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A Veteran Decided to Change Course. VSF was There to Help.

A Texas native, Chris Heinen followed in his parents’ footsteps and entered the military, the Army Infantry, in 1987 at the age of 19. After a back injury rendered him unable to continue to serve, Chris returned to civilian life. He used his skills-based high school education to quickly find work in the construction industry. After nearly twenty years in the field, however, job instability was wearing on Chris.

“In 2008 when the economy went bad, I was laid off from a few consecutive roles. But even before that, the lack of regulation in the construction industry really wore me down,” said Chris.

Chris began considering a career change that year, but it would be a few years before he found an opportunity that felt right. Through SC Works, Chris met Greenville Technical College employment coordinator, Steve Hand, who invited him to an on-campus open house and informed him that there was funding available for veterans.

His $2,000 course fully paid for by the Veteran Scholarship Forever fund, Chris was able to enter a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Operator certification course, the first step in a series of certifications that will allow him to work as […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57+00:00May 19th, 2016|Success Stories|0 Comments

Resources for Greenville Area Veterans

Resources for greenville area veterans

 

Veteran Scholarships Forever was recently inspired by Greenville Technical College’s veteran support page. There, they’ve listed all the resources they provide to veterans on one page. (See Greenville Tech’s Veteran Resources here!)

In that spirit, we’ve listed a few major Greenville area resources for veterans in one place for you to share with a vet you know and love.

All Around Solutions

Upstate Warrior Solution

“Upstate Warrior Solution is a community based nonprofit organization that generates quality of life solutions for Upstate veterans, active duty, National Guard, and Reserve warriors and their families. The UWS model is centralized around face to face outreach to the warrior community, and service lines include Mentorship, Healthcare and Benefits, Education and Training, Housing, and Employment.”

Upstate Veteran Business Network

“Upstate Veteran Business Network exists to connect Veterans for the purpose of building a business network of reliable professionals and improve the effectiveness of Veteran-focused organizations in the area through meaningful personal and professional relationships and education.”
MeetUp Group: http://www.meetup.com/UpstateVBN/
Jason Schulz
Founder, Upstate Veteran Business Network
Greenville SC 29615
Telephone: 1.704.789.3654
E-mail: [email protected]

Greenville County Department of Veterans Affairs

“Veterans Affairs function is to provide and assist ex-service […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57+00:00April 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fighting the Trend of Increased Student Debt Among US Veterans

Student debt is increasing amongst all Americans¹, but on average, a veteran will take on more debt than a civilian student²—in spite of generous GI Bill benefits.

Venus_Flytrap Veterans may get trapped with more student loan debt than the average American.

The primary contributors to veteran student loan debt are the same federal student loans that the average undergraduate takes out. In spite of GI Bill contributions, many vets either have to or choose to take out additional loans to pay for education-related fees or to put toward personal finances while in school. GI Bill benefits do not currently cover:

  • Out-of-state tuition at public universities.
  • Tuition fees at for-profit universities greater than $18,077.50 per year.
  • Unaccredited programs such as those found in vocational and technical colleges.

Is Federal Loan Debt Really All That Bad?

Federal loans come with low interest rates, which means debt in this category is typically more manageable. Plus, veterans now do not have to devote more than 10% of their income to debt repayment.³ While this may seem non-threatening at first glance, these policies may lead veterans to take on more debt than they otherwise would.

And, as you […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57+00:00February 18th, 2016|News|0 Comments

ECG Certification Gained with the Help of VSF

VSF Ashlee StoryAshlee Wedge, a veteran of the 14th Gulf Air Defense and currently serving in the Army National Guard, wanted to obtain an Electrocardiogram (ECG) certification so she could work in health care. Unfortunately, she soon discovered that the GI Bill cannot be used toward obtaining such a certification.

A part-time employee at a local sporting goods store, Ashlee could not afford to pay for school on her own, so she applied for the VSF scholarship through Tri-County. She received a $1,873 scholarship so that she could enroll in the ECG Technician program at Tri-County Technical College, through the Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division.

“I’m thankful to receive the scholarship which helped me to earn this ECG certification,” says Ashlee. “After this two-month training, I will be ready to enter the workforce.”

Through contributions from individuals and organizations, endowments have been established at Tri-County, Greenville and York Technical Colleges, as well as Spartanburg Community College, through the CCE Divisions. Endowments have also been established at the Technical College of the Lowcountry through the Continuing Education Division. This benefits veterans training, and helps reach our goal to put veterans to work quickly, ultimately helping […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57+00:00January 28th, 2016|Success Stories|0 Comments

VSF Funds the Key to Acquire EMT Certification, Staying Debt-free

US Army Veteran Rob ClinedinstUS Army Veteran Sgt ES Rob Clinedinst was about to rule out the opportunity to get his EMT certification—a valuable stepping stone on the way to a nursing degree— because he refused to bring on debt his family budget couldn’t bear. 

Another $1,295 in tuition fees just wasn’t feasible for Clinedinst. He was already a full-time student who had exhausted as many scholarship avenues as he could find to obtain his Associate’s Degree from Tri-County Technical College while helping to support his family. In addition, he was saving and planning so that, with financial help from the GI Bill and FAFSA, he could attend Anderson University’s nursing program.

When he found Ron Demonet’s card while rummaging through his book bag, Clinedinst realized he may have the answer in his hands. He remembered meeting Ron at a Get Connected event at Tri-County Anderson’s campus the year prior. Rob remembered that Demonet had been working on a scholarship fund to cover certificate programs, so he gave him a call. The resulting conversation put Clinedinst back on course to pursue his Emergency Medical Training (EMT) certification.

Clinedinst applied for the scholarship and was approved. VSF covered the tuition cost and Tri-County’s Foundation covered the $170 […]

2017-01-30T17:54:57+00:00October 23rd, 2015|Success Stories|0 Comments

Proceeding Magazine’s “Better Than When They Came”: the Highlights

Provide veterans with more career preparation.

In the August 2015 issue of the US Naval Institute’s publication Proceedings Magazine, Lieutenant Edward Wright, US Navy, addressed the need for a comprehensive plan regarding veteran employment in his article “Better Than When They Came”.

In spite of historical—and even recent—moves to address veteran unemployment, it is still an enormous concern, particularly in men aged 18 to 25, for whom the unemployment rate is 8.5 percent higher than the unemployment rate for civilians of that age group. One of the main culprits for this disparity is lack of preparation. While an improved Transition Assistance Program has offered some relief for enlisted individuals seeking to make plans for civilian life, it lacks power when no peers, or, particularly, superiors are talking about the need for careful preparation.

“One likely explanation for why officers don’t make transition education and training a priority,” reports Lt. Wright, “is that transition is less of a personal concern for them than for enlisted personnel, who are 30 percent less likely than officers to serve the full 20 years or […]

2017-01-30T17:54:58+00:00October 23rd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Announcing a New Partner College!

New VSF Fund Established at Technical College of the Lowcountry

Last spring, the Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) began considering a partnership with us. Thankfully, President Richard J. Gough of TCL, located in Beaufort, SC, had already been looking for ways to connect with the active duty military and veterans just minutes from his doors.

tcl logo

In an official announcement about the partnership, President Gough explains, “[Our] workforce development programs provide vocational and trade training and propel graduates into jobs, sometimes in as little as five weeks. Unfortunately, South Carolina and federal educational aid programs do not cover the cost of these programs, nor does the GI Bill.”

The decision to create a fund for veterans and veteran spouses in need met TCL Leadership’s desire to do more faster for veterans during their time-sensitive transitions into civilian living.

“At TCL, we estimate that up to 5 veterans a month are unable to enter their program of choice due to financial barriers,” says President Gough, “With your help, the Veterans Scholarship Forever Fund aims to help our service men and women who have volunteered themselves and their families in […]

2017-01-30T17:54:58+00:00August 11th, 2015|News, Partner Institutions|0 Comments

VSF: The “Trailblazer” for Veterans

While browsing through the 2014 quarter four issue of Business Black Box, a South Carolina Upstate Business Magazine, you may have seen a familiar face. A full-page photo of Ron Demonet, Founder of Veteran Scholarships Forever (VSF), introduced an article labeling him a “Trailblazer.”

The term couldn’t be more fitting. A veteran himself, Demonet started VSF after recognizing the difficulty veterans often have translating their military skills into business skills.

Fittingly, VSF’s article appeared alongside the issue’s feature on Lee Vining, a 10 year Army veteran. Vining struggled to find a civilian job after serving two deployments in Iraq and then battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which ultimately ended his military career.

“It’s really depressing to go from flying Blackhawks and being responsible for a million dollars in equipment to not even getting hired at Wal-Mart,” Vining says in the article. “I never got a single interview.”

It is stories like these that are at the heart of VSF’s mission. With Demonet at the helm, VSF is working to establish endowed scholarships at state community and technical colleges—that are then implemented by the institutions—to provide training to veterans and their spouses, so they can enter the job market successfully.

As stated in the article, Ron says, “The great thing about endowed scholarships is that once they’re set up, they’re always available. No […]

2017-01-30T17:54:58+00:00January 28th, 2015|News|0 Comments

National Radio Coverage for VSF

“There is a lot of unskilled labor out there, and there are college graduates. But in the middle, there is the technical group—those who really get things done. That is where we’re hurting right now in America. It’s a niche that our veterans can easily help fill with a little bit of training.”

These are the words of Ron Demonet, Founder of Veteran Scholarships Forever (VSF), during an interview on episode 92 of Deb Sofield’s weekly radio show “Encouragement for Your Life.”

In his interview with Deb, Ron explains that in the military, all your needs are taken care of—housing, food, and training. But when veterans reenter civilian life, they have to do it all on their own. Based on a recent survey, the number one challenge for most veterans is finding a job. Many struggle to translate their military experience into a skill set for the private sector.

“In the military they teach you to be a team, so it’s thinking about ‘we’ as opposed to ‘I.’ They have to shift gears when they come out of the service; they have to present themselves and what they can bring to the table for an employer, and they have a hard time doing that,” Ron explains.

As a result, the unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans […]

2017-01-30T17:54:58+00:00January 23rd, 2015|News|0 Comments