State College

State College ranks among top places for veterans

Penn State University student and U.S. Air Force veteran Ari McGuirk, of Scranton, Pa., stands motionless in front of the Penn State Veterans Plaza, Wednesday, September 11, 2013, as it's draped in American Flags in remembrance of September 11, 2001.
Penn State University student and U.S. Air Force veteran Ari McGuirk, of Scranton, Pa., stands motionless in front of the Penn State Veterans Plaza, Wednesday, September 11, 2013, as it's draped in American Flags in remembrance of September 11, 2001. CDT file photo

State College is even receiving some national attention for the opportunities it provides to newly separated veterans.

According to a release from USAA, a financial service group that provides insurance and banking to military members and veterans, State College recently ranked seventh in its annual “Best Places for Veterans” list.

The list was compiled as a partnership between USAA and the Hiring Our Heroes Foundation, said Eric Engquist, USAA assistant vice president of military transitions.

“The reason we compile (the list) is because we recognize not only the significantly and emotionally impactful situation transitioning from the military is,” he said, “but also that it’s financially impacting.”

Traditionally, he said, when a person separates from the military, he or she goes to one of three places — the area where that person served, his or her hometown, or the hometown of a spouse. These may be a great network for social comfort, he said, but not conducive to good opportunities for school or career advancement.

State College ranked seventh in the list of higher education opportunities, which Engquist said is geared toward service members with four to six years of service who are looking to separate and use their GI Bill benefits to educate themselves and become more competitive in the workplace.

“The fact that State College ranked seventh overall on our starting out list is a testament to the employment opportunities as well as access to education,” he said.

In the five years of compiling this list, he said, this is the third time State College has appeared, ranking before in 2011 and 2010.

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