Posted on Dec 28, 2017
SFC Cspo Nco
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The Army provides up to $4000 per year (16 credit hours) using TA. I have been troubled by the number of Soldiers transitioning from the Army without higher education. It seems to me that NCO's have the power and duty to ensure that Soldiers use these benefits to prepare for their eventual transition, but many don't. Why?

Do you work with the Command Team to get on-duty permission to go to the education center?
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Responses: 23
CSM Richard StCyr
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You can't make Soldiers go to school, all you can do is encourage them.
We had a Commander in Germany who set up college courses that could be tied to work, (Math, English) for Soldiers to attend and made them available during the duty day, we needed 8 Soldiers per class to attend and had to cancel the program after only a couple sessions because we couldn't get enough troops to take advantage of the offer.
You couldn't get any better Command support for education than that.
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1LT Rich Voss
1LT Rich Voss
>1 y
Wow ! Wished I'd had that way back when I was in Germany. But, I suppose we were either out in the field or preparing for it, or some major inspection. My fellow officers and the senior NCOs taught a variety of subjects in the classroom, and some were certainly advanced high school and college level, but I don't know that any of them qualified our men for credit hours. 50 years ago, hard to remember all those details....
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CSM Richard StCyr
CSM Richard StCyr
>1 y
1LT Rich Voss - The courses were taught by CTC which was the local military college provider up at Panzer casern and why we had to seat at least 8 troops per class. There was a ton of coordination required because of the field/ training cycles but the Co carved out the time.
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SSG George Kaczmarek
SSG George Kaczmarek
>1 y
Mabe the instructor should have given a pre-test just to see what average level of knowledge the students had to start the class instruction with that.Im trying to say mabe its better to start off entry level and the work their way up.
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SSG James Engols
SSG James Engols
1 mo
Funny I was pulled in to the office and told I was not a team player because I went to school every night.
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SGM Erik Marquez
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SFC (Join to see) "Leaders, how many of you require that your Soldiers be enrolled in civilian education?"
Require? Well no of course not as no such authority exists.
Encourage? Yes.
Lead by example? Yes
Incentivize? Sure

and perhaps a better more relative question is, Leaders, if you do not do any of the above why? What negative or down side do you see to your Solder getting an education?
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SFC J Fullerton
SFC J Fullerton
>1 y
Agreed SGM, but I will take it a step further. As leaders, if we do all of the above as you mentioned, then we also owe it to our Soldiers to ensure they are well informed and making informed decisions in regards to selecting majors and colleges in which to utilize their TA. That should be the job of the professionals, the counselors at the Army Education Centers. However, they often "push" the nationally accredited for-profit distance learning institutions, which are not always recognized by civilian employers, nor are their credits transferable to regionally accredited schools (non-profits). Those credits and degrees are fine for promotion points and board selections, but are not always helpful on a job resume or if pursuing a higher degree with the GI Bill after leaving the military. Most young Soldiers (myself included back in the day) don't know the difference between regionally accredited and nationally accredited. The term "nationally accredited" sounds more prestigious than "regionally", but the opposite is true. I learned all this the hard way, when I retired and hit the job market with a close to worthless Bachelors degree in Business Admin. I did go back to school, at a real college, using the MGIB, but couldn't transfer not one credit from the school that I earned a degree from using TA while on AD.
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SFC Cspo Nco
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>1 y
Great response SGM! Using the word "require" was done to see what level of encouragement, support, and incentivization leaders are using to encourage civil school attendance. As SFC Fullerton points out, I was one of those individuals guided to a for-profit that realized far too late that the master's degree I had spent years attaining was only a viable degree in the government workforce. My career plans are to eventually be a DA Civilian so it's not an issue, and my MOS requires a Bachelors with 24 hours in business so it is an area of interest for me in terms of what are first-line leaders doing to support Soldiers after service needs.

The question of the downside is, of course, a tricky one. Ensuring the Soldier has time in the day (not simply duty day), to work on course completion is essential. Once the Soldier is on the path the burden is on the leader to support them while still accomplishing the mission.
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SSG Angela Koch
SSG Angela Koch
>1 y
I would do my initial section counseling for new section personnel and encourage them to take classes and if needed would adjust the duty schedule so they could attend.
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SGT Joseph Gunderson
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I think that a leader can only encourage. There is no way to successfully force this kind of development on anyone, regardless of rank, age, time in service, etc. This really needs to be one of those things that the service member wants to devote time and energy to. Forcing participation in courses does no one any good. If the service member is not motivated to take up this kind of work they will not put any real effort into it. At that point you just have a soldier that is failing a course that they might not have been mentally prepared for in the first place.

I advise that NCOs constantly remind their subordinates that TA is always there to give them that assistance. Remind them that by completing courses gets them points towards promotions, gives them opportunities for advancement, demonstrates a drive to better themselves, and, if the military isn't their forever career choice, prepares them for a career on the outside without them having to pony up the money or using their GI benefits. Other than that, if a service member doesn't want to do it there is no reason to push it on them. It is their development, their education, and their future.
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COL Vincent Stoneking
COL Vincent Stoneking
>1 y
Even worse, if they are "forced" to do it, they may well go through the motions, and get the pieces of paper that they don't care about and take the $$ and seats from those who do.
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SSG David Palomarez
SSG David Palomarez
>1 y
I Agree you don't want to force them. But another thing that I have seen to be an issue with some change of command. They say all this stuff about schooling but when you get that started they have some reason for you not to bealbe to do it. Therefor you have soldier's that seen this happen and thry get to the point that they don't care to try or do it. It would be nice to see soldiers take the advantage of it and all you can do as their first is to show that you will back them up and stand up for them.
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Sgt Troy Morlan
Sgt Troy Morlan
>1 y
A good leader will always encourage higher education or specialized training. For some education can be challenging because you're always deployed somewhere. But for those who are able, you need to take charge of your transition plan and figure out how education is going to be a part of that plan.

I've been out of the military for over 20 years and have a career as recruiter. What I see today is a double-edged sword regarding the education benefits that our veterans get. Side one- if you separate or retire from the military and do not capitalize on the educational offerings you have, then you're just lazy; nobody hires lazy. Side two- also due to the educational offerings, I see life-long perpetual students spending all their time in classes and not seeking out ways to work/intern in their career choice. This is especially challenging because we have a large number of people who are over-educated and under-employed. Employers are looking for experience and I encourage all who are transitioning out soon to connect with people that are in your career of choice and pick up a mentor or look for ways to volunteer and learn the business.
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