Veterans Symposium to discuss transition from higher education to workforce

Savannah Hoag

Colorado State University will host a Veterans Symposium from Oct. 24 to 25 in the Lory Student Center.

The symposium is composed of panels, breakout sessions and keynote speakers. The focus of the symposium will be to discuss the transition of student veterans from higher education to the workforce. The symposium occurs once every two years.


The main keynote speaker, Teresa W. Gerton, is the deputy assistant secretary of Veterans’ Employment and Training Service for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Marc Barker, the director of the Adult Learner and Veterans Services, believes that the next important step for student veterans is to be able to transition smoothly into a sustainable career.

“The transition from active duty into higher education is crucial and has to be done right, and we’ve done that,” Barker said. “The second most important transition is moving from higher education into the workforce.”

There will be two tracks at the symposium. One track is designed for the ALVS office to share with employers the value of working with veterans. The second track is focused on student veterans and teaching them how to be an appealing applicant for employment.

“We thought that we would bring employers to CSU to share some of our nuggets (of information) about how to retain and value (student veterans) in the workplace,” Barker said. “We thought that we would help on the employment side to increase the retention of veterans in the workforce.”

Student veterans will learn a multitude of things to aid their success in the workforce over the two-day symposium, including: how to negotiate their first salary, how to work with a different peer group and how to leverage their military experience in the workplace.

“We figured out, here at CSU, that we do a really good job of recruiting veterans into higher education,” Barker said. “We do a really good job of retaining them and working on their retention and persistence while they’re in higher education. We realized that we’re sitting on a gold mine of information. For student veterans in particular, getting into sustainable careers is really what’s most important.”

The idea for the upcoming symposium came after those at ALVS realized the importance of employers understanding how to work with student veterans.

“There are unique things that we’ve put into place so that we retain (student veterans) and get them through to graduation,” Barker said. “The graduation rate of our student veterans is better than that of the traditional population.”

Barker hopes the symposium, and information ALVS has to provide for both student veterans and employers will help to develop a better workforce in the future.


“We knew we had some … wisdom that we wanted to share with the workforce world to help bridge the gap into the next transition,” Barker said.

For registration and more information about the Veterans Symposium:

Collegian news reporter Savannah Hoag can be reached online at or via Twitter @sav_hoag.