More supportive campus experience for veterans(video)

Provincial Press release February 4, 2021 @ 3:01pm published at 3:05pm

A new initiative at the University of Alberta will help veterans get the education they need to transition to other careers.

The two-year pilot initiative will provide specialized on-campus supports and resources to help veterans achieve their educational goals and build new careers once their service has ended. Students can begin accessing these services in the 2021-22 academic year.

“Many of our brave veterans require tailored solutions to help them re-skill and build new careers. This two-year pilot program will allow the University of Alberta to better understand the needs of veterans and develop a model that can be shared with other post-secondary institutions in Alberta.” Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education
“It is important to recognize the commitment and sacrifice that Canadian Armed Forces members have made for our country, and one way to show our appreciation is to support CAF members and veterans who are pursuing a post-secondary education. The veteran-friendly campus initiative will be that support, and the hope is more veterans will take the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education and combine that education with the skills and abilities they have already developed.” Brad Rutherford, MLA for Leduc-Beaumont and Military Liaison to the Canadian Armed Forces
“Becoming a veteran-friendly campus builds on a University of Alberta tradition of making post-secondary education available to veterans that goes all the way back to the Khaki University created by Henry Marshall Tory in the First World War. Thanks to this program with support from the Government of Alberta, we are again playing a lead role in welcoming, supporting and creating new opportunities for the veterans who have served our country so valiantly. The skills, experiences and leadership they bring to our campuses will enrich and diversify the learning environment for all students.” Bill Flanagan, president and vice-chancellor, University of Alberta
“When we serve those who have served us, our entire society gets stronger. The veteran-friendly campus will open wide the doors of the University of Alberta, welcoming veterans to our community and embracing the rich experiences they bring. As veterans prepare for a bright future in the civilian world, they’ll benefit from peers and community, specialized mental health and academic support, mentorship and career programming to set them up for success in life after service.” Suzette Brémault-Phillips, associate professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, and director, Heroes in Mind Advocacy and Research Consortium, and Kevin Friese, assistant dean, Students, Health & Wellness

Alberta’s government is supporting the pilot by providing funding of $714,000 over two years. This one-time investment will provide a model for other post-secondary institutions to introduce their own sustainable, veteran-friendly supports and services on campuses across the province.

Alberta is leading the way by supporting one of the first veteran-friendly campus models in the country. By leveraging best practices from around the world, the program will help veterans build on the skills they developed through their service, while providing integrated supports that meet their unique learning needs.

Quick facts

  • The pilot veteran-friendly campus initiative on the University of Alberta main campus will integrate a comprehensive system of support and services, with support from the Heroes in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium, Veteran Affairs Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces.

  • Planned supports include a campus-based resource centre, contextualized mental health supports, flexible enrolment schedules, enhanced ties with local support and veterans organizations, and a veteran student peer mentorship program.

  • One of the primary goals of the pilot program is to create a comprehensive and sustainable model that institutions from across Alberta can replicate, enabling veterans to access supportive campuses close to home.

  • The program supports vibrant, healthy and diverse campuses. Veterans have transferable knowledge, skills and life experiences that enrich the campus community and benefit all students, staff and faculty.

  • This investment complements and strengthens other post-secondary supports, helping more veterans access the education they need to transition from military service to civilian careers.

  • This year, Alberta’s government introduced the Alex Decoteau Award of Honour. The $5,000 award supports Alberta’s veterans and their families, helping them build new careers.

  • The Government of Canada provides financial support for qualified veterans seeking education and training after their military careers, through the Veterans Education and Training Benefit.