Northeastern University on Wednesday will launch its Center for Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers, a facility that will allow student veterans to “benefit from the university’s experiential learning infrastructure through specialized co-op placements within a global network of 3,000 employers.”
According to a statement released by the university, the center will offer mentorship opportunities and assistance with the transition to civilian life.
A report by Prudential in conjunction with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said that more than two-thirds, or 69 percent, of veterans consider “finding a job” their greatest challenge after service, according to Northeastern.
In addition, the 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report, compiled by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, stated that “about half of all Servicemembers transitioning into civilian life have faced a period of unemployment within 15 months of separation.”
Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun said it is important to honor the student veterans.
“We owe a great deal to our student veterans who have given so much in service to the nation,” he said in the statement. “In honor and recognition of their contributions and sacrifices, we must provide student veterans with an experiential education that allows them to leverage their unique leadership skills for their future careers. Northeastern is the institution that can best prepare them for that next step.”
Andrew McCarty, a service veteran and on-campus student veteran advocate for over seven years, has been named director of the center. McCarty served in the US Air Force from 2000 to 2004 and is also the faculty advisor for the Student Veterans Organization.
He said the center will help set up veterans for success after graduation.
“People have the misconception that the G.I. bill covers everything,” said McCarty in a phone interview. “But, unfortunately, that’s not the case.”
Philomena Mantella, the senior vice president and chief executive of the Northeastern University Global Network, said in the statement that Northeastern “is proud of the priority we place on educating veterans.”
Citing the university’s experiential learning and networking opportunities, Mantella said the creation of the center is about advancing the work the university has already done with student veterans.
“We have 90 percent placement rate, 84 percent graduation rate,” Mantella said of Northeastern’s veterans program. “It’s a mindset that we want vets to take advantage of all Northeastern has to offer. We really try to provide a whole experience, not a minimal one.”
Mantella also revealed that the center’s resources will be available to students not just on the Boston campus.
Through the Global Network, student veterans at Northeastern’s satellite campuses like Seattle, San Francisco, and Charlotte, N.C., will have access to the same support and benefits. According to Mantella, the satellite campuses effectively double the size of Northeastern’s student veteran population.
“This is not just a Northeastern problem, this is a national issue,” said Mantella, explaining that Northeastern is hoping that the center will help fill-in gaps when it comes to veteran’s services.
The president of the Student Veterans Organization, Maxwell Spahn, lauded the center’s opening in a phone interview on Tuesday, calling it a “one-stop shop for all your benefits.”
Spahn, a Marine Corps sergeant, said that the guidance the center will provide in helping veterans translate their skills onto a civilian resume and finding a job will be one of the most important benefits to its opening.
“It’s failure or success, there’s no in-between for us in the military,” Spahn said. “A lot of us, we get freaked out coming to college about failing.”
Aimee Ortiz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @aimee_ortiz.