The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Veterans Entrepreneurial Program to continue this fall

Launched in 2015, The Veterans Entrepreneurial Jumpstart (VEJ) will be held once agin from Oct. 29 through Nov. 6.

The three-part residency program includes classroom instruction, panels, lectures, networking, and mentoring. This residency also happens to coincide with National Veteran’s Small Business Week, which runs from Oct. 31 through Nov. 4.

The Saint Joseph’s University Office of Veteran’s Affairs, which holds the VEJ program, offers financial, academic, and career-planning support services for student veterans on Hawk Hill. The office also provides services for all veterans, including services for their families members who decide to attend Saint Joseph’s University, as well. These services ensure that students and veterans receive all possible benefits available, including academic and career advising, and any counseling when needed.

The office is run by Ralph Galati, head of the office of Veteran’s Affairs, and Kevin E. Gelzhiser, assistant director of Veterans Services.

“The single biggest thing is to get vets and families to contact us and let us help them get what they need,” says Galati.

Galati and Gelzhiser are both veterans. Galati served eight years in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of Captain and becoming a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War. Gelzhiser served with the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary, the oldest military unit in the nation.

Both men now work to ensure the next generation of veterans coming home from the Iraq War have everything they need to return and succeed in civilian life. The pair encourages veterans or families of veterans to contact the Saint Joseph’s University Office of Veteran’s Services. The office also assists veterans in finding jobs at a large number of regional companies who are looking to hire them.

“We’re growing in the area of carrier development,” Galati claimed.

In addition to helping veterans find jobs, Galati and Gelzhiser also host national entrepreneurship programs for veterans that aim to offer resources and advice to those wanting to start their own business.

Gelzhiser also mentors a local chapter of the Student Veterans of America, a national organization that presents speaker series, programs, and other assets to help veterans.

Despite the huge amount of assistance the office provides, Galati emphasizes that their biggest challenge is finding veterans.

“It’s hard when veterans come back after ‘x’ amount of years in the military, including some combat and deployments, and they think the world has changed. We try to let them know it’s not the world that’s changed, its you,” Galati said.

By reaching out and making the office aware of them, veterans can receive newsletters and social media notifications for opportunities that could help them transition into a successful civilian life.

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