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Program helps veterans make smooth transition to college and new career

By DCMA Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES, July 31, 2017 — Defense Contract Management Agency Los Angeles leaders want to empower employees to seek training and higher education to acquire the necessary skills for career advancement. 

Tackling higher education can be an overwhelming process. But for active duty, reservists and veterans, there are multiple programs, including the Warrior Scholar Project, to help conquer this challenge.

Amber Veliz, a contracting intern here in the Pathway program, participated in the project in June. Veliz served in the Navy and left the service in 2006. She started DCMA in 2016. Veliz has a master’s degree in psychology, but is currently attending a local community college to work on prerequisites for another master’s degree in computer science or cybersecurity.

“The Warrior Scholar Project is a holistic and immersive academic training program designed to empower enlisted service members and veterans by developing the skills and confidence necessary to reach their full academic potential and successfully complete an undergraduate program in higher education,” she said.  

Under the guidance of both students who are veterans who have successfully transitioned from the military to college and professors from various universities, new students attending the one or two-week program learn analytical reading, academic writing, and fundamental STEM skills. They understand how the skills they learned in the military can transition to a classroom setting. The program also addresses the many cultural and social challenges faced by veterans as nontraditional students. 

“I had the privilege of attending a WSP event at the University of Arizona, and my only regret is that I did not attend sooner,” said Veliz. “As a Pathway intern at DCMA, it can be difficult to manage school and work, but with the skills gained from participating in the program, I will be a more successful student and, in turn, a more successful employee. The program has impacted me in such a profound way. I am compelled to share this with the rest of the DCMA family.”

Military personnel who aren’t sure about how to start their transition to higher education while employed at DCMA may consider attending a WSP event. 

“I worked on my writing and math skills,” said Veliz. “Developing stronger writing skills has helped me at DCMA and college as I am more confident about expressing my ideas on paper as well as sharing what I learned.

“The events are not a vacation,” said Veliz. “This is an advanced preparation program for college success and will probably remind you of boot camp. But, it is well worth the sacrifice in the substantial benefit you will receive. The skills will prepare you for college and help you at DCMA. Attending an event is a win-win situation.” 

Editor’s Note: This article is intended to inform DCMA personnel about the professional benefits of academic programs. It is not an endorsement of the Warrior Scholar Project or any other specific program.


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