At a time when employ­ment num­bers for stu­dent vet­erans lag behind those of civilian peers, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is launching the Center for Advance­ment of Vet­erans and Ser­vice­mem­bers, which will offer a wealth of ser­vices and ben­e­fits, including men­tor­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties and assis­tance with the tran­si­tion to civilian life.

Stu­dent vet­erans at North­eastern ben­efit from the university’s expe­ri­en­tial learning infra­struc­ture through spe­cial­ized co-​​op place­ments within a global net­work of 3,000 employers. Through this new center, they can also access tai­lored expe­ri­en­tial learning pro­grams and career resources that leverage their unique indi­vidual com­pe­ten­cies and mil­i­tary experience.

We owe a great deal to our stu­dent vet­erans who have given so much in ser­vice to the nation. 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.”
—Joseph E. Aoun, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity president

Despite a slowly improving unem­ploy­ment rate, vet­erans nation­wide con­sis­tently face greater bar­riers to employ­ment than non-​​veterans. According to the Depart­ment of Vet­erans Affairs, half of all vet­erans in the United States will face a period of unem­ploy­ment after tran­si­tioning from mil­i­tary service—particularly younger vet­erans, with those aged 18–24 facing an unem­ploy­ment rate double that of civilian peers. In a report by Pru­den­tial in con­junc­tion with the Iraq and Afghanistan Vet­erans of America, 69 per­cent of vet­erans list finding a job as a civilian as their greatest chal­lenge after service.

The center’s proac­tive focus on stu­dent vet­eran employ­a­bility expands Northeastern’s pledge to honor and sup­port the edu­ca­tion and career advance­ment of returning ser­vice members.

We owe a great deal to our stu­dent vet­erans who have given so much in ser­vice to the nation,” said North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun. “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.”

North­eastern has a proud, 100-​​year legacy of edu­cating vet­erans and ser­vice mem­bers. The uni­ver­sity ranks among the top 10 pri­vate, non-​​profit, research uni­ver­si­ties for enrolling post-​​9/​11 G.I. Bill recip­i­ents. North­eastern also signed a first-​​of-​​its-​​kind agree­ment ear­lier this year to offer accel­er­ated master’s degrees in home­land secu­rity to mem­bers of the National Guard.

New student veterans visit the university's Veterans Memorial

New stu­dent vet­erans visit the university’s Vet­erans Memo­rial during their ori­en­ta­tion tour at North­eastern on Sept. 3, 2015. Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University.

The uni­ver­sity is building on its strong track record of edu­cating and preparing stu­dent vet­erans for the future: Northeastern’s stu­dent vet­eran grad­u­a­tion rate is 82.6 per­cent, well above the national average of 51 per­cent. Through its Insti­tute for Mil­i­tary Lead­er­ship in the Work­force, the new center will serve all aspects of vet­erans’ inte­gra­tion into acad­emia and will link stu­dents to strategic part­ners in the pri­vate sector. Based in Boston, the center’s reach and impact will extend world­wide to vet­erans within Northeastern’s Global Network.

North­eastern is proud of the pri­ority we place on edu­cating vet­erans,” said Philomena Man­tella, senior vice pres­i­dent and CEO of the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Global Net­work. “Our strong his­tory of serving the mil­i­tary, our exten­sive suite of acces­sible pro­fes­sional pro­grams, and the prox­imity to large mil­i­tary bases near our regional cam­puses posi­tion us as leaders in deliv­ering expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion to stu­dent veterans.”

In addi­tion to announcing the new center, the uni­ver­sity also announced the appoint­ment of Andrew McCarty as director of the Center for the Advance­ment of Vet­erans and Ser­vice­mem­bers. For over seven years, McCarty—a vet­eran himself—has been an advo­cate for stu­dent vet­erans on campus and advisor to the Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion, which has con­sis­tently been ranked as a top chapter by Stu­dent Vet­erans of America.

We now have more oppor­tu­ni­ties to explore dif­ferent career paths, to learn how to better trans­late skills for the civilian job market, and to build rela­tion­ships among the com­mu­nity.”
—Max Spahn, Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion president

There are some 600 stu­dent vet­erans cur­rently receiving ben­e­fits and sup­port at North­eastern, and McCarty expects that number to con­tinue to grow in the wake of the opening of the center. The university’s com­mit­ment to vet­erans now totals some $4 mil­lion, including its assis­tance through the fed­eral Yellow Ribbon Pro­gram, the sup­port and oper­a­tion of the new center, and the estab­lish­ment of a new schol­ar­ship pro­gram to aid vet­erans with costs not oth­er­wise pro­vided for through the government’s benefits.

Addi­tion­ally, North­eastern has more than 90 ongoing research projects funded by the Depart­ment of Defense, two Cen­ters of Excel­lence funded by the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity, and a $15 mil­lion state-​​of-​​the-​​art research insti­tute that focuses on sen­si­tive prob­lems of national secu­rity. This past Sep­tember, the uni­ver­sity signed a $20 mil­lion coop­er­a­tion agree­ment with the U.S. Army Research Lab­o­ra­tory to con­tinue con­ducting crit­ical defense research.

The opening of this new center gives stu­dent vet­erans at North­eastern a place to cul­ti­vate cama­raderie and broth­er­hood, and also a struc­tured envi­ron­ment in which to study and col­lab­o­rate,” said Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion Pres­i­dent Max Spahn. “We now have more oppor­tu­ni­ties to explore dif­ferent career paths, to learn how to better trans­late skills for the civilian job market, and to build rela­tion­ships among the community.”