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From Military to Public Service: Thanks to the G.I. Bill

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My active duty military time gave me an appreciation for public service, and the opportunity to get the education that I wanted after I was discharged. My membership in national processional associations let me network with fellow professionals, both from the municipal and academic communities, and provided me with a knowledge of possible available internships, and information on possible employment opportunities in my field of study – public service.
The military taught me the value of public service and the need to have a good education. In the military service I learned skills that made a significant difference in my life. I was honored to serve our nation during my military service. It made me want to continue to serve the public in future years. When I returned to civilian life, I went to night school on The G.I. Bill for nearly 15 years— and never missed a semester!
After completing a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree and a MPA (Master of Public Administration) degree at San Diego State University, I found a job in the Office of City Manager, in the City of Oakland, California. I still had time left on The G.I. Bill, so I set my sights on a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) degree in public administration in California, and looked for a night time program, since I had to work full-time. There were only two such doctoral programs in public administration in the State of California at the time. I chose the one at Golden Gate University, which is located in the City of San Francisco, across the Bay from the City of Oakland. The Other night time doctoral program in public administration was at USC (the University of Southern California), which is located in the City of Los Angeles.
It took me five years to complete this degree program’s requirements, one night class per semester while working full-time in the city of Oakland, California. The same month that I received my PhD, I went from being an Assistant to the City Manager in the City of Oakland, California, to becoming a City Manager in the City of Seaside, California and I have served as a city manager ever since that time—in Southern California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and then back in Northern California.
Every place where I worked as a city manager, I taught courses in MPA programs at night at primarily local public universities. It was easy to get a teaching assignment as an Adjunct Professor with my MPA from San Diego State University, my Ph.D. in public administration, and my experience as a career city manager.
Over the years I have published, or been a contributing author to, nearly 50 books, on various topics related to public management, ranging from strategic planning in local governments, the new field of homeland security, and on the preservation/restoration of the natural resources in our communities. My book on the best practices in homeland security was made available to every city manager in America. Getting college degrees on The G.I. Bill changed my life! It greatly enhanced my public service career, and provided me with the opportunity to teach night courses at some of the leading universities throughout the nation during my public service career.
I encourage young people throughout America to serve in one of the branches of our military service, and to receive the subsequent benefits provided to them under The G.I. Bill, like I did. It will help them achieve their personal and career goals in cities and states throughout America, which many citizens call “the land of opportunity.”
The G.I. Bill paid for my entire education, which has served me well throughout my lifetime. Other young people have the same opportunity, and should take advantage of it!
Students should also join national professional associations. Such groups have regular meetings, hold workshops, and help their members network with other professionals in their field. It also provides an opportunity for young people to acquire a knowledge of possible internships and employment opportunities in these fields.
Memberships in associations will enhance a person’s resume too. Students, especially graduate students, should join respected national membership organizations. Like The G.I. Bill helps you achieve your educational goals, your membership in national professional associations will help you achieve your desired professional employment goals in the field that you were educated in.

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From Military to Public Service: Thanks to the G.I. Bill