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Building a Community of Support for Veterans in Higher Education since 2007
"To, Through, and Beyond Higher Education"
OPERATION COLLEGE PROMISE (OCP) BACKGROUNDER
Operation College Promise (OCP) is a national policy, research, and education program based in Trenton, New Jersey. OCP supports the transition of military-affiliated students “To, Through and Beyond,” their postsecondary advancement. Founded in 2008 as a web-based resource, the project was la
OPERATION COLLEGE PROMISE (OCP) BACKGROUNDER
Operation College Promise (OCP) is a national policy, research, and education program based in Trenton, New Jersey. OCP supports the transition of military-affiliated students “To, Through and Beyond,” their postsecondary advancement. Founded in 2008 as a web-based resource, the project was launched under the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU) to centralize comprehensive transition information. In 2009, OCP was one of 20 applicants awarded an ACE/Walmart Foundation “Success for Veterans” grant.
The education of veterans, and those who serve them, is the linchpin of the OCP mission. In 2009, the program developed and published the nation’s first resource manual for veterans’ service providers in the Post-9/11 era. The OCP Field Guide provides a blueprint for local, state and national support services to aid veterans in transition.
The signature Certificate for Veterans’ Service Providers (CVSP) program is the only nationally disseminated certificate program designed specifically for higher education professionals. To date, over 900 professionals from 40 states, representing more than 100,000 military-affiliated students, have been certified. The CVSP training has been offered at twelve different locations including Stockton University (Pomona, NJ), Ramapo College of New Jersey (Lyndhurst, NJ), Texas State University (San Marcos, TX), the University of North Carolina (Charlotte, NC), Texas A&M (San Antonio, TX), Ashford University (San Diego, CA), CareerTech for Vets (Oklahoma City, OK), the Association of Independent State Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (Providence, RI), Armstrong State University (Savannah), University of Maryland University College, Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ) and St. Philips College (San Antonio). The rigorous, 2 ½ day curriculum includes seven modules taught by a cross-section of thought leaders in the field of military education, including: the American Council on Education (ACE); the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU); as well as representatives from the Chairman’s Office on Reintegration (CORe), Soldier for Life, the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) and many others. Each presentation is tailored to meet the specific needs of the hosting agency and includes a tour with an “insiders look” at a local military installation. As of January 2020, the CVSP curriculum and student orientation options will be available online.
OCP’s direct outreach to veterans supports the dissemination of information to our veterans and service members. OCP staff has regularly participated in the New Jersey National Guard’s “Yellow Ribbon” Post and Pre-deployment programming. Additionally, OCP provides updated information on existing and emerging resources through the OCP website, quarterly “Mail Call” e-newsletter, and social networking sites.
Beginning in 2011, OCP developed a methodology – the Graduation Probability Indices (GPI) - to survey institutions on the progress of military-affiliated students toward degree attainment.. This landmark research “Completing the Mission: A Pilot Study of Veteran Students’ Progress toward Degree Attainment in the Post-9/11 Era” was followed up in 2013 by an expanded study: “Completing the Mission II: A Study of Veteran Students’ Progress toward Degree Attainment in the Post-9/11 Era” which increased the size of the study to 23 four-year institutions. The 2013 report can be accessed here: http://www.ccmountainwest.org/sites/default/files/completing_mission_ii.pdf. In 2021, OCP published Completing the Mission III – Assessing the Impact of COVID on Student Veterans and Support Services.
OCP staff has frequently testified before the New Jersey Legislature on policies affecting veterans and their transition. For its efforts, OCP was awarded a Senate Resolution recognizing the program as a national model. The project collaborated with the New Jersey State Senate to establish the first “Veterans’ Education Awareness Week,” which is recognized through a gubernatorial proclamation each year. This initiative was made annual as an ongoing effort to educate veterans on their education benefits as well as celebrate their service. OCP is also researching condensed degree programs that maximize the benefits of the Post-9/11 GI bill, while recognizing the skill sets of our military students in fields with potential for long-term employment. The first of these, “VETeach,” a streamlined teaching degree plan, was signed into New Jersey Statute on April 5, 2012.
In May of 2020, OCP launched “Operation Reboot,” which now provides virtual options for both student orientations and the CVSP professional development training. The program also offers a Mobile app option to support the connectivity between students and with their institution during the pandemic.
IN THE PRESS
OCP’s work has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chronicle on Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Military Advanced Education, NBC, Fox News, NPR and CNN, among many other media outlets. The project was also featured in a chapter in “What’s Next for Student Veterans – Moving from Transition to Academic Success,” a book published by the National Resource Directory
For more information on Operation College Promise (OCP), call 561-302-5282.
OCP has led the way in research initiatives that assess the effectiveness of campus programs and most recently, the impact of the COVID Pandemic on Student Veterans. The most recent research, "Completing the Mission III - Assessing the Impact of the COVID Pandemic on Student Veterans and Campus Support Services" can be accessed here: ht
OCP has led the way in research initiatives that assess the effectiveness of campus programs and most recently, the impact of the COVID Pandemic on Student Veterans. The most recent research, "Completing the Mission III - Assessing the Impact of the COVID Pandemic on Student Veterans and Campus Support Services" can be accessed here: https://www.tamus.edu/veterans/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2021/02/COVID-Report-January-FINAL-Feb-1600.pdf
“Operation College Promise (OCP) delivers top-notch education through the Certificate for Veterans Service Providers (CVSP) program all across the country and more and more institutions are taking notice. Wendy’s program is the Gold Standard, and I would encourage everyone to participate regardless of whether you are faculty, staff,
“Operation College Promise (OCP) delivers top-notch education through the Certificate for Veterans Service Providers (CVSP) program all across the country and more and more institutions are taking notice. Wendy’s program is the Gold Standard, and I would encourage everyone to participate regardless of whether you are faculty, staff, veteran or veteran service or service provider.” MSG Adam Martinez, US Army (Ret.), Account Manager at Hire Veterans, Veterans Advocate and retired Deputy Director, Soldier for Life (Office of the Secretary of the Army),
“The CVSP Program conducted in Oklahoma City from 28-30 May 2014, opened my eyes to the breadth of organizations who want to assist veterans. As a certifying official/veteran specialist for my school, the program caused me to initiate certain services for the betterment of our veteran students; without the program, I probably would not have realized those services were needed. I strongly recommend the program to scholastic professionals who work with veteran students.” Ray Dillman, Mid-America Christian University
“The information provided at this conference will be instrumental in the development of staff roles, departments, and student committees to facilitate the smooth transition of veterans into an academic environment.” Debra Grosskurth, Participant, CVSP Rhode Island, 2014
“The perfect training to allow higher education professionals an understanding of how to create a comprehensive and integrative campus veterans services program regardless of your campus position.” Dr. Esmilda Abreu, Montclair State University
“The continuing increase in the numbers of veterans and servicemembers seeking success through; higher education can be both a challenge and an opportunity for colleges and universities across the country. Training and networking programs such as this one through OCP fill an important need to keep all of us aware of the best and most current approaches to making sure these extraordinary students find the best paths to their own success and happiness as they re-enter the civilian society they have so ably served.” Rod Davis, Former Director Military Services, The Texas A&M University System
“You sure know how to put on a great show! UMA will gain volumes from my participation! The presentations were top-notch, and the networking opportunities far exceeded my expectations. I feel like 'the best of the best' were at the event! As a veteran, I am truly grateful to have folks like you in my corner. Thank you for all you do, and please let your team know the same.” Amy Line, Veteran, Director of Veterans’ Services University of Maine
“Congratulations to Operation College Promise and its director, Wendy Lang, for developing and fielding a professional credentialing effort for veteran service providers at colleges and nonprofit veteran support organizations. Listening to program speakers and networking with top veteran education, financing and support leaders and with other college military outreach coordinators should broaden and strengthen existing and emerging academic, advising and counseling support for returning veterans and serving military. I believe the CVSP credential will quickly become sought after by aspiring entrants to the burgeoning field of academic military outreach. Thank you for your service to our returning veterans and serving military “Robert G. Knowles, Jr., Colonel (retired) Georgia Perimeter College
“I wanted to thank you for putting on such a great conference. I learned a great deal, met a lot of amazing individuals and plan to share the wealth of knowledge. I am thankful I attended the Certificate for Veterans' Service Providers training workshop in Charlotte, North Carolina. As an academic advisor, I find it is vital for my professional development and for the success of my military affiliated students to become as knowledgeable about the issues they often face as they transition out of their uniforms and into the classroom. The workshop provided me with that and more. I left feeling more knowledgeable, capable, and considerate of the complex challenges our veteran’s face and, more importantly, the very real success veterans can achieve.” Reed T. Curtis, M.Ed., Academic Advisor University of North Carolina Wilmington
“I am a retired Coast Guard officer. I served 26 years in uniform. I have been a college administrator for several years and attend many conferences. To attend a conference as we just experienced as offered by OCP was a pleasure, it was terrific and one of the best I have attended. All the sessions were outstanding. The information was relevant, well documented, useful, and presented in an excellent manner. The OCP staff were professional and assisted in every way. I applaud Wendy Lang and OCP for providing this service. It will assist us immeasurably as we all work to meet the needs of our student veterans.” Bob Philpott, Captain USCG (Ret) Veterans Affairs Coordinator Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington NC
“I wanted to thank you again for putting together the awesome conference. The information provided by the presenters, as well as the networking, was by far, the best of any conference I have attended.” Debbie Bottomley, MSW Monmouth County Office on Disabilities
“The Certificate for Veterans Service Providers (CVSP) program not only provided informative and engaging presentations, but also gave me access to the speakers over the three-day period. I came away with many new ideas that could be immediately implemented on our campus.” Denise Rodak, Coordinator of Veteran and Military Resources Montclair State University
“I want to commend and congratulate the OCP team and Texas State University for a successful CVSP program. It was an invaluable experience and a very productive meeting for the Veteran service providers from the various Texas institutions. The program offered modules that were relevant and informative, providing well-needed and essential resources and guidance. It was also a delight to overhear the positive feedback from the participants and to observe their eagerness to take advantage of the available resources. The participants' regard for and desire for such a program was evident in their attendance throughout and their interactions during the various modules. Again, it was a pleasure to participate in such a rewarding endeavor!” Ann-Marie Stephenson, Educational Testing Service
“The 2012 CVSP training was well organized, efficient, and very effective. I would highly recommend this program for anyone who is in the business of supporting veterans and their families. WELL, DONE!” Colonel Gerald Smith, Director of Military Services The Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
“Over the past two years in the Lone Star State, I have noticed that many of the universities have committed to becoming veteran-friendly. However, most of them simply don't know how to accomplish that task. This has been frustrating for both the veterans and family members, as well as the universities and colleges. Enter onto the scene, Wendy Lang, and her Operation College Promise (OCP) team. They are spearheading a program that allows leaders to earn a Certificate for Veterans' Service Providers (CVSP). This program teaches the educators how to laser focus their goals and how to best serve the veterans. With a hosting partnership from Dr. Katherine Selber and Texas State University in San Marcos, the event was like nothing I have ever witnessed. It was well-planned, orchestrated, and received with enthusiasm. While attending the Operation College Promise event, I was honored to be part of the Resource Panel and explained the TexVet initiative. I was further impressed when I engaged the mock scenarios and put into action the information that I just learned. I am sure that OCP will succeed in its mission to help veterans reach their educational goals with this comprehensive program.
looking forward to working with OCP to promote their program across the United States since it will finally put all of the schools, universities, colleges, and trade schools on the same page. Our veterans have earned the right to pursue their educational goals after serving our country. It is an honor to facilitate those goals with energetic and focused organizations such as Operation College Promise
The CVSP experience was truly enlightening. I have been serving students for 30 years as a student affairs professional and I found this program extremely rewarding and important to my professional development.” Tim Stroud, Manager, TexVet
“I found this program highly informative and it was geared to our region. The speakers were very well informed and were excited to be presenting to us. While the conference was very intense, it was also fun and laid back. It didn't feel like you had spent all day sitting in a conference.” Marie Paiz, Assistant Registrar Texas Lutheran University Seguin, Texas
“This week, I have attended a three-day seminar, hosted at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. The seminar, Certification for Veterans' Service Providers, was sponsored by Operation College Promise (OCP). The certification seminar was attended by college veterans' affairs officials from Maine to North Carolina and as far west as Indiana. The seminar was opened by Major General Maria Falca-Dodson, Commander, NJ Air National Guard, who discussed military culture and the military member’s experience. This was an outstanding and extremely informative seminar. Those in attendance were riveted to every word by every speaker. It was heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and dedication to veterans and veterans' issues.” Bob Ford, Senior Vice Commander VFW Memorial Post 9462, Absecon, New Jersey
“The CVSP program is a must for anyone working with our veterans on campus. The program is packed with valuable information, but more importantly, it recognizes and highlights the personal experiences of our student veterans on campus – who better to learn from! It is well worth the time and travel to attend. Operation College Promise is a program we can all benefit from.” Higher Education Official
“Veteran or not, faculty, administrators and staff should attend this conference to understand the advantages of recruiting and supporting vets in their educational pursuits, and also understanding the specific “issues facing veterans attempting school.” Recruiter, NJ Air National Guard
“The CVSP conference is something that anyone that is working with the military for any reason should attend because it helped answer so many questions and provided information that was extremely useful. Too many times student veterans get the run around regarding their benefits, schools they can attend, the difference in one pay out to another, and it causes so much frustration. If this can also be offered at the bases for the soldiers before they get out, it would be extremely beneficial! This was one of the best conferences I have attended.” Higher Education Official
“Operation College Promise has pulled together some great resources. The information is useful. Attendees stayed through each session throughout the training – right up to the very end. No one
wanted to miss even one minute! If you have the opportunity to attend one of their trainings, it will be well worth your time and effort! “ Mary Huckleberry Meeks, East Central University
“This conference was well organized and presented a wealth of knowledge. The speakers were excellent and we available for questions during the conference. The networking was an added benefit as we could share our knowledge with others and glean helpful information from the other attendees. I have been a social worker for close to 25 years and felt this conference was by far the best conference I have ever attended in my professional career. Kudos to the organizers for ALL their efforts.” NJ Social Worker
“The New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities and its member presidents demonstrated insightful leadership in recognizing early on the need to prepare their campuses for the arrival of this latest generation of returning veterans.” Jim Selbe, Assistant Vice President American Council on Education (ACE)
“Since our partnership with Operation College Promise, there have been many collaborative efforts that have yielded a better educated faculty regarding our returning heroes. This assists the veterans, not only in the reintegration process, but also in achieving their educational goals. Our positive result has been the formation of veteran student support groups at several New Jersey college campuses.” William M. Keyes, QMC (SW), USN-RET
“As a new Veterans' Coordinator, The OCP Field Guide will enable me to efficiently find the resources I need to develop a comprehensive array of programs and services for my student veterans.“ Lynette Butler, Coordinator of Veterans Affairs William Paterson University of New Jersey
“This workshop was very informative and applicable to my daily work with veteran students. It was interactive and participatory. The program forces one to think critically and passionately. The content and presentation by the facilitators was high quality and engaging.” CVSP Attendee
“Having attended the CVSP events, the field trip to a military installation or carrier really compliments the Military Culture segment. Having SVM and Veterans is great, but nothing speaks to the culture until someone sees the living and working conditions.” CVSP Attendee
“This was a very worthwhile workshop with outstanding presenters and up-to-date information for attendees. It was well worth the trip.” Lee Cox, South Plains College
“OCP is a class act! Whatever your position, if you're sincerely interested in getting involved and helping veterans, the CVSP program is a great way to start or continue your education. OCP offered all participants the opportunity to network with other administrators who share the same passion for helping veterans and to learn about various veterans issues, veteran resources and volunteer programs. Excellent on-site staff, programming, and presentations!” CVSP Attendee
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to share such a unique passion with a group of individuals. As a military family member specializing in higher education, I've always sought ways to help veterans. This program gave me the confidence and information needed to reach out to our collegiate military servicemembers. Now I can return to my university and help other departments transition to the veteran-friendly status we are striving to achieve. Thank you for such an informative program.“
DaNeetra Kersee, University of North Texas
“CVSP was so wonderful. There is such a sincere collaboration among all entities. This is a type of conference where you feel like family after the first day. Awesome!” Tockie Hemphill:”, Director, Veterans Center University of North Texas
“We appreciate the San Antonio Area Foundation, Texas A&M San Antonio, and Operation College Promise for bringing such an enlightening conference to our community!” Melissa Beach, Director of Strategic Initiatives Center for Nonprofit Support
“I was extremely pleased with the CVSP training as it helped me better understand my husband's time in the war zone; and other families that I serve.” Rev. Rosalind C. Harris, Students in Christ Youth Center, Inc., The Inspiration Center
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