Mission and National Impact
Columbia University launched the Center for Veteran Transition and Integration to have a direct and lasting impact on the issue of veteran transition and upward mobility by creating and providing access to the best-in-class tools and programming veterans need as they transition from active service to college and the workforce.
Over the last decade and a half, Columbia University developed the most sophisticated and successful program at an Ivy League or highly selective private college or university for service members transitioning from the military to undergraduate and graduate education, the workforce, and civilian life.
During this time, Columbia has successfully enrolled more student-veterans than all other Ivy League schools combined, while maintaining a graduation rate above 90% and a record of job and graduate school placement that equals Columbia’s non-veteran graduates.
However, during this same period, it became clear that service members in transition continue to face barriers reaching their potential in accessing higher education and beginning meaningful careers, despite the many effective programs offered to this population. By drawing on the lessons and experiences gained working with service members in transition over the past fifteen years, the Center will be a national center of excellence, focused on ensuring transitioning veterans receive access to world class programming and support designed to maximize their potential in education and the workforce.
Utilizing a team of educational technologists and instructional designers, the Center will create a robust online educational platform that facilitates transition from service to academia and the workforce.
The Center will identify and partner with universities, employers, and veteran support organizations that are capable of delivering the Center’s research and content directly to transitioning veterans nationally.
The Center will provide national program management of all educational content and delivery platforms as well as ensure quality control, provide measures of effectiveness, and collect data for follow-on research, program refinement, and additional educational modules.
The Center’s current partnership with FourBlock Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to providing career education to transitioning veterans, provides an example of how it will pair University resources and expertise with best-in-class veteran support organizations to impact transitioning veterans on a national scale.
Columbia’s educational technologists and instructional designers have greatly enhanced FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program, providing them with a sophisticated online learning management platform that reaches veterans nationally and in a more meaningful way.
FourBlock is now better equipped and enabled to provide direct career readiness education and impact thousands of veterans nationally across multiple metropolitan areas.
Columbia has accelerated FourBlock’s program expansion. Together, Columbia and FourBlock more than doubled the program’s impact and expanded educational programming from five metropolitan areas in spring 2016 to twelve locations in 2017.