC more affordable by earning credit for their prior experiences or through scholarship opportunities. UMGC offers credit for military education and training, which can help students fast-track their degree and save money. UMGC also has designated military and veterans scholarships, and are awarded based on merit, military affiliation, financial need, and other considerations.
“UMGC offers several scholarships to veterans along with Workshop Wednesdays, which discusses employment opportunities that are available to veterans within their trained skill set,” says Johnson.
The Veterans Assistance Fund is designed to help students in the military and veterans enrolled at UMGC cover costs related to their education, and UMGC also offers additional scholarships through the Veterans Initiatives Office and the Student Veteran of the Year award.
“At UMGC, we have a dedicated team of certifying officials ensuring that veterans receive their endowment in a timely manner as well as financial resources and scholarships when education benefits are not available,” says Grooms. “Last year, UMGC was named No. 1 for Best for Vets in Primarily Online Education and No. 1 Best for Vets Employer in Education by Military Times.”
What Is VetSuccess?
UMGC is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs participant in VetSuccess on Campus, a program that helps veterans transition from military service to college and beyond.
“The VetSuccess on Campus program is a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs and UMGC that was created to coordinate the delivery of benefits and services to help veterans and their family members with their education and employment goals,” says Johnson. “We are here to do our best to ensure the veteran and family members are successful in reaching their educational and employment goals.”
Only 103 other colleges in the United States offer VetSuccess, and UMGC is one of only four other universities that is assigned two VA representatives so student veterans can receive the support they need.
“The VetSuccess on Campus program can be seen as a way to ‘skip the line’ and speak directly to a VA representative that is assigned to work with UMGC students,” says Grooms. “Students are able to get answers quickly with the confidence knowing the representative works exclusively with UMGC.”
How Does UMGC Help Students Look for Employment Opportunities?
For more than 75 years, UMGC has served military students and their families by helping them find opportunities to begin their next success. Today, we enroll more than 56,000 active-duty military servicemembers, reservists, veterans, and their family members. UMGC provides our students and graduates with lifetime career services at no additional cost.
“UMGC's career services offers veterans the assistance with translating their military experience into real-world examples,” says Grooms. “Additionally, the career services department offers veterans access to resources to assist with interview prep, resume writing, and networking.”
Student veterans can find resources regarding advising, networking, and events through the Vessey Virtual Student Union. UMGC also offers a One2One Mentorship program, which provides individualized support to veterans and servicemembers. Students looking for networking opportunities can also join UMGC’s Alumni LinkedIn network, which has over 10,000 members, or one of UMGC’s many student organizations.
“We offer the opportunity for veteran students to join our chapters for national organizations such as the SALUTE National Honor Society and Student Veterans of America,” says Grooms. “In addition, there is a virtual student union specifically for military connected students along with social media pages exclusive for military connected students.”
UMGC has more than 175 locations throughout the USA, Asia, and Europe, and many have military education coordinators on military bases so you can meet them in person. Our military education coordinators help connect students with many other resources that are offered. UMGC’s Community Connect program matches students and alumni looking for career advice or mentorship with UMGC alumni and industry professionals in the field.
“UMGC is a true advocate for veteran success based on the lengths they go to assist our veterans that are attending the college,” says Johnson. “They offer real life classes that discuss things about what their career goals and plans are after college and encourage them to begin the process early.”
We thank our veterans for their service and strive to serve them in return with an affordable education and access to employment resources. UMGC hopes to help our students secure their future so they can continue to succeed wherever they are.