GV announces new Veteran employment programs on campus


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Isabelle England, Staff Writer

On Veterans Day 2023, in a new addition to Grand Valley State University’s “Veteran Promise” program, university President Philomena V. Mantella announced an additional program to ensure student veterans are able to gain meaningful work experience while they pursue their degree.

GVSU’s Veteran Promise program was the first program of its kind in the country, guaranteeing college spots for any high school graduate who had enlisted in the military.

According to the program’s page, if someone has committed to serving in the military for at least two years, and are graduating from a Michigan high school, GVSU will offer pre-approved admission deferred until the person is ready.

There is no obligation or cost to participate in the program and no pre-enrollment necessary. The person’s admission to Grand Valley is granted and reserved once they’re ready to begin.

The new addition, titled, “Veterans Advance: Progressive Work-Based Learning,” is sponsored by Spartan Nash.

“Basically it’s a program to help student veterans “catch up” with their civilian peers in the workforce,” said Jill Hinton Wolfe, director of GVSU military and veterans resource center. “They garnered education and experience during their military years; we put that to work for employers through paid, long-term employment – while they earn their degrees – at a large, local partner company.”  

This gives student veterans the opportunity to acquire valuable civilian work experience in a more suited and deeper level than they might otherwise acquire at a regular internship.

The program aims to open doors for student veterans to help set them apart and continue to strengthen their work skills outside of the service.

“(The best part is) they get paid at a level that is appropriate to the value they bring to the organization,” Wolfe said. 

So far, notable company Spartan Nash has already signed up to participate in this program.

GVSU and the Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Resource Center are urging other companies to contribute to build a larger network of possible job placements for veterans to choose from.

“We’re also really excited for more employers to be a part of the program – we’re grateful to Spartan Nash for being the first to sign up, but we’d like to encourage other companies to come forward and support veterans through this unique program,” Wolfe said.

With the addition of this new program, GVSU hopes to serve as an example of a starting point for other universities.

“Grand Valley State University leads the pack when it comes to innovation and commitment,” said Jared Lyon, president and CEO of student veterans of America. “The Veterans Advance Progressive Work-Based Learning program is a shareable blueprint that has the ability to make a widespread and lasting impact for all campuses moving forward.”

GVSU veterans looking for more information on what support is available to them are encouraged to reach out to the Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Resource Center or Jill Hinton Wolfe directly at [email protected].