Show Me Heroes Initiative Expanded

There is substantial evidence that some veterans, especially younger veterans are having a hard time finding employment. On October 14, 2012, the Wall Street Journal published a story indicating citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data that the unemployment rate for veterans who have served on active duty since the 9/11 attacks was 9.7 percent as of last September, down from 11.7 percent a year earlier. While that certainly is good news, that rate is still well above the 7.4 percentage of civilian unemployment.

In Missouri, the Show-Me Heroes program looks to lower the veteran unemployment rate even further. Launched by Governor Jay Nixon in January 2010, the initiative is designed to connect military veterans with job opportunities when they return home from service. Missouri’s Department of Workforce Development is administering the program, which seeks to connect Missouri’s veterans with employers who are eager to hire veterans. Currently, more than 2,400 Missouri businesses have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge, which led to the hiring of nearly 1,800 veterans.

In July 2012, Governor Nixon signed House Bill 1680, which strengthens and expands the Show-Me Heroes program. The bill adds an On-the-Job (OJT) training component for returning National Guard, Reservists and recently-separated active-duty service members whom Show-Me Heroes employers agree to hire. Through the OJT component, the state will reimburse 50 percent of the participant’s wages during a contracted training period.

If you are a Missourian who has served our country and needs help getting a job, the Show-Me Heroes program is a great resource. I encourage you to visit the program web site at and begin taking advantage of this great program for Missouri veterans or visit the Slate Missouri Career Center to talk to a counselor. If you are a SLU student, I also encourage you to take full advantage of SLU’s Career Services offered through the Student Success Center.

Michael Bamber
Program Director for Military Outreach


Phone: 314-977-3425

Saint Louis University
One Grand Boulevard
DuBorg Hall Room 156
St. Louis, Mo 63103

How Veterans Can Afford to Start Their Own Business

Has the entrepreneurial bug bitten you? Have you ever thought about starting your own business?

If so, you may be in luck. Wal-Mart recently announced it is awarding a $50,000 grant to St. Louis-based Veterans Business Resource Center (VRBC). This organization’s motto is “Veterans Helping Veterans in Business.”  The grant was awarded in order to help the VBRC launch a new program entitled “Hero to Home” program. It is intended to help veterans start a new business or to help those Guardsmen or Reservists who were business owners prior to their deployment to rebuild their business when they return from deployment.

In An Analysis of Small Business and Jobs, the Small Business Administration (SBA) addressed the issue of how to better understand the 7 million jobs lost from December 2007 through December 2009 and a solution as to how to replace them. Specifically, the SBA indicated that “While small and large firms provide roughly equivalent shares of jobs, the major part of job generation and destruction takes place in the small firm sector, and small firms provide the greater share of net new jobs…”

If the only thing that is stopping you from starting a business is the financial support, consider applying for this grant. With funding available through the Wal-Mart grant, and assistance from the VBRC and Saint Louis University’s Center for Entrepreneurship in the John Cook School of Business, you can get the help and advice you need to launch a successful business.

If you are interested in starting a business contact SLU’s Center for Entrepreneurship at 314-977-850.


SLU Awarded Grant for Traumatic Brain Injury Research

Have you ever wondered what other health problems veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom suffer as a result of traumatic brain injuries? A newly funded research program at Saint Louis University may provide some answers.

More than 2,000 veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan since October 2001 have suffered from traumatic brain injuries caused by explosive devices, or IEDs. These devices are unexpended explosives of various origins detonated by a cellphone or another remote device. The high-pressure blast wave generated by IEDs can be as high as 1,600 feet per second and injure troops several hundred yards from the detonation. As a result, any survivors of these blasts are faced with new obstacles in life.

In order to develop a software system to document and track the health problems of veterans who sustained traumatic brain injuries, the Department of Defense awarded a $1.5 million grant to SLU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.  SLU’s Dr. Travis Threats, professor and department chair, will serve as co-principal investigator for the study. The data from the study will help to determine what ways veterans with health problems can be assisted in adjusting to civilian life and achieve goals such as employment.

For currents students that have been diagnosed with a disability, SLU offers assistance through Disability Services.  If you or someone you know anticipate a need for any assistance, please contact Disability Services at 314-977-3484.

Student Spotlight: Ben Eldredge, ROTC Cadet

Ben Eldredge, senior at SLU

Here on the military student resources blog, we plan to spotlight students and faculty from time to time to give you their SLU perspective.

I recently interviewed Ben Eldredge, ROTC cadet and outstanding SLU student. Read on to learn a little bit about his experience with SLU and ROTC.

Q. Why did you choose SLU?

A. I chose SLU for two reasons: it’s a Jesuit institution, and it was affordable, thanks to the financial package that they offered me.

Q. Are you considering going to law school with the intention of getting into the Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps?

A. I was considering that but a couple of friends who just graduated and wanted to go JAG learned that the acceptance rate into JAG was 6 percent and that ROTC graduates did not have an advantage. They advised me to hold off. With that in mind, I have requested the Military Intelligence Branch. Outside of the Army, I don’t know what I will do, maybe go into politics.

Q. What are your interests and hobbies?

A. I like to work out a lot – lifting, running, swimming – but the thing I like to do most is rock climbing down at Upper Limits downtown. I just went to the Army’s basic mountaineering course and it really helped me fall in love with rock climbing. I got all my gear and a membership in Upper Limits and have been going at it about 3 times a week.

Q. How did you become interested in Army ROTC?

A. I really didn’t have any interest when I was applying to college. So I came to college and in the first semester something started appealing to me about it. It was the job security, the structure, most of all it was probably the feeling of doing something bigger than me and doing something important. I did not just want to get out of college and get an entry level job or unpaid internship and feel that I was not really contributing to anything.

Q. Would you recommend Army ROTC to incoming college freshmen and high school seniors? If so, Why?

A. Conditionally, yes. I am not going to lie, it is not for everyone. It’s tough and at times it definitely sucks. But if you’re the type of person that likes doing things that will make you better physically, mentally and socially, I would definitely recommend that you try it. You push yourself. What you get out of it is exponentially greater than what you put into it. It is a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to just about anyone who wants to do it. I would not tell anyone they can’t do it.

Q. Anything else you would like to add?

A. In terms of advice to prospective ROTC cadets, you can give it a trial run and see if it is for you. Your MS I (freshman) year the ROTC is not going to be overly challenging, especially if you are non-contracted cadet. It is a good way to see if it is for you. A lot of the cadets coming in for the next few years are not going to be scholarship cadets as the funding is shrinking so it gives more incentive for students to just give it a try.

Helpful Sites for Job Seekers

There a lot of helpful sites out there for job seekers – here are a few examples:

The state of Missouri has launched a new website to assist job seekers, located at Missouri job seekers simply visit the site and create an account. Once registered, click the Select Talify tab and complete questionnaire. The questionnaire provides an in-depth assessment of the job seekers’ personality, preferences in the labor market, and get a variety of job-search tools.
Check out this Monster Military Skills translator. After entering their service, i.e. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard, student veterans can pursue quality educational programs in their chosen field.
This military skills translator is offered by Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined.

Transitioning to Civilian Life Gets a Little Easier for Veterans

The Department of Defense has announced a new program, Transition Goals Plan Success (or Transition GPS), to help troops adjust to civilian life. Replacing the 20-year-old Transition Assistance Program (TAP), Transition GPS consists of a weeklong interactive class, whereas TAP was only two to four hours. The curriculum of Transition GPS covers financial planning, veterans benefits and employment. Transition GPS also includes individual counseling and career-specific information.

This program will definitely be an improvement over the previous one, and is a good sign that the government is more aware of the challenges veterans face and what should be done to help them transition to civilian life.

Read more here:

Translating Military Skills for Employers

While the economy has been difficult for job-seekers for the last few years, Saint Louis University offers numerous academic majors and occupational fields that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will be in demand through 2020. Visit this website to view all the undergraduate majors that SLU offers.

Career Services, located within the Student Success Center, can help students identify their transferable skills, create a personal brand, provide career counseling, career assessments and more. As mentioned in this article, identifying skills and communicating them to potential employers is one of the most important factors in the job search.

One example of this is how former Marine and Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer describes how he identified his transferable skills for potential employers in this article. While his Marine job was being a sniper, he discussed that as a team leader he “… was able to manage troops: accountability, discipline, teamwork, being on time, logistics are all things I can translate into being an asset to an employer.”

More than 125,000 Veterans and Spouses Hired this Year

First Lady Michelle Obama visited Naval Station Mayport, Fl., to discuss an initiative by 2,000 businesses that have trained or hired 125,000 military veterans and their spouses over the last year. They also committed to train or hire an additional 250,000 military veterans and their spouses by 2014. Mrs. Obama said that companies recognize that if a service member can coordinate the delivery of thousands of pounds of necessary supplies for troops in a war zone, they can easily do the same supply chain function for their companies.

SLU’s John Cook School of Business can prepare veterans for careers in logistics and supply chain management, a field that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects to have a 26 percent increase in jobs through 2020.

For more information on the Joining Forces initiative, read this article:

For more information on majors offered by the John Cook School of Business, visit their website:

Dogs: The Best Medicine

Much like SLU’s Jesuit mission, “…men and women for others,” soldiers uphold the time-honored tradition to help one another. Organizations such as Paws for Purple Hearts serve as a good example of this.

Veterans work for Paws for Purple Hearts in order to help train service dogs that go on to provide assistance to wounded soldiers. Under the guidance of instructors, the veterans are able to teach the dogs over 90 commands in about two years. Surprisingly enough, these veterans find that interacting with these dogs also helps them ease back into civilian life.

After the intensive training, the fully-trained dogs are sent to their new homes. Not only do these dogs assist veterans with physical disabilities, they also help them with the emotional scars caused by combat. Veterans receive much needed companionship as well as a path to their independence.

Paws for Purple Hearts is living up to their motto, “Veterans Helping Veterans.” Since Paws for Purple Hearts is a non-profit organization, they gladly accept donations. Shockingly, the cost to train just one dog is $15,000.

Founded in 2006, Paws for Purple Hearts stems from a program that started at the University of Canine Studies in California. Currently, four locations exist within the United States.

Watch the video below to learn more:

Academic Program Spotlight: Athletic Training

Photo by J. B. Forbes

This is an excellent story and is very relevant to Saint Louis University students. The article describes how St. Louis area fire protection districts employ athletic trainers to help firefighters in shape by putting them through intense workouts that imitate what they do on the job. Athletic trainers also work with high school athletes and in area industrial sites like Boeing.

The Spring 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly report projects a 30 percent increase in jobs for athletic training through 2020. SLU’s Doisy College of Health Sciences offers a program in athletic training that interested students can pursue with the confidence that their major is in a growing field.

While athletic training may not seem like an obvious career choice for veterans, it is actually a great fit for the military skill set. The extensive fitness training that all veterans go through gives them a great background for a career in athletic training. To learn more about the athletic training program at SLU, click here.

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