In the military, service members put service above self, which can result in veterans having a hard time learning to make themselves stand out from other job applicants when transitioning to the private sector. It's a challenge Derek Blumke, who has transitioned from Airman to student to executive and back again, knows well.
Now Blumke is using the leadership skills he learned in the Air Force as the Vice President of Veterans and Military Programs at The Fullbridge Program. The first program they will offer is the Fullbridge Concordia Graduate Certificate, which provides service members and veterans with training to help ease the military-to-corporation transition.
As a student veteran, Blumke co-founded Student Veterans of America, a national non-profit that now boasts over 1,000 chapters across the country. Blumke brings that entrepreneurial spirit to his new job. His first-hand experience enables him to guide fellow veterans into the private sector through the organization's career acceleration programs designed in partnership with Harvard Business School.
"Fullbridge has built an absolutely transformative program and I'm excited to have the opportunity to expand its reach to transitioning service members and veterans who need it the most," said Blumke.
The Fullbridge Concordia Graduate Certificate is structured much like military training with a rigorous and team-oriented schedule. Participants will receive training in project management, strategic marketing, and financial analysis, among other critical areas. These are key skills that job seekers need to be successful in the corporate world and are either missing or difficult to directly translate from military experience.
Blumke recently went through the program himself. "As a student, the program taught me more about the basic fundamentals of accounting, finance and running a business than I ever got from my several years of experience in the workforce. I'm excited to make this program available for other vets, as I know they too, will gain the same practical benefits from the program that I did," said Blumke.
The team of Fullbridge coaches have experience in core business skills, start-ups, and global business, and guide and mentor veterans with personalized feedback. In the classroom, they serve as practice bosses, creating a collaborative environment that allows veterans to enhance their business skills while leveraging their military experience.
"The coaches are invaluable. Their background, their expertise, the fact that they too were in the military and have served, provided great insight on how to communicate with us and direct our learning to point where we fully understood it and could apply it to the real-world," said Jeffrey Park, a Fullbridge Program graduate.
The Fullbridge Concordia Graduate Certificate, is scheduled for September 15 - October 17, 2014 at Concordia University Chicago. Applications are due on August 15. The program is a full time, lecture-free, hands-on, immersive boot camp combining collaborative learning with challenging business exercises and dynamic e-learning modules. Eligible veterans and family members may use GI Bill benefits to fund tuition and housing while earning 15 graduate school credits and a graduate certificate.