Dakota County Technical College to start new online business program for veterans

Starting in August of 2012, Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount will offer a business program just for military veterans.

Classes will be strictly online, offering vets the chance to earn a certificate in a year or an associates degree in business in a little over two years.

The program will focus on teaching veterans how to start and run their own small business.  The Yellow Ribbon Entrepreneurs Initiative will be similar to the small business and entrepreneurship program already offered to DCTC students, although occasionally veering into territory specific to veterans, like how to secure financing or contracts available only to them.

College officials hope the fact that the program is online could attract veterans who are struggling to return to class after being in a war zone.

The folks at Dakota County Technical College passed along these details about the program:

DCTC will offer a closed cohort program in Entrepreneurship to include a certificate in Business Entrepreneur or an Associates of Science degree in Individualized Studies with a focus on Entrepreneurship.  The program will be delivered completely online with a face to face orientation and a cohort only graduation ceremony.


Why is this needed?

  • Returning veterans may be challenged to find their previous employment or new employment opportunities limited based on availability of positions or the ability to fit in to the traditional employment environment for both physical and emotional reasons.

  • The opportunity to use the training and skills gaining in military service in the development and operation of their own self-employment venture has considerable viability including the ability to access financing and government procurement opportunities for veterans.

  • Veterans have access to educational resources to supplement their tuition, supplies and housing expenses thus increasing their knowledge of entrepreneurship and decreasing the risk of starting a new venture.

  • By participating in a closed cohort, veterans will be able to forge a bond with one another for support that leads to retention and program completion (No man left behind).  The cohort model will also facilitate specific connections to military service, experiences and needs build directly into the curriculum


Why do this online?  

  • Because the veteran may want to participate in part time work which would be easily facilitated in an asynchronous learning environment.

  • Because returning veterans may experience periods of inability to participate through conditions of PSTD or family issues which in a face to face environment could not be made up- it can be in an online environment.

  • Any veteran with computer and Internet access has the ability to participate from around the state or the nation and students can continue their education even if they relocate without losing time or credits.


When will it be offered?

  • Initial launch of the first cohort will be August 2012 with a new cohort starting every Fall and Spring semester (summer classes are available online outside the cohort).


How is the cohort organized?

  • Prospective students will be connected with their “liaison” at DCTC who will work with them individually to apply and obtain their benefits through the appropriate Veterans Administration program.  This individual will be their “person”, a sole point of contact to assist with their needs for financial and academic advising.  Accuplacer testing will be handled in their own communities through our network of MnSCU colleges.

  • Cohort students will begin their program with an optional but highly recommended face to face orientation that will be held at the DCTC Apple Valley campus on a weekend.  Students will be invited to bring their families and there will be a family meal with activities for both the students and their support system.

  • Every student in the cohort will take a credit for prior learning portfolio course in their first semester to assist them in obtaining credit for their military training and experience which can be applied to their Associates degree. Each student will develop their own individualized study plan of action in their first semester.

  • Students will take their Entrepreneurship courses in the first two semesters so those students who wish to end their DCTC experience with only a certificate may do so.  Other students will continue on and take general education courses and additional technical credits to obtain the AS degree and to do any developmental education to assist them in strengthening Math and English skills.

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