Partnership Aims to Expand Pathways to STEM Education, Careers for Veterans

Thanks to a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has partnered with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University to expand educational and career pathways into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields for U.S. military veterans.

CAEL is a nonprofit organization that works to enhance learning opportunities for adults worldwide. With this grant, CAEL and IVMF staff will work with two communities and various corporate and higher education partners to develop strategies to promote STEM education among veterans and ensure more employment opportunities for them in those fields.

A recent IVMF survey discovered that 43 percent of service member respondents specialized in STEM-related positions while in the military. In addition, STEM occupations are projected to add 1 million new jobs in the U.S. by 2022. These are typically higher paying than non-STEM jobs, yet they often go unfilled because of a lack of qualified workers.

“Veterans bring many of the skills needed to succeed in STEM-related jobs, along with strong leadership and work ethic,” CAEL Associate Vice President of Innovation and Policy Amy Sherman said in a press release. “The men and women who have served our country deserve the chance to translate their STEM-related skills into rewarding civilian careers in this high-growth sector.”

With its community partners, CAEL will work to develop strategies to drive veteran academic enrollment and completion in STEM programs, encourage STEM-employer best practices, and build a more seamless pipeline to employment. The IVMF, in collaboration with CAEL, will gather and analyze data to determine which STEM-related careers appeal most to veterans as they transition back to civilian life.

“Transitioning service members often struggle to find the right career after the military, with as many as 50 percent leaving their first post-service job in the first year — and 65 percent within two years,” Nick Armstrong, senior director for research and policy at IVMF, said in a press release. “This research will make it easier for veterans to [transition] into high-demand careers that best match the skills they bring to the workforce.”

The project will culminate in an action plan, which CAEL will distribute to its partners to implement.

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