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From the Military to the School of Management
Offering advice to other transitioning military veterans, Arjay Protacio stressed the importance of utilizing available education benefits.
“As I look back, I feel I made the mistake of giving up on finishing school,” Arjay said. “Before I knew it, my education benefits had expired. But because I’m a disabled veteran I also qualified for vocational rehabilitation education benefits.”
Last year Arjay put those benefits to use and enrolled in CityU’s School of Management. Although he had plenty of work experience, Arjay said it was difficult to find employment without a college degree.
He said he hopes his Bachelor’s in Management from CityU will give his resume a boost, and make him a more attractive candidate when applying for jobs.
From 1997 to 2002 Arjay served as a hospital corpsman in the Navy. When he left the military he found there weren’t many resources in place to help with the transition into civilian life.
“Initially when I got out of the military, it was difficult for me because it felt like I spoke a completely different language than my civilian counterparts,” he explained. “But over the years, I’ve managed to adjust.”
Since coming to CityU, Arjay said our Veterans Affairs staff has been a major asset in helping him plan his degree path.
“Today there are people like Nachelle Peña, who in my opinion is very knowledgeable when it comes to assisting transitioning vets,” Arjay said. “I didn’t have that when I first left the service.”
Business Training through Heroes Academy
Aiming to assist additional transitioning military veterans, CityU partnered with Camo2Commerce to provide courses for the Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy. The program will help prepare Joint Base Lewis-McChord service members to transition from the military into civilian life and the 21st century workforce through business and on-the-job training. As the education partner, CityU has begun teaching service men and women foundational business strategies, project management and leadership skills.
The 13-week academy includes corporate training provided by CityU, along with on-the-job training provided by corporate partners such as ThyssenKrupp Aerospace NA, Amazon, Starbucks, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Compass Group, Thurston Economic Development Council, TrueBlue, Inc., Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, and Williams-Sonoma.
Learning from Experience
Today, the group of academy students heard from John Wyman, HR Manager for BPI Medical. Each Thursday, as part of the program, a senior-level guest speaker shares their experiences in business in an effort to provide more insight into potential careers.
After leaving the Army in 1992 where he served as a ranger for four years, Mr. Wyman went on to work for several companies as a manager and later a consultant. He is a two-time graduate of CityU, and finished his MBA in 2007.