Quantico Program Trains Vets for Business
By SGT. REBEKKA HEITE
QUANTICO, Va. – Boots to Business, an entrepreneurship training pilot program, officially began this week.
Boots to Business which will also be piloted at three other locations — Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. – is expected to reach 20,000 transitioning Marines during its yearlong pilot phase.
Leadership in the Marine Corps, in the Small Business Administration and from the U.S. president are all focused on veterans having the tools they need to start their own business, said Karen Mills, administrator of the SBA and a member of the president’s Cabinet.
The commandant of the Marine Corps’s 35th Planning Guidance directed an assessment of the Transition Assistance Management Program and a revamped approach to meet the needs of departing and retiring Marines, said Brig. Gen. Robert F. Hedelund, Marine and Family Programs director.
The new program, Transition Readiness Seminar, was implemented on all Marine Corps installations in March 2012. Now, the five-day seminar will include a video introducing Boots to Business.
After completing TRS, Marines will have the option to choose additional, more focused training in one of three military to civilian pathways: Technical Training, Higher Education or Boots to Business.
The Boots to Business pilot includes the introductory video, which all transitioning Marines on the four bases will see, followed by a 90-minute face-to-face class delivered to those who are interested. After the class the Marines will have the opportunity to continue their training with an 8-week online course.
While 20,000 Marines are expected to see the introductory video, only 20 percent or 4,000 Marines are expected to go to the face-to-face class. Forty percent of those, or 1,600, are expected to go through the online course, said Walter Lavrinovich, head of Plans and Operations , Personal and Professional Development Branch.
Marine spouses are also eligible to attend all Boots to Business instruction.