July 4, 2014

Fostering opportunities for our veterans

By Michael K. Young

Veterans make for some of the best students. They hold discipline, drive and innovation in the highest regard. They know when to lead and when to follow. When they fall down, vets get right back up. And they know that education — with the help of trusted compatriots — is the key to overcoming any obstacle.

As we celebrate Independence Day, I want to showcase how the University of Washington is committed to helping our veterans transition from service to the classroom. Combined, they’ve served thousands of tours of duty; our duty as a university is to acknowledge and reward their service with support.

Last spring, I was honored to meet a host of Husky veterans at UW Tacoma who are transforming their civilian lives through the Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship (VIBE) program. It’s a first-in-the-nation approach to developing the talent of military veterans as entrepreneurs and gives them access to valuable resources — idea development, mentoring, coaches, financial advice, work space and networking — while they pursue their UW degrees.

As deployments in Afghanistan wind down, military personnel are concluding their active duty at nearby Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) and returning to civilian life. JBLM and UW Tacoma leaders founded VIBE to enhance the South Sound’s start-up culture and to provide more options to a group of men and women perfectly suited to entrepreneurism.

VIBE’s focus on developing talent and turning ideas into viable businesses is part of the environment of opportunity we’re fostering at the UW. Watch this video to learn more about VIBE and the extraordinary veterans who are leading the charge in a new chapter of Husky entrepreneurism.

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