AFCEA International Chapter News

The Way Ahead for Wounded Warriors

In San Antonio, home to some of the world's most prestigious military medical facilities, the difficult path of the wounded warrior has grown all too familiar. Although physical rehabilitation services, housing assistance and recreation opportunities for wounded veterans are abundant, AFCEA studies have found that the needs of many seeking new careers often go unmet. With these findings, gleaned from a large consortium of wounded warrior support agencies, the chapter worked alongside AFCEA International to launch a pilot program called Way Ahead to help wounded veterans re-enter the work force. The goal of the program, which will launch in June in both San Antonio and the Washington, D.C., area, is to provide training, education, mentoring and (eventually) employment for veterans seeking careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The chapter is working closely with the San Antonio staff and instructors of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers in the initial phases of the program. Areas of coordination include the selection of wounded warrior candidates, helping them with tuition funding through the GI Bill and Post 911 funds, and the training itself. In some cases, New Horizon instructors also will double as technical mentors for the veterans' part of a two-pronged mentoring approach designed to smooth the path from battlefield to employment. While technical mentors assist the veteran (who may have had little or no training in STEM fields prior to deployment) through the rough spots in classes and other areas, a professional mentor will also be assigned, with levels of commitment extending beyond the veteran's graduation and up to a year post-employment. The Way Ahead program is unique in both the dual-track mentoring approach and its geographic flexibility. Through AFCEA International's broad professional network and web of affiliated chapters, wounded warriors will be eligible to find training, employment and mentoring anywhere in the nation—although interest in hiring qualified STEM job seekers in San Antonio already has been piqued. More than half a dozen local companies already have stepped forward, hoping to vet Way Ahead alumni for STEM jobs once their training is complete.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Marla Dial

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