FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2009
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
201-291-1111, ext. 1-5122
BERKELEY COLLEGE REACHES OUT TO MILITARY VETERANS
At Berkeley College, military veterans and personnel benefit from a
combination of a college education and career preparation
When the cheering stops and the “welcome home” signs come down, many believe that returning veterans go back to families and jobs, and everyone is happy. During a recent press conference held at the Berkeley College Newark Campus, however, Assistant Vice President of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, Richard E. Robitaille, EdD, reported that the reality is often very different.
“Many veterans joined the military when they were 18 – right out of high school – and they spent five or six years in service,” said Dr. Robitaille, a combat veteran of the US Army where he currently has 20 years of service. “These young men and women return home to find that their peer group has graduated from college and is well established in corporate careers or trades. Meanwhile, the veterans find themselves at a distinct disadvantage when entering the American workforce.”
In June 2009 when Congress passed the new Post - 9/11 GI Bill to help military personnel achieve a college education, Berkeley College established the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to reach out and support veterans and those serving active duty. Currently, this office assists students through the Yellow Ribbon Program under the GI Bill, as well as through partnerships with the National Guard and the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership.
“In June we became the 34th partner with the US Navy to provide distance learning to active duty sailors,” said Dr. Robitaille. “This is a unique and elite program, and we already have sailors enrolled at Berkeley College.”
The Berkeley College Office of Military and Veterans Affairs is extensively reaching out to NJ National Guard units and working with servicemen and women who recently returned from Iraq. Websites have been set up for each of the military branches to help potential students sort though the new benefits, and College staff are readily available to answer questions.
“We have undertaken massive internal training programs for our admissions, financial aid, and student account staff,” said Dr. Robitaille.
According to Darren West of Maplewood, NJ, a Master Sergeant in the US Army Reserves, this type of outreach is extremely important for returning veterans as well as for those currently in military service.
“Many servicemen and veterans are not aware of the benefits available to them through the GI Bill and their military units,” said Master Sgt. West, who has served for 20 years and is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice at the Berkeley College Newark Campus.
Dr. Robitaille said that the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs will work with veterans to identify and build on military skills that can provide them with an edge in the workplace.
“Peer leadership, team building, and the ability to interact in a diverse environment – these are military skills that can be translated really well into careers in business, business management and criminal justice,” said Dr. Robitaille, naming a few of the degree programs offered at Berkeley College.
In addition to academic support and career preparation, the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs offers personal counseling.
“The major challenge for returning veterans is re-integration into civilian life,” said Berkeley College Personal Counselor Amanda Frey, MSW, LSW, who has more than eight years of experience in the field of social work, including time spent at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. “In the military their lives were very structured and regimented, whereas at college the environment is much more open and free.”
“Even without school as a factor, returning (from war) was an overall adjustment,” said Master Sgt. West. “You were used to living in constant danger. It was a struggle to adapt.”
Ms. Frey, who also spoke at the press conference, said that Berkeley will refer veterans exhibiting more pervasive levels of stress to outside professionals. She is currently networking with VA Hospitals and other community resources to identify appropriate referrals.
Campus Operating Officer, Newark Campus, Stan Holland, MBA, also a press conference panelist, said that – like all Berkeley students – veterans “will benefit greatly from the College’s close-knit family experience, small classes, mandatory internships, and lifelong career assistance.”
A leader in business education for 78 years, Berkeley College maintains an enrollment of over 7,200 students, with more than 700 international students in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree programs. The College has two New York campuses in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, an Extension Center in Lower Manhattan in the Wall Street area, and four New Jersey campuses located in Woodland Park (formerly West Paterson), Paramus, Woodbridge, and Newark. In addition, the College offers Berkeley College Online and its Corporate Learning Partnership program. Programs are offered in more than 20 career fields, and all campuses are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The College’s website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
For more information on the Berkeley College Office of Military and Veterans Affairs visit http://www.berkeleycollege.edu/military/index.htm.
For news and updates on the Berkeley College Office of Military and Veterans Affairs visit PR Resources in the Berkeley College News Room at http://berkeleycollege.edu/forward/military_resources.htm.
Photo Caption A: In June 2009 when Congress passed the new Post - 9/11 GI Bill to help military personnel achieve a college education, Berkeley College established the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to reach out and support veterans and those serving active duty. Assistant Vice President of Military and Veterans Affairs Richard E. Robitaille, EdD, (above) spoke during a recent press conference held at the Newark, NJ, Campus about how military leadership and experience, combined with internships and career-focused curriculum, increases the value of a college education to returning veterans.
Photo Caption B: Berkeley College Personal Counselor Amanda Frey, MSW, LSW, spoke during a recent press conference held at the Newark, NJ, Campus about how Berkeley College helps veterans adjust to life as students. Seated in the photo is Newark Campus Operating Officer Stan Holland, MBA, who also spoke at the conference. Berkeley College established the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to reach out and support veterans and those serving active duty in June 2009.