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University Advancement | November 2018  

 

Veterans transition to education program offers a ladder to post-secondary education

Army veteran Chris Munro

Chris Munro Ryerson, Social Work (MSW) ’18, the coordinator for the Veterans Transition to Education (VTE) program at Ryerson, uses his experience in the military and his education at Ryerson to assist veterans’ transition to civilian life.

 

Army veteran Chris Munro found a new career and a new lifeline when he returned to post-secondary education at Ryerson, and today he hopes to help others do the same.

Like many new, younger veterans, Munro found it difficult to transfer his skills into a regular job, after spending most of his early adulthood overseas on peacekeeping missions. “I was an airborne soldier, the best of the best, with the best training. By the time I got out and realized I wasn’t qualified to do anything, I was working as a shipper/receiver at Sears and I just didn’t talk. And nobody talked to me,” he said. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and struggled with managing his anger.

After the military, he ran a successful small business for a number of years. Outside pressures eventually pushed him to seek something new and more stable.

Munro felt a pull toward helping others. After reuniting with his biological father (a professor at Ryerson University), from whom he had been estranged for decades, he was encouraged to explore higher education. Through Ryerson’s Spanning the Gaps program, Munro was able to transition into a degree program where he earned his bachelor’s degree in social work and went on to earn his master’s degree.

His research focused on the obstacles faced by veterans re-entering the workforce.

“In almost all cases, study participants felt that civilian perspectives on most aspects of life differed from their own,” says Munro about his research. “Enough so, that life outside the military isolated them, and made it hard to form social bonds and vocational goals.”

With his unique combination of experience and research-based knowledge, he is currently employed at Ryerson as the coordinator for the Veterans Transition to Education (VTE) program where he hopes to help others that have completed their military service find their way to a career in civilian life.

“By understanding the challenges facing military personnel, we tailor our provision of supports to address veteran’s future entrance into the civilian job market using education to teach civilian perspectives,” says Munro.

The G. Raymond Chang School is hosting an open house for the VET program on Nov. 29. Veterans are invited to RVSP today.

This story was written with files from this original article in Ryerson Today.