From witc.edu: “Veterans enter workforce with help from Wisconsin’s technical colleges” – After nearly five years in the Army and three tours in Iraq, Brent Rapos found educational and career success at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. Rapos chose accounting because he always liked numbers.

“It had been a number of years since I had been in school and when I started taking classes, I wasn’t sure I could switch careers,” Rapos said. He enrolled in online classes through WITC so he could continue to work and support his family.

Slowly, his comfort level with the college grew and so did his confidence. Rapos completed his associate degree and is working toward an online bachelor’s degree. He also started a tax return preparation business. That confidence was the key.

The former sergeant credits Cheryl Pich, financial aid advisor at the WITC Rice Lake campus, with helping him access the Wisconsin GI Bill benefits available to him.

“She is so helpful with what benefits are best for you and all the different paperwork required. Cheryl was very proactive, getting the information needed before the deadlines,” he said. “I also felt she really appreciated my service.”

Veterans who faced challenges during their service return to Wisconsin with leadership skills that can be a great match for the education and training available through the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).  By accessing the WTCS, veterans contribute to their college community, which only enhances their value to Wisconsin business and industry.

According to the American Council on Education (ACE), more than 2 million soldiers are transitioning to civilian life after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The number of students using their Wisconsin GI Bill benefits in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) has increased dramatically since these new state education benefits became available during the 2005-06 school year, when about 1,000 eligible veterans or the eligible spouses or dependents first used the program.  During the 2011-12 academic year, almost 4,500 Wisconsin veterans or spouses or dependents used the Wisconsin GI Bill in the WTCS.

“We help vets in any way we can,” says Terry Klein, the director of financial aid for WITC. “We will answer any questions via phone, e-mail, or in person and we try to meet with each veteran in person to explain the process and gather the information we need to process their benefits,” Klein says. “We keep up to date on any changes to educational benefits so that we can pass this information on to our veteran students. We also work to resolve any problems that might come up in regards to their benefits.”

Once enrolled in classes at WITC, the college has another form of assistance for veterans. Organizations for veterans exist or are quickly being added at WITC’s four main campuses to help provide useful information and resources to veterans throughout the school year.

One such group at WITC’s Rice Lake campus offers support to veterans for academic success. It also provides a place and time for veterans to gather, network, and support one another, and helps to identify unmet needs unique to veterans.

“WITC works hard to identify the needs of veterans and how to best help veterans and their families succeed,” said WITC President Bob Meyer.  “Veterans bring a wealth of experience and add tremendously to our college communities and we are honored to help them succeed.”

 

From nbc15.com: “VIDEO REPORT: Madison College Helping Student Veterans” – Adjusting to life after serving overseas can be difficult as it is, then add going back to school to that list. A new clinic at Madison College’s Truax Campus is helping ease the veterans’ transition.

Randy Bouzek served overseas for several years. When he got back, he realized he was missing one thing, a college degree. He’s now a student at Madison College. He says “VA Connections” will help him as well as other vets adjust to school and succeed at getting their education. The clinic will offer therapy, crisis management and health care.

The vets will then be able to focus on their futures and bring their leadership and experiences to the college to share with classmates.

There were at least 800 veterans enrolled at Madison College last year.

 

From matctimes.com: “Veteran Student Organization underway” —  The Veteran Student Organization is an organization for MATC veteran students returning home from deployment. Like BSU or LSO, this organization helps students with financial needs to attend classes at MATC.

Student accommodations are provided for veteran students. They provide financial and emotional support when needed.

The Veteran Student Organization is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8: 30 a.m.- 4 p.m. in room 322 of the Main Building.

From postcrescent.com: “Job search aid offered to veterans” – GRAND CHUTE – The Student Employment Service department at Fox Valley Technical College is offering a free summer job search series for military veterans of all eras.

Job Search Investigation for Veterans is an eight-week employment program designed specifically to deal with the challenges local military veterans face as the transition into civilian and work life.

Session are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. beginning Thursday and are held every Thursday, excluding July 5, through Aug.19 in room A154 inside entrance 15 at FVTC’s main campus. Topics include how to leverage service to enhance employability, leadership skills, and networking strategies, in addition to exploring several job search tactics.

For more information, call 920-735-5627 or visit www.fvtc.edu/jobsearchprograms.

From oci.wi.gov: “Accelerated Certificate Program Now Available for Veterans at Madison College” — In honor of the Year of the Veteran, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced that Madison College has designed a pilot project that would create an accelerated insurance certificate program for veterans. This accelerated certificate program will lead to jobs for veterans in the Wisconsin insurance community.

The project was created through the efforts of Madison College, the Wounded Warriors Regiment, the Dane County Veterans Office, and insurance industry partners with assistance from the Office of Commissioner of Insurance, the Department of Financial Institutions, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This pilot program highlights what we can do when we all work together,” said Governor Walker. “Wisconsin based insurance companies are looking for good employees and our returning veterans are looking for good jobs. By partnering with Madison College and veterans groups, this program can help grow our insurance industry and provide great opportunities for our returning heroes.”

The pilot program focuses on insurance industry jobs. Wisconsin has the 5th largest domestic insurance industry in the country with over 300 companies residing in the state. However, many of these companies have noticed a shortage in qualified employees while at the same time experiencing employment growth and coping with an aging workforce.

The accelerated certificate program will allow veterans to obtain an insurance certificate from Madison College after a single semester of intensive instruction and study. Classes are tentatively scheduled to allow interested veterans to focus their class time to a single day per week, with some classes possibly held on Saturday. The program is also working with employers to help veterans find work in the insurance industry even before classes begin in September.

“As the Wisconsin economy continues to grow, our workforce needs to be ready,” said Governor Walker. “Our state agencies will continue to partner with leaders like U. S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Michael Gillitzer from the Wounded Warriors Regiment, Martha Lester-Mittenzwei of Madison College, BJ. Ganem from Dane County Veterans Office and others to ensure our veterans are prepared for the opportunities to come.”

From sheboyganpress.com: “Area military veterans find companies ready to hire” – CLEVELAND — Corey Evenson of Manitowoc has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, based out of Ashwaubenon.

Perhaps, the U.S. Army reservist’s next overseas assignment may be for The Manitowoc Company.

“We have facilities all over the world … about 75 percent of our current openings are salaried from entry level to vice president,” company recruiter Erin Pierre told the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay sophomore at Tuesday’s Veterans Career and Benefits Fair.

The global cranes and foodservice equipment manufacturer, with facilities in 26 countries, was one of a couple dozen employers and service providers at the event held at Lakeshore Technical College.

Dan Heilman, vice president of Operations for Invincible Office Furniture Solutions in Manitowoc, was able to quickly identify the advantage of hiring veterans, in addition to tax credits.

“Organizational skills … veterans are very task-oriented and don’t require a lot of ‘resupervision,’” Heilman said.

Invincible is looking for assemblers, material handlers and general laborers to help make office furniture, including desks, computer tables and file cabinets.

One of the veterans reviewing Invincible’s job openings was Sheboygan Falls’ Richard James, 52, who served in the Army from 1982-85 and will graduate next month with a two-year associate degree in nuclear technology.

“I have to explore all job options and believe the knowledge I’ve gained here at LTC can be useful in other industries, too, not just nuclear,” James said.

A brochure from the state Department of Workforce Development’s Wisconsin Job Center identified “10 Reasons to Hire a Veteran” including:

» Accelerated learning curve

» Leadership

» Teamwork

» Diversity and inclusion in action

» Efficient performance under pressure

» Respect for procedures

» Technology and globalization

» Integrity

» Conscious of health and safety standards

» Triumph over adversity

Military to civilian

Marcea Ann Weiss was in the Army from 1994-2003 and served as a Blackhawk helicopter test pilot and maintenance manager.

“About 200,000 men and women leave the military every year,” Weiss said. She said veterans should think about what they enjoyed about their military service and take it into account when performing their civilian job search.

Weiss has written a book, “Leaving the Military: Your Deployment Guide to Corporate America.”

She was at the fair as the Midwest branch manager of Merendino Cemetery Care, which performs grounds management, interments, construction, mausoleum restoration and horticulture to religious, private and national cemeteries.

It participates in the Veteran GI Bill Apprenticeship program.

It is one of many state, federal or volunteer programs intended to reduce the unemployment rate of veterans.

According to data released recently by the federal Bureau of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate for those who served post-9/11 was 12.1 percent last year, up from 11.5 percent in 2010 and well above the national average of about 9 percent.

Weiss said leadership skills is the No. 1 asset many veterans possess that can benefit a private sector employer.

She said even soldiers whose “MOS” (Military Occupational Specialty) was “11-Bravo” — or infantryman — was trained to be a platoon leader and acquire people management abilities.

Weiss said she helps employers learn how “to speak veteran” and appreciate that former armed forces members are able to take orders but also adapt and adjust for maximum efficiency.

She doesn’t have to sell Tom Faley, who was at the fair to recruit potential new hires for Sargento Foods.

“Veterans tend to have great leadership qualities … they can see (the company’s) vision and communicate it,” Faley said.

Veterans are among the valuable new employees that have helped, Faley said, grow Sargento four-fold in the 25 years he has been with the company to a work force now totaling about 1,500 with plants in Kiel, Hilbert, Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, Bellingham, Wash., and North Sioux City, S.D.

From wisconsinrapidstribune.com: “Lawmakers seek to aid unemployed vets” – AMHERST — Randy Rosholt had trouble finding work when he returned from each of his two tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait. Rosholt, 45 of Amherst, eventually found a job, but officials say many veterans in the state aren’t so lucky.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates there are 21.3 million veterans in the U.S., and the state estimates there are about 400,000 vets in Wisconsin. The unemployment rate for veterans in February was 7.7 percent; higher than the 6.9 percent overall state unemployment rate.

The state Legislature recently passed a set of bills designed to help veterans find work and receive training for those jobs.

One bill, signed by Gov. Scott Walker this month, makes it easier for veterans to get civilian credentials for certifications they’ve earned in the military. Another bill, sponsored by several state legislators, including Democratic Stevens Point legislators Rep. Louis Molepske Jr. and Sen. Julie Lassa, will give employers a tax credit for hiring disabled veterans.

Those bills will help a great deal, said Portage County Veteran Service Officer Mike Clements.

“Veteran unemployment is 4 percent higher than it is for civilians,” Clements said. “This is a huge problem we deal with every day.”

Clements said veterans learn a lot of valuable skills in the military, but those skills aren’t always acknowledged by employers.

“In some ways, one could say their service put them behind their peers, who were going to school while they were at war,” Clements said.

The average age of veterans returning to school after military service is 24, said Ann Whipp, veteran certification official at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

And those coming back also deal with the difficulties of readjusting to civilian life, she said.

“Not only is it the school setting that they’ve not been in for several years, but they’re readjusting to civilian life,” Whipp said.

Mid-State Technical College Stevens Point Campus Dean Steve Smith said staff members see the same thing at the Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield campuses.

Smith said students who are veterans often sit in the back of the classroom so no one is behind them.

“They need to be in control of the environment,” Smith said.

Rosholt, who still is active in the Wisconsin National Guard, said he dealt with that coming back from his two tours. He had lived in Milwaukee but had trouble with the hustle and bustle of city life after being in a combat zone, so he moved to central Wisconsin.

Rosholt said he’s still dealing with issues as he readjusts from his service overseas. Sometimes when he drives, his eyes scan the road for improvised explosive devices, something he learned on convoy missions. He grows nervous when vehicles drive too close to him, forcing him to readjust so he has space. Fireworks around the Fourth of July can still put him into battle mode.

“Over there, you have to be on guard,” Rosholt said. “You couldn’t trust anybody.”

Those things can be difficult to deal with for soldiers trying to look for employment or earn their degree, which might be a reason why unemployment among soldiers is higher than their civilian counterparts.

But Rosholt said there’s been a big change in the way the state handles the issues of soldiers returning home between his first tour from 2005 to 2006 and his second from 2009 to 2010. He attended three or four reintegration seminars that didn’t exist after his first tour.

“I think when I came back from my first tour, the state was just starting to figure out how to deal with us,” Rosholt said. “I noticed the second time around when I came back, services for war veterans was very helpful. There’s a lot more participation.”

From madison.com: “New MATC program could help war veterans balance school and health” – All told, Savage Margraf spent about five-and-a-half hours Wednesday afternoon going to a series of appointments at the Veterans Hospital.

That meant the 25-year-old Iraq War veteran missed two classes at Madison Area Technical College in order to get treatment for her traumatic brain injury and other health issues.

But a new program at MATC may make it easier for student veterans to balance school and their health. The Madison Veterans Hospital won a grant to create a mini-V.A. at the college.

The new program, set to start in May, will embed a full-time social worker at the college. Specialists, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, addiction specialist, and a benefits expert, will drop in once a week. Wellness programs, such as yoga and tai chi, will be offered.

“It’s stressful to try to cram doctors appointments in between classes, where you have to leave the school, go all the way to the V.A., and come back,” said Margraf, who served in the Marine Corps for four years. “It makes it a lot more stressful to try to do that than it would be to just walk downstairs.”

The number of student veterans at MATC — also known as Madison College — is the highest in the state among the Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges, according to data from the Wisconsin Technical College System. There were 588 students receiving a tuition waiver under the state and federal G.I. Bills at MATC in the 2010-11 academic year, the most recent year for which state data is available. Milwaukee Area Technical College had 504 student veterans, according to the data.

MATC officials say that number doesn’t reflect the full number of veterans because there are some who don’t qualify for tuition benefits. They say there are 786 full-and-part-time students in 2011-12.

“I think it’s important to realize the reintegration process, coming back especially if they were deployed to a war zone, is a monumental task,” said Heidi Sigmund, a psychologist at the Veterans Hospital and director of a program on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Many veterans say the journey of going from civilian or soldier or Marine is easy when you compare it to trying to come back from Marine or soldier to civilian.”

She said some veterans feel like they don’t fit in with other students. Others with PTSD may have anxiety disorders that get triggered by crowded classrooms. Many veterans are trying to juggle going to school with a family, work, and therapy, Sigmund said.

“One of the goals is to kind of just relocate a clinic [at MATC] a couple days a week where they can really get everything they would receive here, there,” Sigmund said. “Our effort is to decrease any barriers to care. To just make us as accessible as possible.”

Officials say they hope the close proximity will draw in new patients. In a survey that the hospital conducted, students said the hospital’s location is inconvenient, they don’t know what services are offered, and it’s too complicated to access benefits.

Margraf openly talks about her health issues in the hopes of helping other veterans. She said there’s still a negative stigma toward mental health treatment in the military.

The Lodi resident suffers from PTSD, a back injury, and a traumatic brain injury from her time as a turret gunner in Iraq. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last March.

Margraf — who said her father named her after the Savage Arms rifle company — is in the liberal arts transfer program and hopes to transfer to UW-Madison in the fall.

She won’t be able to get treatment for all her ailments at MATC, but she may be able to schedule appointments to treat some things, such as PTSD.

“I’m supposed to be doing a newer PTSD treatment therapy,” she said. “But I haven’t been able to schedule it because of school.”

 

 

From htrnews.com: “Veterans go to college for civilian career prep” – MANITOWOC — Andrew Madson, 25, is in his third semester at the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc with the goal of transferring to UW-Green Bay and earning his bachelor’s degree in social work.

Madson, a 2005 Lincoln High School graduate, is a U.S. Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq in 2007 for 11 months.

“I want to work for the Veterans Administration and help veterans the way they were there for me,” said Madson, who struggled with his own drug dependency issues.

Aimee Augustine, a U.S. Army veteran who serves as deputy in the Manitowoc County Veterans Service Office, told Madson about provisions of the Wisconsin GI Bill benefits including:

» A full waiver (remission) of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents for up to eight full-time semesters or 128 credits at any University of Wisconsin System or Wisconsin Technical College System institution for continuing education, or for study at the undergraduate or graduate level.

» The veteran must have been a Wisconsin resident at the time of entry into active duty. Character of service and active duty service requirements apply.

» The benefit recipient must reside in Wisconsin.

» For veterans, there is no post-service time limitation, as opposed to the federal Montgomery GI Bill’s 10-year post-discharge limitation.

» The veteran may attend full or part time.

‘Fabulous opportunity’

Brenda Augustine, 51, was a quality inspector at Burger Boat Co. for more than 10 years.

The Army veteran said she is attending Lakeshore Technical College in its quality assurance technician program, calling it a “fabulous opportunity.”

Augustine said with manufacturing so competitive, companies will increasingly need to find ways to reduce costs, become efficient through lean strategies and increase quality.

A member of the Marine Corps from 1976 to 1979, Jeff Van Ess is attending LTC in its manufacturing management program.

Van Ess was employed at Eggers Industries for 26 years but now is a full-time student.

A Kiel High School graduate and Air Force veteran, Jason Reimer, 38, said he is “pretty encouraged” that state Veterans Employee Services’ Jim Warner can help him find a job.

Reimer is a welder by trade who said he would go back to school if a job called for more extensive education.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Graff, 23, another Kiel graduate, is in his third semester at UW-Sheboygan after serving in the Marines. He intends to seek a mechanical engineering degree from UW-Platteville.

Retraining program

A new “Veterans Retraining Assistance Program” will offer 12 months of retraining assistance to up to 99,000 unemployed veterans between July 2012 and March 2014.

Veterans must:

» Be between the ages of 35 and 60

» Have an other than dishonorable discharge

» Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program like the post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation

» Not be in receipt of compensation by reason of unemployability

» Not be enrolled in a state or federal training program

» Training is to be offered by a community college or technical school and result in an associate degree or certificate

» Training is to prepare the veteran for a high-demand occupation

For more information, contact the Manitowoc County Veterans Service Office at (920) 683-4417.

From htrnews.com: “Finding work for Manitowoc-area veterans” – Wisconsin veterans looking for work have two high-profile supporters — President Barack Obama and Gov. Scott Walker.

“Our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it,” Obama said in his January State of the Union as he outlined a new jobs program for veterans.

“It is unacceptable to think that any man or woman who has served our country would return home and not be able to find a job,” Walker said in his State of the State.

With about 15 percent of veterans unemployed, considerably higher than the citizenry-at-large, those who served in the military, irrespective of decade, can reach out for job-seeking help.

Jim Warner’s passion is to match veterans with job opportunities.

“When people hire a veteran, I think they will be very pleased and will want to hire more. Veterans have stick-to-it-iveness and are highly trainable with transferable skills,” said Warner, a U.S. Navy veteran who works for the state Office of Veterans Employment Services.

Warner primarily works in Green Bay but comes to the Manitowoc County Job Center on Thursdays to meet with veterans and also “speak with employers to gain their support in giving veterans an interview.”

He helps veterans who have just returned from the military — though many of them take advantage of education benefits and go to college — as well as those who have become displaced workers several or many years after wearing the uniform.

Like Tony Jones, who served in the U.S. Marines for four years and was discharged in 1998.

“Improvise, adapt and overcome” is the unofficial mantra of the Corps, and Jones said his military experience helped prepare him to serve Orion Energy Systems in production process control.

He’s been with Orion for about a year, with the company taking advantage of a “Work Opportunity Tax Credit” that was part of the federal Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011.

Scott Gilson, Orion’s vice president of human resources, said military experience is “one more plus” in a job applicant’s column, though, usually most important is having a particular skill set the company is seeking.

Still, succeeding in military life includes being flexible and open-minded about new strategies and approaches and those are traits Orion looks for in its 280 employees, including Jones and eight other veterans.

Kevin Crawford, Orion’s senior vice president of governmental affairs and corporate communications, lauds Walker’s focus on veterans.

Crawford said providing strong education and job benefits is a way to help retain Wisconsin veterans who have returned to the U.S. to resume their civilian lives.

Get back to work

Steve Ignera was one of about 40 city of Manitowoc workers whose jobs were eliminated at the end of 2011.

“I would like to return to the job market as soon a possible,” said Ignera, a Parks worker for 27 years. “If you’re off any longer than a year employers tend to wonder what’s wrong with this person.”

The Army veteran is appreciative to Warner for helping him write a resume and cover letter “to bring out the skills I have.”

Ignera also takes advantage of federal law mandating veterans to have access to Job Center postings on the Internet 24 hours ahead of nonveterans.

He plans to go to Fox Valley Technical College in spring for a three-week diesel truck driving school, to augment the commercial driver’s license he previously used driving trucks for the city.

“I enjoyed working outdoors and the city had real good benefits … it was all very hard to give up,” Ignera said. “Now, it’s like I’m starting over.”

“Steve is very enthusiastic and doesn’t want to ride unemployment for a year … he is motivated to go to work,” said Warner, who wants those he advises to “feel good about themselves.”

Warner said it is not just skilled labor openings that he tries to match with veterans. “It is also people who in their military careers have been professionals in administration or accounting or human resources,” he said.

Project management

Lisa Mrotek Miller and her husband, Barry Miller, both 41, are Army veterans on a mission to land post-military positions.

A Lincoln High School graduate, Lisa Miller retired in 2008 as a master sergeant after a 20-year career that included serving as a senior munitions logistics supervisor in Uzbekistan and Kuwait.

With her mother residing in Manitowoc, Miller has bachelor’s and master’s degrees and would like to go into property management or take advantage of her background in human resources and marketing.

The couple celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary Saturday and had an offer accepted on a Manitowoc house last week. They also have purchased a small storefront downtown on Quay Street they are renting out.

Last week also was significant for the Millers because Barry’s retirement papers were approved. His last day in uniform as an acting sergeant major will be Aug. 13.

But he said his departure date can probably be moved up should a new employer want to bring him onboard sooner.

“I’d like to get involved in project management … help a company whether it be with a labor dispute or, perhaps, a logistics flow issue,” he said.

Miller said private-sector employers should find value in the resiliency that is critical to successful military careers.

He said many military veterans also have faced tough life-or-death situations testing their ability to carry out critical tasks under pressure.

Miller said he is always grateful when citizens express their support to him as one who has defended America but said employers shouldn’t hire him only because of a tax credit.

Hire veterans because of their resilience, leadership flexibility and ability to get the job done, he said.

The Millers said they are excited to be new homeowners in Manitowoc with Barry citing an affinity for the downtown and Lisa expressing a fondness for running along Lake Michigan.

Helping vets get back to work

November 14, 2011

From gazettextra: “Groups helping vets get back to work” — ROCK TOWNSHIP — Derek Hauger joined the Army the summer after graduating from Janesville Craig High School in 2002.

The next spring, he was among the troops leading the invasion of Iraq.

The veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, he joined the military with a friend because they thought it would be cool to shoot guns. The former infantryman now lives with memories of bullets, bombs and deaths.

He was blown out of his seat by a roadside bomb. The same incident killed his driver.

“It was pretty crazy. We lost a lot of people,” he said. “It wasn’t fun at all. I’m lucky to be standing here.”

The experience wounded his mind. He still scans the roadside. He checks rooftops. He knows there’s no danger, but he can’t help himself.

“It’s been a rough ride,” but it’s gotten better, he said.

On the outside, Hauger is a friendly guy who staffs a computer-help desk at Blackhawk Technical College.

“I really enjoy helping people,” he said at a veterans memorial ceremony held at BTC on Thursday.

Hauger has gotten counseling and medications, but he still feels the effects.

Read more from gazettextra.com

From BizTimes.com: “Vets for hire” – Steve Robinson, emerging media manager at Core Creative Inc., a Milwaukee-based advertising agency, joined the Army National Guard in 1999 because he saw the military as an opportunity to learn new skills and broaden his horizons.

“I wanted to round out my experiences,” Robinson said. “I saw it as an opportunity to grow and push myself in new ways.”

Robinson is one of the 1.7 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have returned to the United States since the conflicts began, according to the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The United States will pull out all 45,000 troops remaining in Iraq by Dec. 31 and plans a drawdown in Afghanistan by 2014.

A new generation of soldiers is returning home and will be looking to transfer the skills they have learned in the military to the local workforce in a dismal economy.

The unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans is 12.1 percent, and the Obama administration is making job retraining programs for veterans a key priority.

 

From wisconsinrapidstribune.com: “UWSP, MSTC to showcase veterans’ art” –

Two central Wisconsin colleges are teaming up to host a monthlong series of events to highlight, through art, the experiences of local veterans.

“Visions of War,” a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Mid-State Technical College, will include panel discussions, art galleries, film screenings and poetry readings.

Like many artists, veterans use their work to express the feelings and visions of what they went through, and organizers are hoping “Visions of War” will expose the community to those stories.

“This is a way to have a different perspective and understand better what people are sacrificing to live in this country,” said Nancy Schaperkotter, director of student support at Mid-State and one of the organizers.

The idea for the series grew out of a lecture on American government propaganda for support of the troops to be given by UWSP professor Susan Brewer. Organizers began talking about adding a gallery exhibition along with Brewer’s talk, and eventually expanded it to the series of events.

Read more from wisconsinrapidstribune.com

From WXOW.com: “Area colleges, universities named military friendly” — The 2012 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students.

The new list includes UW-La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College in Wisconsin.  In Minnesota, Winona State University also received the award.

The 1,518 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list prioritize the recruitment of students with military service. Schools were chosen for the list based on their offering of scholarships and discounts, veterans’ clubs, full-time staff, military credit, and other services to those who served. The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide.

From the Hudson Star Observer: “WITC: A great option for veterans like Nathan Plumer” – Like any proud mother, Becky Plumer stopped by to share her son’s story. It was definitely worth repeating. As a 2001 Hudson High School graduate, her son Nathan was an average student — his words during an interview for Career Impact, a publication by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.

He joined the Navy as a junior in high school utilizing the delayed entry program. Upon the advice of his father, Nathan had looked into the service and decided it offered him some interesting options.

“He enlisted near the time with the U.S.S. Cole was bombed (October 2000) and we talked about if this was going to be safe,” said Becky Plumer.

Ten days after graduation he left to begin his tour with the U.S. Navy. Nathan’s journey was not unlike many new recruits beginning with boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes in Northern Illinois. Then it was on to Naval Air Station in Pensacola for training. By Aug. 31, 2002, Plumer was deployed on the U.S.S. Nassau, which was stationed in Norfolk, Vir.

“The war was heating up,” said Becky.

While shipboard, Plumer worked as a crash and salvage firefighter on deck. The U.S.S. Nassau was a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship and by the end of December it had transited the Strait of Hormuz. It carried 1,900 Marines, 82 officer and 882 enlisted men.

Read more from the Hudson Star Observer

 

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