RICHMOND — Governor Ralph Northam announced last month that Virginia has received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to expand the Commonwealth’s efforts to recruit retired and retiring veterans for second careers as teachers.
The five-year award provides $380,035 in annual support for the Virginia Department of Education’s Troops to Teachers Virginia Center at William & Mary. The Center was established in April 2017 as a pilot program with support from a one-year $400,000 grant awarded through the the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Many of Virginia’s military retirees possess educational backgrounds and life experiences that are well aligned with the needs of our students and schools,” Governor Northam said. “This additional funding will allow the Commonwealth to build on our effort to tap this pool of talent as a means of easing the teacher shortage, especially in critical areas like mathematics and career and technical education.”
The Troops to Teachers Virginia Center provides individualized counseling, information about state licensure, and transition planning for veterans considering second careers in the classroom. The center also connects veterans with school division human resource offices.
“As someone who personally transitioned from the military to the classroom, I am passionate about connecting those with military service to the teaching profession. Teaching is a wonderful opportunity for our servicemen and women, and they have immense experience that is valuable to our students,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “This new federal funding will enable us to support more veterans in their transition to the classrooms, benefiting the teachers and students alike.”
“The additional funding will allow the Center to expand its mission by providing mentoring and other supports to career-switching veterans after they enter the classroom as teachers,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “This will increase their likelihood of success.”
During the last year, the Troops to Teachers Center has interacted with more than 1,600 veterans and made presentations to 29 veteran and active military education programs. The Center also has completed a comprehensive evaluation of Troops to Teacher participants who selected Virginia as their first choice for beginning second careers as educators.