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News | Feb. 8, 2024

Universities partner with Recruiting and Retention College to further Soldier educational opportunities

By Lauren Reho USAREC Public Affairs

More than 500 students throughout the Fort Knox area expanded their educational horizons at the Recruiting and Retention College Jan. 31-Feb. 1 during a unique monthly event.

College Night, which stems from the Army’s Continuing Education Degree Program, is designed for Army schools to partner with eight universities so Soldiers can study material closely related to their Military Occupational Specialty. CEDP College Night is held each month and covers all in-house classes, as well as the Army Recruiter Course.

“The new Recruiters are expected to interact with colleges, students and graduates,” said Zenon Zacharyj, Faculty and Staff Development Division chief at the RRC. “This helps the new Recruiters learn more about colleges – from admissions to graduation – and will help them recruit in the college market.”

The RRC partners with the American Military University, Liberty University, Columbia Southern University, Western Kentucky University, University of Louisville, Post University, Purdue Global University and Trident University. These universities provide Soldiers and civilians the options to learn about various degree programs that branch from the intent of the Army’s CEDP.

“This event pushed people to actually go forward and achieve their goals,” said Sgt. Seth Adkins, a student attending the event. “A lot of the people presenting here are offering scholarships that we would not otherwise look for, so that’s an additional advantage we’ll have over our peers.

“It’s going to help us out a lot.”

College Night also points out how many universities today accept military education and experience for credits toward degrees to RRC students. According to Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Hernandez, RRC senior enlisted adviser, Soldiers are often not aware of how close they are to earning a degree based on their military training.

“We bring a wide range of opportunities to College Night so they can be informed and increase potential for promotions and future career opportunities through advanced education,” said Hernandez.

For those who teach at the RCC, however, the event further expands on what they instill in the classroom.

RRC instructors receive extensive training and education. They often share their personal experiences and how they relate to the operational environment and MOS development, creating a more personalized connection for students. College Night affords instructors the chance to see their students explore their next steps.

“The RRC's College Night is a great opportunity for our noncommissioned officers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Shay Howlett, RCC instructor and writer. “They have the ability to wear a few different hats during the event.”

Howlett explained the event allows NCOs to pursue further education and ask questions they may have. They can also gain perspective of what a college or career fair may look like, as well as experience interactions that resemble the operational environment. He said they may even learn something that directly impacts a future lead, prospect or applicant that results in that individual joining the Army.

College Night events are oftentimes the first interaction and opportunity to discuss educational pathways specific to the personal interests of those who attend. Zacharyj provided the example of an Army college partner offering expedited degrees in logistics and accounting. RRC students would be able to obtain direct instruction regarding talent acquisition, recruiting and human resources that they could apply in their careers.

“The exposure to these different options and programs is an amazing opportunity for our students,” said Master Sgt. Erik Betlaf, another RCC instructor and writer. “We are very fortunate for the unwavering support from the eight partnered colleges, who are immensely dedicated to our Soldiers, NCOs and civilians.”



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