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CSU-Pueblo supports veterans in career transition


CSU-Pueblo became the host university of the Mountain Pacific Troops to Teachers Program Nov.1, which recruits experienced military members to teach for K-12 schools.

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Veterans have a lot of positive leadership experience that they can contribute to the classrooms and they can serve as role models to the young people, said Joseph Marshall, assistant vice president for enrollment management at CSU-Pueblo.

“We want to get the most mature people we can,” he said.

MPTTT, as one regional section of the Troops to Teachers program, covers nine states in the Western U.S., including Colorado, Hawaii and Alaska, and the two U.S. territories Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The purpose of TTT is to give qualified military members an opportunity to make the transition into a career teaching. It is also to recruit high-quality teachers for schools that serve a large percentage of low-income families, according to the information on TTT’s website.

Although the program strives to relieve teacher shortages in subjects such as mathematics, science and other high-need areas, positions are available in many other subjects such as art, foreign languages and vocational education, according to the website.

As the host university of MPTTT, CSU-Pueblo will also benefit. Participants will be more likely to choose CSU-Pueblo’s Teacher Education Program to pursue their teaching certificates, Marshall said.

Every year, the Federal government funds $1.1 million to MPTTT for its operation and to provide financial assistance to qualified participating veterans, Marshall said.

Each participant can get a stipend of up to $5,000 to help pay for teacher certification costs, as well as a $10,000 bonus. Participants who accept financial assistance are required to teach in public schools that serve students from low-income families for at least three years.

The U.S. Department of Defense established TTT in 1994. The responsibility was transferred to the U.S. Department of Education in 2001. Now, the two departments cooperate to run the program.

As of December 2007, more than 10,500 TTT participants were hired nationally to work in public schools, according to the information on the program’s website.

TTT’s services include individual counseling, which provides information on teaching licensure options, and placement assistance for participants to register at institutions so they can obtain teaching certificates. The program also provides financial support and job placement assistance.

MPTTT coordinates with the Colorado Department of Education to make sure the program meets the educational goals of Colorado, Marshall said.

The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs was the host university prior to CSU-Pueblo. It will take a few weeks for the program to move from UCCS to CSU-Pueblo campus, he said.

Marshall was chosen by the CDE to take over the program because of his experience in working with military members, he said.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for seven years and went to college as a veteran. Throughout his career, he has directed veteran programs at several universities, he said.

Veterans do quality work in college and he makes sure to assist them when they need help, he said.