By Charles Altman
U.S. Navy Veteran
The Military Veterans Initiative at the Carlson School of Management is led by Charles Altman, a retired U.S. Navy commander who dedicated nearly three decades to military service. Altman knows too well the difficulty of transitioning from active duty to civilian life.
With nearly 300,000 Veterans transitioning from active military service to civilian life in the United States each year, there is vast potential for strong leaders to enter the workforce. However, I have personally seen many service members and Veterans struggle to obtain a position equal to their experience and education, while others can’t find a job at all. When you walk out of one professional life and into another, it’s cold. The Carlson School wants to extend a warm welcome for these Veterans, and ease the transition to a new career.
Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature voted to expand the Minnesota GI Bill to include more Veterans. Previously only Veterans who served after September 11, 2001 were eligible for the Minnesota GI Bill, which supplements other Veteran education programs. Now, under the new law any Veteran under age of 62 who has served honorably in any branch of the armed forces during any time period may be eligible.
“This is important because the program will now assist the Veterans who need it the most,” said David Bellefeuille, director of the Higher Education Veterans Programs for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. Many pre-9/11 Veterans have either used all their federal education benefits, or they have expired. The enhancements to this program will now assist all Minnesotan Veterans with long-term employment opportunities. The plan starts with education and financial assistance to help Veterans, who have served and sacrificed for this country, achieve their goals.
Legislative Director, MDVA
Once again another budget year has come to an end - but not without challenges. The Legislature literally finished their work in the eleventh hour - minutes before midnight on May 20 – and achieved much in order to keep Minnesota moving ahead. It was a strong year for Veterans. Initiatives that were necessary and supported by the Governor and the legislature was able to put the final linchpin in several Veterans initiatives. Governor Dayton delivered a budget that invests in Minnesota Veterans, ensuring they receive the education, opportunities, and benefits they earned through their service.
» Minneapolis Veterans Home. The budget includes $18.9 million in the bonding bill to complete Phase 3 of the Minneapolis Veterans Home replacement project. With this state funding, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to leverage $35.2 million in federal funds through a compflagetitive grant process and will provide high-quality skilled nursing services for Minnesota’s Veterans.
» Expansion of the Minnesota GI Bill. With an additional $1 million investment, the Minnesota GI Bill program will expand to include all generations of veterans – not just those serving on or after 9/11. This expansion will help ensure all Minnesota veterans have access to the education and training they need to get good-paying jobs.
» One-on-One Help for Veterans. The budget provides $2 million in increased grant funding for County Veteran Services Offices, which help veterans and their families obtain the benefits and services they earned through military service.
MDVA Higher Education Veterans Program, Southeast Regional Coordinator
When Minnesota’s Veterans return from deployment, they are greeted with a wider support network than any of their brothers or sisters from other generations before them could ever imagine. Even with so much assistance available, it can still be difficult to make ends meet, especially when attempting to further their education. There are many education benefits available, but often students have a hard time making ends meet while they juggle their studies with their jobs and their families. The Hiawatha Valley Yellow Ribbon (BYR) Committee saw this as an opportunity to show their gratitude.