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Gov. Northam announces $1.9 million grant to help veterans transition to teaching careers

Virginia Gov.-elect, Ralph Northam gestures during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in Tuesday's election. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday that Virginia has received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to expand efforts to recruit retired and retiring veterans for careers as teachers.

According to the announcement, 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.

Northam added that the additional funding will allow Virginia to build on the effort 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. “This new federal funding will enable us to support more veterans in their transition to the classrooms, benefiting the teachers and students alike.” said Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.

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 completed a comprehensive evaluation of Troops to Teacher participants who selected Virginia as their first choice for beginning second careers as educators.

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