About Nick – During high school, Nick knew he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. With a limited family income, paying for college was going to be a difficult feat for his parents. Fortunately, a recruiter offered an alternative route. In June of 1998, Nick waved goodbye to family and friends and boarded a plane in Pittsburgh bound for San Antonio, Texas, and embarked on a new journey with the US Air Force.
The Air Force gave Nick the training, skills, and experiences he required for a successful career. He worked nuclear security, flight line security, and base law enforcement, and deployed twice overseas with Operation Iraqi Freedom. After eight years, Nick was ready to start a family and didn’t want them to see the hardships of deployment. So, in May of 2006, he decided to separate and embark on a new journey in the civilian world.
Nick’s Problem – Nick figured with his credentials that a new job would be easy to find, but he was mistaken. Despite countless resume submissions, knocking on doors, and an endless search, he spent his first three months of separation unemployed. About a year after Nick separated from the Air Force, he worked as a Federal Police Officer at the VA Hospital in Clarksburg, WV. It was a decent job, but he had started a family and found himself spending more and more time away from them. Nick began to rethink his desire to work in law enforcement, but knew another career would require formal education.
How WV VUB Helped Him – Nick was searching for information on utilizing his GI Bill when he came across West Virginia Veterans Upward Bound (WV VUB). He scheduled his first appointment at WV VUB’s central region office in Elkins, WV in November, which pressed the accelerator on his new career path. WV VUB helped Nick in so many ways, including the following:
- understand the processes and intricacies of Veterans’ education programs
- enroll in the lesser-known Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program
- attain a work-study position
- take part in tutoring
After just three and a half years, Nick graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in both Environmental Science and Sustainability Studies and a minor in Criminology leading to his current career as a Biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
“VUB has great resources to help you make the transition. They really did give me the confidence to move forward and take that leap. I never looked back once I got going.”