As part of Belmont University’s ongoing work for veterans to be prepared in job readiness, the Jack C. Massey College of Business is working with Operation Stand Down Tennessee on their Veteran Fellowship Program (VFP), an innovative career pathway program combining a business education module through Belmont and experiential employment internships through Middle Tennessee employers.
Designed as a collaborative education and employment program, fellows will pair hands-on professional experience with a business acumen certificate program. Veterans and veteran spouses who complete the five-month program will experience transformational success as they enter or re-enter the civilian workforce. VFP will assist the veteran or veteran spouse with career discernment, business fluency, professional development and an understanding of the civilian workspace.
“Veterans are often underemployed when they join or re-join the workforce because they have difficulty translating their military experience into civilian business terms. The combination of hands-on experience and a business acumen certificate from Belmont University will help connect this country’s greatest workforce to a role at a level befitting their skillset,” said OSDTN CEO John Krenson.
Each week, Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey College of Business will provide three-hour introductory business courses to the fellows, as well as a variety of seminars, panels, learning labs and events. The course of study will include topics critical to today’s workforce such as accounting, branding and marketing, among others. The program is a practical way for fellows to broaden their business skills and expand their knowledge in functional business areas.
Dean of the Jack C. Massey College of Business Dr. Sarah Gardial said the school is proud to be involved with the Operation Stand Down Fellows Program. “Through our partnership, these veterans gain educational skills that apply immediately to their fellow internships,” she said. “We believe this lockstep approach through internship and educational programming provides a greater success as they transition to the workforce.”
Fellows will work 32 hours per week with a host employer to complement their classroom education with workplace experiences. Fellows are expected to meet the same high standards as regular employees, receive a meaningful learning opportunity and add value to Nashville businesses. Host employers will be in the greater Nashville area and include businesses from industries such as entertainment, service, food and beverage and hospitality.
The fellowship begins in August 2020. Applications are open now, and the deadline to apply is May 1. A selection panel comprised of Belmont and OSDTN staff will review applications and narrow the field of candidates to a pool of qualified potential fellows. In the application, candidates are asked to rank their industry preference. Based on the rankings and the selection panel review, employers will interview prospective fellows to rank their preference for placements.
Eligible fellows are Post-9/11 Veterans or Post-9/11 veteran spouses who are on terminal leave or who have fully exited the military by the start of the Fall cohort on August 3. Strong applicants are individuals who demonstrate motivation to fully capitalize on both employment and educational aspects of the program. For those who advance to the next stage, interviews will be held in mid-May. All applicants will be notified of selection, wait-list or non-selection by June 1.
VFP would not be possible without the generous investment of several donors, including The Nashville Predators, Smile Direct Club and The Robinson Family Foundation. With the help of these partners, there are no program costs for fellows. The $20,000 total investment per fellow is shared equally between employers and OSDTN, which allows each fellow to participate in the program and covers a monthly stipend, workplace wage and education costs.
About Operation Stand Down Tennessee
With its roots in serving Nashville’s homeless Veterans, today Operation Stand Down Tennessee’s purpose is to help all Veterans in Middle Tennessee manage their personal, career, and financial needs while creating a life they find fulfilling. With offices in Nashville and Clarksville, we serve Veterans who may have significant needs like homelessness to those recently transitioning from military service who need career assistance or connection to a like-minded Veteran community. Every Veteran has a place here. www.osdtn.org