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As America celebrates the nation’s freedom on this Fourth of July holiday, the Tennessee Valley Corridor is also celebrating a highly successful program that is not only answering a vital technical training and workforce need facing the region and the nation, but one that is also helping recent U.S veterans with education and employment after their military career.
The Vets to the Valley Initiative brings together many of the corridor’s federal partners, higher education institutions and top private-sector employers to offer eligible veterans the opportunity to earn an engineering or technical degree while participating in co-op/work-study programs.
Such programs give them a head start in permanent job placement with leading employers in the region.
With more than 50 participants, seven academic institutions and more than 20 participating organizations involved, the initiative has surpassed its initial participation and achievement goals.
Vets to the Valley combines the Non-Traditional Emerging Workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — or STEM — program in Huntsville, Ala., and the America’s Veterans to Tennessee Engineers program, in Oak Ridge.
“Actually completing my degree seven years after high school is very rewarding,” said Brian Paul, an AVTE participant who recently earned his degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and was hired by B&W to continue his work at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.
“I spent seven years serving my country through the Air Force,” he added. “Now by coming to Y‑12, I feel like I’ve been able to continue serving our nation.”
Roane County is one of the supporting governments for the American’s Veterans to Tennessee Engineers Program.
Roane State Community College is a participating educational organization.
For more information about the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s Vets to the Valley Initiative and application requirements, visit www.tennvalleycorridor.org.