Post-military life can be challenging for some veterans. Each year, 200,000 service members transition to civilian life,1 yet 581,000 veterans were unemployed in 2020.2 For many veterans, it’s hard to find a fulfilling civilian career where they can honorably serve others. That’s why Penn Mutual is supporting the veteran community with a $3 million agreement with The American College of Financial Services.
The American College Center for Veterans Affairs (The Veterans Center) has helped thousands of veterans in its first decade, and we’re accelerating plans to help many more today and in the future. Built on a rock-solid foundation, The Veterans Center is poised to help veterans in six meaningful ways.
Veterans scholarship program
Core to the mission of The Veterans Center are scholarships to The American College of Financial Services for active duty military, veterans and their spouses. In its 10-year history, The Veterans Center has awarded more than 1,000 scholarships. Although this is an impressive 10-year total, our goal is to award 400 more scholarships in 2022 alone. That’s because we believe in the program.
The results of a 2020 survey of scholarship graduates show that the knowledge and life-long learning gained through a degree from The American College is a differentiator for veterans as they transition to civilian life. Among those surveyed, 92% of graduates said they have more confidence in their ability to help their clients because of their degree or designation.3 The scholarship numbers are impressive enough, but when you include how many lives our graduates touch during their careers, it becomes all the more impressive.
Transition support for veterans
Transition support is simply another name for opening doors. There is a big population of transitioning veterans each year. Today’s veterans not only have the industry skill sets, but they also possess the character traits that match perfectly for a career in financial services. Service for a purpose, integrity, excellence, loyalty and duty are ingrained in most veterans.
A big part of The Veterans Center is to help veterans and their spouses to transition and apply these character traits as part of the financial services industry. The transition support team will also be ready to explain, guide and direct transitioning veterans to educational benefits available to them. We want to get them excited about the possibility of joining the financial services industry or aid them in attaining the knowledge they want to improve themselves and their family’s life.
Career services, job placement and mentoring
The college will launch a new Career Center in 2022 and The Veterans Center will be a big part of it. In conjunction with the college’s extensive network of partners in the financial services industry, for-profit and nonprofit sectors, The College’s Student Experience department, and College alumni, The Veterans Center’s efforts will be very focused, data-informed and outcome-based.
Ultimately, our members will benefit from the Career Center services through career counseling, guidance, mentorships and internships. We’ve already had some great conversations with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program to discuss some exciting ways we can partner with them.
Executive leadership program
The character traits of the veteran population are a great match for a career in the financial services industry. In fact, nearly 3,000 of the college’s alumni identify as a veteran. Many of these are industry leaders, including one of this year’s Huebner Gold Medal winners, Jim Meehan, MSM, managing partner of 1847Financial, a Penn Mutual firm. The Huebner Gold Medal is The College’s highest award, given annually to those individuals who have advanced The College forward in its mission.
Jim is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, served in the Navy, and transitioned to a very successful career as a leader in financial services. Jim also serves on The Veterans Center’s Advisory Board, along with Penn Mutual’s Tom Harris and Sheri Rhoades. We see people like Jim enter the scholarship program every day, and we want to help those veterans wishing to seek leadership positions in the civilian workforce. So in 2022, we are launching a Master of Science in Executive Leadership, with a concentration for transitioning veterans.
Thought leadership and research
Building awareness of The Veterans Center is key to our long-term success. We want our veteran students and alumni to be proud of their affiliation with us and help us spread the word about The College. We are a proven leader in supporting the veterans’ community, and when national media outlets look for relevant research or thought leadership related to veterans in financial services or financial education programs, they will look to us.
Our annual study on careers in financial services for veterans, as well as the college’s annual Education Outcomes Report, will continue to reflect an increased level of compensation, confidence, competence and compliance from The Veterans Center scholarship recipients. We’ll also continue to track and report on the impacts of financial education programs on veterans in areas such as credit scores, homeownership and retirement savings, through our partnership with a consumer credit reporting agency.
Expanding financial readiness
Together with the College’s Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality, we’re also working to promote upward mobility and wealth building in the Black veteran community, by building a pilot program to train veterans and spouses to teach basic financial education to their military community. These financial education trainers will also be offered scholarships through The Veterans Center to pursue careers in financial services.
Additionally, The Veterans Center will collaborate with other Centers of Excellence at The College to help financially prepare veterans and their spouses for life after the military.
How you can help our heroes
Penn Mutual’s announcement of their 10-year, $3 million commitment to build out the services provided by The Veterans Center is very exciting to all of us at The College. With so much more work to be done to support veterans, we continue to look for the help of other partners and funders.
Our biggest fundraiser is the annual Clambake, which raises money to provide educational support and career opportunities to men and women who have honorably served in the Armed Forces. The highlight of the Clambake is The American College Soldier-Citizen Award ceremony, which celebrates the sacrifice, service, and selflessness of its recipient with a patriotic salute. Please take a minute to learn more about the Clambake and how you or your firm can partner with The American College Center for Veterans Affairs.
Giving our deserving veterans the chance to honorably serve in a civilian capacity in the financial services industry is a win-win for everyone.
1 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Transition and Economic Development. June 2021.
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation for Veterans—2020. March 18, 2021.
3 The American College of Financial Services, Veterans Center Graduate Survey. December 2020.
This post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as specific financial, legal or tax advice. Depending on your individual circumstances, the strategies discussed in this presentation may not be appropriate for your situation. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Always consult your legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.