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Title:Student veterans' career services in higher education
Author(s):Rhodes, Delmar
Director of Research:Jankowski, Natasha A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Anderson, James D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McDermott, Monica; Trent, William
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Student veteran
Career development
University career center veteran program
Abstract:This qualitative study investigated student veterans’ awareness of, access to, and use of U.S. military veteran-centered career development resources, services, and programs that are necessary to enhance their transitional career development and preparedness while in higher education at a large public university. It is important to examine the available veteran-specific career services on campus as the student veteran encounters various career development challenges (e.g., employment resume creation) while transitioning from military service via a higher education institution toward civilian employment. This study addresses how student veterans (and university officials) identify and realize how such campus student veteran-centered resources, services, and programs help them to meet their career goals. My central research question is: How do student veterans in higher education become aware of and use available veteran career services or career preparation resources in helping them to meet their career goals? Relevant methodologies and designs, including concepts and constructs that have been studied or raised as influential elements on this topic in the current literature, are reviewed. Data has been collected from two focus group interviews involving six postsecondary student veterans, as well as demographic surveys and observational protocols, and two individual interviews with university officials involved in implementing veteran-specific career services on campus. In accordance with this study’s findings, an inductive analysis using a coding scheme was used on the collected data to produce resulting themes that informed this study’s units-of-analysis. This study assumed that participating student veterans identified some type of career development or preparedness barriers upon their university enrollment, and potentially planned to seek out the appropriate veteran career services on campus or related transitional employment services and supports. Additionally, this study assumed that participating university officials charged with the programing and delivery of veteran career services in higher education will have identified appropriate veteran-specific career services to provide to their student veterans. Finally, I discuss these assumptions in connecting the data I have collected and analyzed to inform my central research question by providing implications, recommendations, and a conclusion section, which speaks to implications for policy and recommendations for practice, as well as suggestions for future research. Awareness of veteran career services was found to be inadequate in terms of incoming student veterans not being identified by the university as student veterans for the purposes of outreach. Regarding accessing veteran career services, the majority of student veterans indicated they would use these services, had ideas of what types of services they needed, and preferred prior military service individuals to act as veteran career services providers. While university officials found it difficult to recruit student veterans and get adequate participation, those who took advantage of services reported satisfactory experiences. Finally, this institution did not have a university-wide system in place to track data for assessment purposes. Corresponding implications include identifying generic versions (dependent upon type of higher education institution) of fundamental and customized veteran career services to be accessed and used with outreach occurring prior to separation from military service; a need for formal processes of institutional identification and sharing of student veterans’ contact information in order to provide outreach, to facilitate coordination among university veteran career services, and to obtain necessary evaluative feedback for services rendered; and having student veterans work with military veterans who serve as veteran career services providers when possible. Coupling the findings and implications together, the study offers a pathway Student Veteran Career Services Model to inform future research.
Issue Date:2017-04-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Delmar Rhodes
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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