Veterans and Proprietary Education has been a hot topic lately. On one side are critics who claim that For-Profit schools are employing predatory practices to enroll ex-military personnel and get their hands on coveted GI Bill funds, which don’t count toward the 90/10 rule. On the other hand, Proprietary schools have found both opponents and proponents within the military community. Stripes.com, the online version of the military’s Stars and Stripes magazine, has recently featured several articles and letters to the editor from servicemen and servicewomen that both favor and condemn proprietary schools.
Although we are huge proponents of educating veterans, our topic today is to discuss employing them.. And these same For-Profit schools at the root of so much controversy are increasingly finding that veterans are an excellent fit for their admissions, education, financial aid and career services departments.
An article by Gen. Eric Shinseki, Veterans Affairs Secretary, eloquently states many of the reasons that veterans can be great hires. But what specific skills and qualities do they offer the Proprietary Education field?
- Ethics – in an industry that has gotten a black eye for ethics issues (deserved or undeserved), bringing in employees with a strong sense of ethics is essential. In fact, a strong sense of duty and wanting to do the right thing is the reason many enlist in the military to begin with.
- Transferrable skills – several military departments teach skills that are easily transferrable to the major departments within a Proprietary school, specifically education, recruitment, budgeting/finance, and outplacement services.
- Experience working with other cultures – For schools that serve a diverse student population, a veteran may have more sensitivity and understanding of different cultures, for two reasons. First, they have likely served side-by-side and depended on people of multiple cultures, races and faiths. Second, a veteran who has done multiple tours in various parts of the world will most likely have a better understanding of different cultures.
- Grace under pressure – Veterans have learned to function in situations where stress is high and resources may be limited. This makes them great “on their feet” thinkers who are able to make quick, incisive decisions.
- Teamwork and leadership – These are core values taught to military men and women. In fact, they are often placed in situations in which their lives may depend upon their team and/or their ability to quickly take charge, lead and delegate in a high pressure situation. So you won’t have to worry if they can keep your admissions department on their feet and working together as a team.
We’d love opinions from any of you who have hired veterans, or from any veterans who are currently working in the Proprietary industry. Have you found the core values taught in the military to be valuable to your career in the For-Profit industry?
Another thing we’re curious about – does your school have any kind of hiring or management training program for ex-military personnel? If so, we’d love to hear about what you’re doing and how it’s working out for your school.