MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ThanksUSA, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to children and spouses of US troops, today unveiled its Pathways for Patriots education to career initiative. The program will pair companies seeking hard-to-find employees with the charity’s scholarship recipients.
ThanksUSA will announce the initiative on September 28, 2016 at the organization’s annual Treasure Our Troops Gala held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. The event will feature keynote speaker General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Special guests will include military families, ThanksUSA scholarship recipients, Members of Congress, corporate sponsors and other donors.
“With corporations struggling to find skilled workers and fill jobs in disciplines such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), nursing and hospitality management, Pathways for Patriots will provide pipelines of talented ThanksUSA scholars to these fields,” said ThanksUSA President and retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel, who devised the initiative. “Our corporate partners and other donors already help us provide scholarships to hundreds of military families. These Pathways to employment will take our work and everyone involved to the next level – by both filling critical jobs for corporations while establishing careers for our scholars through mentoring, internships, networking and employee engagement.”
The Pathway to Public Service and the Pathway to Tech/STEM will be the first two pipelines established, in tribute to three distinguished ThanksUSA supporters that this year’s Gala will feature.
The Pathway to Public Service will recognize Mary Jo Myers along with her husband General Richard Myers, retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a military spouse for over four decades, Mrs. Myers has been involved in international humanitarian work, both abroad and at home, and has established and fostered educational, health and other programs for military families. She also served on ThanksUSA’s Advisory Council. Forty students will benefit from the Pathway to Public Service in honor of Mrs. Myers.
“I am honored to have the Pathway to Public Service grants established in my name in recognition of the needs of the children and spouses of our troops,” said Mrs. Myers. “College affordability is a substantial burden on our military families. It’s critical that we all help them achieve both an education and a career.”
Separately, the Pathway to Tech/STEM will recognize scholarship commitments by Lockheed Martin and Smiths Detection to military spouses and children who are pursuing tech and STEM-related degrees and careers. Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. Smiths Detection is the world’s leading manufacturer of sensors for detecting explosives, weapons and other threats to national security. As founding members of the Pathway to Tech/STEM, Lockheed Martin and Smiths Detection will provide educational opportunities to military family members seeking careers in these hard-to-fill occupational fields.
Rounding out the pipelines under the Pathways to Patriots initiative umbrella will be the Pathway to Healthcare/Nursing, the Pathway to Hospitality, the Pathway to the Arts and the Pathway to Financial Services/Banking. Mr. Schmiegel expects more Pathways to emerge as the organization develops partnerships with a growing array of corporations to offer scholarships and practical initiatives to ensure employment for ThanksUSA scholars including tutoring, internships and more.
“Most of our active-duty troops support their families – 700,000 spouses and more than 1.1 million children – with only one income,” said Mr. Schmiegel. “With ThanksUSA scholarships and these Pathways, we can help fulfill career dreams and provide financial stability for military families who sacrifice so much in service to our nation.”
In addition to Mr. Schmiegel and the event’s honorees, ThanksUSA Chairman and CEO Bob Okun and several ThanksUSA scholars will be available for interviews at the Gala. Scholars attending include 2016 Fort Myer Military Spouse of the Year and mother of three Andrea Barreiro; Kalli Pallacio, a music therapist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center who used music to help her cope with her Navy Reservist father’s absences; and Cedric Pulliam, an Army dependent who is employed by the State Department and studying psychology, among others.
ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. The organization provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships to the children and spouses of military personnel. For more information, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.