Virginia College explores military collaboration to ready potential recruits

Jan 28, 2011

Representatives from the Army, National Guard, and Virginia College School of Business and Health in Chattanooga.

Twenty-three percent of recent high school graduates don't get the minimum score needed on an enlistment test to join any branch of the military, according to a December report from The Education Trust. Questions are often basic, such as: "If 2 plus x equals 4, what is the value of x?"

To help prepare these high school graduates for possible military service, Virginia College School of Business and Health in Chattanooga is developing a pilot project for assisting would-be recruits that have failed the military entrance examination's math and reading sections.

According to Education Corporation of America's Mike Betz, General Manager of the Military Student Center, recruiters from the Georgia and Tennessee Army and National Guard Recruiting Stations recently visited the Chattanooga campus for a formative meeting to discuss the launch of the ASVAB Tutorial Program there.

To be qualified for enlistment, all potential military recruits must pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

"Virginia College School of Business and Health in Chattanooga has taken the lead in our system for setting up the ASVAB Tutorial program and will begin officially February 18," said Betz. "We expect to serve an estimated 100 to 200 potential recruits/students this year. By preparing students to pass this entrance exam, I think we're helping to strengthen the community and the nation's military."

The Education Trust report bolsters a growing worry among military and education leaders that the pool of young people qualified for military service will grow too small.

"If you can't get the people you need, there's a potential for a decline in your readiness," said retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, who, along with other retired military leaders, is working to bring awareness to the high ineligibility rates nationwide.

Birmingham-based Education Corporation of America (ECA) owns and operates Virginia College School of Business and Health in Chattanooga, in addition to Virginia College campuses in 17 other cities. Additional ECA schools include Golf Academy of America, Ecotech Institute, and online programs of Virginia College.