Senate Veterans Affairs Omnibus Legislation
Nine state Advisory Councils on Military Education (ACMEs) wrapped up their 2011 annual meetings and are now developing their agendas for the sessions they are planning in conjunction with the Council of Colleges and Military Educators (CCME) scheduled for February 2012 at the Sea World Renaissance in Orlando (www.ccmeonline.org).
For purposes of this report, updates about the efforts and accomplishments of the New York, South Carolina and Virginia ACMEs during their 2011 membership years are summarized below. Click here for Updates for Colorado, Illinois, Texas and the South (COMETS), California, Florida and Washington State ACMEs.
New York: Camille Karlson, President of the New York ACME, did a great job working with civilian and military educators across the state in pulling together the 2011 annual meeting for the NY ACME, which met at the State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse in October. The theme "Building Partnerships" was evidenced by participation by various leaders from military, legislative offices and higher education communities from across the state. The keynote speaker was Linda Frank, President of CCME. Attendees also heard from the state's Army National Guard ESO, Veteran's Administration representative regarding the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and other colleges and ACME's involved in serving military students. The symposium also addressed basic issues impacting military programs across New York; this included sessions and discussions about VolEd in general, and SOC, goArmyEd, the GI Bill, Pell Grants, and Transition Assistance in particular. Collectively, the NY ACME identified issues and emerging best practices for further exploration and advocacy. Kristina Norris was elected President, and is soliciting input that will be used to develop the NY ACME agenda at its meeting at CCME in February. The new New York ACME Executive Board for 2012 will be Kristina Norris, President; Stephen Clark, Vice President; Michael Moran, Secretary; Ed Dennis, Treasurer; and Miyako Schanely, Membership Committee Chair. For more about the New York ACME, check out their website at http://nysacme.weebly.com.
South Carolina: Buddy Maertens, President of the Council on Military Education in South Carolina (COMESC), reports that COMESC just completed a very successful conference. Speakers covered wide-ranging topics from the Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (DOD MOU), Troops to Teacher initiatives, complexities of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, National Guard transition to goArmyEd and other topics relevant to members of the Active force, as well as members of the National Guard, and those who are Reservists, Veterans and members of military families. One of the guest speakers was MG (Ret. US Army) Abraham J. Turner, who is the Executive Director, South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. He was recently appointed by Governor Nicky Haley. We wanted COMESC attendees to appreciate the connection between South Carolina educational goals and employment opportunities as it relates to military service members and their families. General Turner did a great job in articulating that point. In fact, Linda Franks who also was one of the COMESC speakers was most interested in possibly inviting General Turner to the CCME Symposium! Visit COMESC at www.comesc.org.
Virginia: George Vukovich, President of the Virginia ACME, hosted a very dynamic, engaging meeting in March 2011 at Virginia Beach Virginia, which included a fund-raising golf tournament that raised funds for Virginia’s Wounded Warriors. Michael Midura was elected to succeed George Vukovich as President and has launched an effort to provide more services to the veterans and wounded warrior communities in Virginia. He has also worked hard to link the Virginia ACME to efforts of Mrs. Maureen McDonnell, the Governor’s wife, who has initiated Virginia’s Serving our Servicemembers (SOS) program. The Virginia ACME is providing her updates, recommendations and opportunities that she can use to better serve Virginia’s servicemembers and their families. The VA ACME’s website (www.vaacme.org) is linked to Mrs. McDonnell’s SOS site and vice versa. The 2012 VA ACME Conference will be held from March 27-29 at the Hilton Oceanfront Hotel (www.hiltonvb.com) in Virginia Beach. The second annual VA ACME Wounded Warrior golf tournament will be held on March 27, 2012 at NAS Oceana in conjunction with this annual conference. For the first time, the VA ACME is inviting Virginia military friendly employers to the conference; tentatively they plan a concurrent session on their veteran friendly hiring practices. Once again, the VA ACME is breaking new ground in expanding the concept of what an ACME is all about, who to serve and how best to do that.
Startups: In 2011, New York stood up its ACME after a couple of years of organizing and getting provider institutions to place more focus on delivering education and training programs to a growing clientele of active duty personnel, wounded warriors, and members of military families. Rob Kuhns of Butler Community College and Steve Tupper of the University of Missouri system are weighing the possibility of establishing ACMEs in Kansas and Missouri respectively. We will provide and update about the results of their efforts in our annual ACME update this time next year.
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