All posts by Scott Cole

‘Choosing the Right School’ Guide

There are recent changes to the ‘Choosing the Right School’ Guide.

This new version includes information about the different types of degrees/programs that you can use with the GI Bill, the importance of school accreditation, and much more valuable information to help veterans make the right decisions on where to use their hard earned benefits!

Check it out right here.

Also, check out the VA’s “Know Before You Go” video, featuring Veterans who have used their GI Bill benefits and offer great advice for how veterans can make the most of theirs.

Check out the video here.

Veterans can use their benefits to obtain an associate, bachelor’s, master’s degree, or even a Ph.D.

They can participate in a certification program to gain the credential required for the civilian job you want.

Or, learn a new trade through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.

For some Veterans, having so many options can feel overwhelming. “Make sure you have a plan,” says Kyle White, an Army Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient who appears in the video.

The GI Bill Comparison Tool is a great place to start. But perhaps the most powerful resource to help one make well-informed decisions about the future is your network of fellow Veterans.

Again, take a moment to watch the video to hear more from Kyle and other Veterans.

The VA wants to make sure this generation of Veterans has every opportunity to succeed and understands how important it is to prepare for life after the military, and will continue working to provide all veterans with the research and tools they need.


The Great American Teach-In

SPC student veterans to participate in Great American Teach-In on Nov. 18

Members of the Student Veterans Association (SVA) at SPC’s Gibbs Campus will participate in “The Great American Teach-In” at Pinellas Park Middle School, 6940 70th Ave. N, on Wednesday Nov. 18.

Student veterans from the U.S. Marine Corps, Army and Air Force will share with students their insights on the importance of education, hard work, and the determination.

Presentations will be held throughout the day in slots beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing through 4:30 p.m.



Christopher Clarke   (Marine) 12:30pm – 4:00pm
Aaron  Haga       (Air Force) 9:00am – 10:00am
Christian Thompson    (Army) 11:00am – 12:00pm
Wendy Keil         (Army) 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Stan Turner     (Army) 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Jeff Thomas    (Air Force) 1:00pm – 3:00pm

For more information, contact Jeff Thomas, Gibbs Campus SVA Vice President,

at (727) 545-6400 or

SPC receives 2016 Military Friendly School Designation

2016 Military Friendly School Designation

St. Petersburg College has been designated as a 2016 Military Friendly School on a list provided by Victory Media, Inc.

The group surveys “thousands of institutions and adjudicating lists that capture best practices in recruitment and retention of military employees, students and franchisees” are surveyed by the group. “These schools and employers represent the top tier of institutions with leading opportunities for military service members and spouses,” according to the veteran-owned business’ website.

Its lists of Military Friendly Employers, Schools, Franchises and Cities are published annually in G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines.

View all participating institutions on the 2016 list of Military Friendly Schools.

Veterans Services at SPC

SPC’s Veterans Services is here to assist veterans, eligible dependents, active duty servicepersons and members of the Selected Reserve. Our Veterans Services Specialists help ease the transition of starting, continuing or resuming an education. We offer assistance with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits to more 1,700 current student veterans.


Alliance for Persons with Disabilities

Tampa Mayor’s Alliance for Persons with Disabilities

Job Fair for Veterans & Persons with Disabilities

Thursday, November 12, 2015 – 9 AM – 1 PM

Registration starts at 8:30 AM

Port Tampa Bay, Terminal 2, 651 Channelside Dr., Tampa, FL

Register here.


  • Have your resume reviewed before the fair
  • Receive professional Job Search Training
  • Job Fair website with workshop handouts
  • Speak with employers seeking to hire you

NOTE: If you register online, you will be emailed the job fair agenda, a map, and the list of employers a week before the event.

RESUME REVIEWS: Begins Monday, September 14, 2015 & Ends on Thursday, October 22, 2015

  • Submit your resume for review to
  • Feedback will be inserted in RED so you can improve your resume


Create an Achievement Based Resume to Get More Interviews

9 – 10:30 AM

Beat the Other Candidates with Compelling Work Samples

9 – 10:30 AM

Develop a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

9 – 10:30 AM

Learn How to Ace an Interview

10:30 AM – 12 Noon

Master Personal & LinkedIn Networking

10:30 AM – 12 Noon

Negotiate the Salary & Benefits You Deserve

10:30 AM – 12 Noon

SPECIAL NEEDS REQUESTS: Must be received by 3 PM on Wednesday, November 4, 2015!

Scholarships for FL Children

Step Up For Students is a non-profit organization that helps administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) and the Personal Learning Scholarship
Accounts (PLSA) program.

The scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and empower families to customize their children’s education.


The FTC allows low-income families to choose between two K-12 scholarships. One is worth up to $5,677 to help cover private school tuition and
fees, and the other is worth up to $500 to assist with transportation costs to attend a public school in another county. (These scholarship amounts
are for the 2015-16 school year. The private school scholarship amount may increase for the 2016-17 school year.)


The PLSA allows parents to customize the education of their children with certain special needs by directing money toward a combination of approved
programs and providers including approved private schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology— even a college savings account.
The scholarship amount varies, but the average amount for 2015-16 is $10,000 (and may increase in 2016-17). Students with the most severe
disabilities are eligible for a higher scholarship amount.

For more information, visit the Step Up For Kids website.

You can also check these flyers (English/Spanish):

Step Up For Students_June 2015

Step Up For Students_June 2015_b

Vet Entrepreneurship Training Symposium

3rd Annual HCC Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Symposium

Hillsborough Community College is hosting the 3rd Annual Veterans Entrepreneurship Training Symposium on November 14, 2015 from 10:00-4:00 p.m. at the HCC Plant City Campus.

Participants are encouraged to register because space is limited.

Plus, the Pitch Competition offers 3 prizes: $1000, $2000, and $3000.

Click here for more information.


Elks Pledge 4 Million to End Vet Homelessness

WASHINGTON  – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is strengthening community and non-profit partnerships to better serve Veterans. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America (BPO Elks) today announced that it has committed $4 million over a 4-year period to help end Veteran homelessness.

This partnership and pledge embodies the mission of MyVA, launched last year to transform VA by putting Veterans in control of how, when and where they wish to be served. In order to achieve transformation, the Department has been reaching out to community partners working to meet the needs of Veterans.

As a part of this partnership, the Elks will work with VHA staff on pilot programs in the cities of Washington, Chicago and New York City. In addition, the organization is calling on the group’s  800,000 members accross the country to support efforts to support homeless Veterans in their communities. The Elks have a strong tradition of service to VA. In this fiscal year alone, approximately 1,300 Elks members volunteered more than 117,000 hours of service at VA facilities nationwide.

“We’re so excited about partnering with the Elks on this important issue impacting far too many Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.  “As we move closer to our goal of ending Veteran homelessness, partnerships like these will be critical to ensuring that all Veterans have access to safe and affordable housing.”

“Our goal is to provide the tools and support necessary for homeless Veterans to transition successfully into healthier and more stable lives,” said Mary Morgan, Director of the Elks National Veterans Service Commission. “Most Americans agree that Veteran homelessness should not exist, but few people know how they can help.”

For more information about VA’s homeless initiatives, visit  For more information about the Elks’ service to Veterans, visit

New VA Education

New VA education and training initiative creates pipeline to hire mental health counselors

Eighteen pre-degree internship positions awarded


If you are a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, VA needs you!

As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) recruitment plan to hire additional mental health care professionals, a new training initiative has been funded to attract Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors (LPMHC). LPMHCs are an important aspect of the mental health treatment team and VA plans to continue to increase hiring in this profession.

“By building a pipeline of highly-trained Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors, VA will ensure that these important mental health clinicians are available to treat the Veterans we serve today and those we will serve in the future,” said Dr. Robert L. Jesse, Director, VA Office of Academic Affiliations. “Through the ongoing expansion of mental health education and training programs, VA will be better positioned to attract the most qualified and skilled professionals to treat our Veterans.”

To support hiring efforts, VA has announced new clinical training opportunities for LPMHC students for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year. Eighteen pre-degree internship positions were awarded to seven VA medical centers to provide clinical experiences within VA’s interprofessional mental health teams.

“Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors contribute substantially to VA’s ability to deliver high-quality patient care for Veterans.”

VA anticipates an expansion of these positions in coming years to assist with future workforce needs.

Through its network of academic affiliations and VA-sponsored programs, VA provides clinical education and training programs for approximately 120,000 health care professionals each year.

Recognizing that VA’s health professions training programs are a key resource for recruitment of healthcare professionals with high-level Veteran-centric skills, VA invests $100 million annually to pay stipends for these developing clinicians in key mental health professions including LPMHC, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, and social work.

Sixty percent of VA psychiatrists, 70 percent of psychologists, and 35 percent of social workers have previously participated in VA’s own training programs. We are optimistic that LPMHCs training in VA will be interested in returning to VA for future employment.

“VA is a leader in defining the education of future health care professionals to meet the changing needs of U.S. health care delivery,” said Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors contribute substantially to VA’s ability to deliver high-quality patient care for Veterans. Now we are developing a group of highly skilled trainees to ensure future growth in this important mental health profession.”

Interested mental health care providers can find additional information about VA careers and apply for jobs online

Man on phoneAbout the Author: Kenneth R. Jones, Ph.D. is the Director, Associated Health Education for the Office of Academic Affiliations




Click here for the original article.