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University of Maryland University College and the Veterans Administration solidified their long history of cooperation on July 10, when they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop coordinated initiatives and perform student outreach activities that will promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce.

Previously, UMUC and the VA have collaborated to promote employment opportunities for UMUC graduates and to support the agency’s mission of helping our military veterans. Just this past year, the VA participated in the university’s Career Services Government Week and Military Appreciation Day.

“On behalf of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, we are so proud of this new partnership,” said Georgia Coffey, deputy assistant secretary for diversity and inclusion, at a signing ceremony held at the Col. Floyd G. and Lt. Col. Dona Hildebrand Student Veterans Lounge in the university’s Academic Center at Largo. “We thank UMUC for the services you bring to our veterans.  We can all agree that there is no more noble mission than serving those who put themselves in harm’s way. I have seen first-hand the results of the education that institutions like UMUC provides our veterans and how it is life changing for them and their families. Again, I thank you for this partnership.”

As part of the new relationship, UMUC and the VA will increase awareness of development programs, internships and employment opportunities through targeted outreach and cross-marketing to promote diversity and eliminate potential barriers to diverse representation within the VA’s workforce.

Other initiatives include branding of the university’s student outreach activities—known as SOAR—as a key undertaking to promote the VA as an employer of choice to UMUC students, faculty, and affiliates; providing outreach for speakers, coaches, ambassadors, mentors and webinars to support each institution’s developmental programs; and furnishing information on opportunities for training, mentoring and shadowing experiences.

The activities through this partnership enhance the VA’s support and implementation of Executive Order 13583, a directive expressly stated to “Establish a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce.”

“We are especially pleased and proud that the Veterans Administration has chosen UMUC as one of its first university partners,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares at the signing ceremony. “This is a wonderful step for our students to get good jobs with the Veterans Administration while also helping the VA in meeting its workforce goals.”