We’re Celebrating 15 Years!

Today is a special one at Victory Media.

Fifteen years ago, Victory Media’s co-founders Chris Hale, Rich McCormack and Scotty Shaw celebrated the first day working at a new company—their own. Their mission was simple: create vital, civilian-produced resources for the 250K+ people leaving the military each year, at no cost to service members or taxpayers. In doing so, they introduced these candidates to civilian employment, entrepreneurship and education opportunities. Where companies and schools didn’t recruit from the military, Chris, Rich and Scotty showed them why they should.

Today, we celebrate a rich, 15-year history of creating opportunity and advocacy for our veterans, military spouses, service members and now high school students looking to take that “next step.” What started as an idea in “Suite B” (“B” for the basement in Chris’ house!) has become a thriving, growing business. We couldn’t be more proud of our employees, and thank our clients and business associates who have supported us along the way doing better for veterans and young professionals looking to make a difference in their own lives and careers—and ours.

We can’t wait to see what the next 15 years will bring… and show the world what we can do!

2017 Military Friendly® Employers and Schools Announced Today!

2017 Military Friendly® Designation seals

Today we’re proud to announce this year’s Military Friendly® Employers and Military Friendly® Schools. 210 employers and 1,273 schools earned the Military Friendly® designation for 2017.

For more than a decade, the Military Friendly® ratings have set the standard for companies and colleges that provide positive employment and education outcomes for veterans and their families. Institutions are challenged to a higher standard than in previous years via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and our Advisory Council.

This year, Victory Media has published online federal contractors and schools that receive federal education benefits that would be eligible for the Military Friendly® designation based on public data. However, only those companies and colleges that completed the Military Friendly® survey were considered for and eligible to receive the Military Friendly® designation and special awards.

Read the official press release, and be sure to check out the employers and schools who made our list.

How do you define a “Military Friendly School”?

In recent years, the concept of “bad actor” schools has taken center stage in the debate surrounding military and veteran education outcomes, largely becoming synonymous with “for-profit college.” With the failings of ITT and other schools before it and sure to come after, we understand the concern of students and parents, veterans and non-veterans alike. Yet, in all of the discussions, regulations and executive branch actions designed to call out and curb bad behavior no single definition exists of what “bad actor” means. The result: confusion among service members, veterans and their families, as well as for higher education institutions.

That’s why this year we’ve evolved our Military Friendly® Schools benchmarks and ratings—and will publish our 2017 list of colleges, universities and trade schools—based on a enhanced, standard measure for evaluating institutions on the outcomes they provide for military students.

How it will work

The Military Friendly® School scoring methodology will be applied to more than 8,800 institutions that accept federal education benefits for veterans, across the spectrum of degree programs and institution types. Our 2017 list will identify those schools meeting the Military Friendly® standard, plus, new for this year, institutions eligible for the Military Friendly® designation based on public data, but that did not validate their data through the survey.

We consider three data sources for determining the Military Friendly® designation: publicly available data about the institution; proprietary Military Friendly® survey data from our most recent survey cycle; and personal opinion data from student veterans.

Clearer vision of Military Friendly SchoolsDefining Military Friendly® Schools

To be designated as a 2017 Military Friendly® School, institutions must have completed the survey to verify that their institution’s accreditation and federal status are in good standing, and that they meet at least three of six of the “50/20” benchmarks. These benchmarks measure an institution’s commitment to be “better for veterans” in meaningful outcome measures: graduation rate, retention rate, loan default rate, and job placement rate.

“50/20” Thresholds for Military Friendly® Schools

Schools must meet at least three of the six.

  1. Retention Rate in Year 1All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
  2. Retention Rate in Year 2All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
  3. Graduation RateAll Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
  4. Job Placement Rate–All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
  5. Loan Repayment Rate–All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
  6. Loan Default Rate–All Students Rate is below 20%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is below the All Students %.

Simpler. Clearer. Better for Veterans.

These measures, along with a more collaborative effort among veteran service organizations, government agencies, corporations, employers, higher education institutions and non-profit organizations, will provide military students with a clear and more concise picture of a college’s performance relevant to them. It will also help us ensure that only those institutions doing better for veterans receive the Military Friendly® School designation.

I think everyone can agree on that.

The 2017 Military Friendly® Schools list will be released this November. More information can be found at militaryfriendly.com.

Top 10 Tips for Engaging Military Students

gi_jobs_tavia-126Today’s colleges are faced with the challenge of attracting and engaging students who are primed for success. Since 2014, hundreds of thousands of Active Duty, National Guard and Armed Forces Reserve service members have benefited from the Post-9/11 GI Bill in order to earn a degree or certificate, with the numbers increasing dramatically every year. Schools that invest in quantifiable military student resources, training and programs are the ones that will succeed in attracting transitioning military students who thrive not just on campus, but in the workplace and civilian life.

We talked with Jolene Jefferies, our VP of Training and Development at Military Friendly®, to learn how admissions professionals can reach and support this talented and driven pool of students and leaders. Here are her…

Top 10 Tips for Engaging Talented Military Students

1) Build solid relationships with transitioning military students from the beginning. The most successful Military Friendly® Schools proactively reach out to prospective students to help educate them about their services, resources and reasons for attending school. These institutions also provide dedicated services for veterans, military spouses and their families—and make them available right from the start.

2) Design campaigns that take advantage of a wide range of strategies that reach prospective military students. The key is to find the right students and connect with them in the way that most resonates. Developing a comprehensive, integrated marketing campaign incorporating traditional, digital and social media resources is the way to make that happen.

3) Recognize the importance of military spouses. The more than 1.1 million military spouses are truly the “force behind the force.” Develop policies and programs geared towards military spouses and their families to ensure retention, graduation and employment after school.

4) Establish and document processes that track military students through their college career. Report results regularly, and use them to inform future decisions and improvements. It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate your successes, too, to inspire a deeper commitment to our nation’s heroes.

5) Create a meaningful experience for military students starting with orientation. Provide well-thought-out programs and events that showcase military/veteran-specific resources and, importantly, how and when to use them. Plus, involve military alumni as mentors up front. There’s often nothing more valuable than connecting with someone who has walked a similar path and has been successful in transitioning to school.

6) Participate in a third-party survey to assess how well you support the military community, and benchmark where you rate against other educational institutions. Victory Media’s adjudicated annual Military Friendly® Schools survey is free for schools, with results delivered in print and online to military installations and transition classes worldwide, reaching nearly every transitioning service member and their instructors.

7) Train and include employees and faculty. It’s vital to show staff how the skills and job experiences military students have gained through their service can fit into the school’s programs and, eventually, into a satisfying civilian career. Veterans Offices should build partnerships with other departments, faculty and community organizations to design meaningful programs for student veterans and their colleagues.

8) Likewise, be creative with developing internal partnerships. Form partnerships with other departments and colleagues beyond the obvious. For example, one Military Friendly® School enlisted the Department of Social Work faculty and students to survey whether or not the institution was meeting the needs of its military student population.

9) Form a Veteran Services Advisory Board or Task Force that meets regularly to bring together college personnel, alumni and students to plan together, share updates and raise awareness about the accomplishments of student veterans and military spouses. The group can also develop procedures for identifying students having difficulty with their coursework, so tutoring and other forms of assistance can be offered before students fall too far behind.

10) Drive and support community initiatives—and encourage students to network. Working with local veteran and military service organizations, as well as local installations, forges a better understanding of the current and emerging issues for military students and their families. And, bridging the gap between classroom learning and positive outcomes for military students not only boosts economic opportunity for the individual, it can power an entire community.

For more on these “top 10” tips for school admissions, veteran and career professionals, download our free white paper.

Top 10 Tips for Hiring Heroes from Military-to-Civilian Workforce Expert Jolene Jefferies

2017 Military Friendly(R) EmployersLabor Day is right around the corner, and, for many Americans, the end of summer means looking for a new job.

Get in front of our nation’s high-value military candidates at the right time during their job search with these useful tips from Jolene Jefferies, VP Training and Development, Military Friendly®, the country’s leading resource in military-to-civilian workforce development. Included are ways to develop or expand your outreach and recruitment strategy at local, regional and national levels, plus specific military outreach activities and opportunities.

Top Tips for Hiring Heroes

1)  Learn the basics every recruiter should know about why veterans make great employees—from definitions of rank and branches of service, to how military skills and experience translate to civilian work, to benefiting from the military’s team- and mission-focused approach. Find out more here.

2)  Research best practices of other employers before you set your own organization’s military recruitment strategy. How do you compare? This will not only help you design your programs, but assist you in defining how your company is unique.

3)  Do a “Before Action Review” (BAR) to establish goals, objectives, and baselines for your program. Where you are today? How many veterans, military spouses, Reservists and Guard members do you employ? How effective are your partnerships? What are your average monthly hiring and applicant rates for military candidates? Capture these metrics before you dig in.

4)  Speaking of metrics, establish and document processes and people to track. Report results on a weekly or monthly basis, and use them to make decisions for improvements. Most importantly, celebrate your successes to inspire a deeper commitment to hiring our heroes.

5)  Map out your military recruitment outreach activities. Create and leverage key government, education, community and media/social partnerships that deliver quality military talent referrals. Evaluate your people, business processes and procedures, technology and budget, so you can build a program that will succeed now and longer-term.

6)  Take advantage of automated job posting services for federal and state opportunities. There are a number of organizations that provide this type of service at varying costs, so do your research:

  • State Job Banks – Employers can manually post jobs for free at each state job bank. States also operate job service centers with Local Veteran Employment Representatives and Disabled Veteran Outreach Program coordinators, who make great employer partners.
  • America’s Job Exchange
  • DirectEmployers Association
  • eQuest
  • Maximus
  • Local job networks

7)  Participate in a third-party survey to assess how well you support the military community, and where you rate against other organizations. Victory Media’s adjudicated Military Friendly® Employer survey is free at militaryfriendly.com. Results are delivered online and in print to military installations and transition classes worldwide, reaching nearly every transitioning service member and their instructors.

8)  Consider developing a military talent community to reach service members early in their transition process and student veterans as they near graduation. Create a special military careers page that explains why your company is a welcoming place to work.

9)  Connect with veterans. LinkedIn for Veterans and Veteran Mentor Network are two great groups to consider. Plus, you can search for candidates with military experience based on your job needs, including people your current employees already know.

10)  Identify jobs at your company that are a great fit for military talent, and think outside the box —some military jobs translate directly to civilian jobs, some do not. Keep in mind the attributes and skills that make military talent so valuable, and develop a simple “Military Skills Match” or crosswalk to bridge the gap between military jobs and yours. And, identify the true skills, abilities and education that your employees—military or otherwise—need to succeed.