From Combat Medic to Master’s in Communication: Army Veteran Advances Education, Career Opportunities through Texas Operation Welcome Home

U.S. Army Veteran, Texas State Graduate Student David Beadle
Photo: U.S. Army Veteran and Texas State Graduate Student David Beadle

Military veterans and their spouses have an array of options to bolster their transition into civilian life. But as U.S. Army Veteran David Beadle and many others have discovered, Texas goes one step further in its commitment to honoring our nation’s heroes, by offering a program to provide a seamless transition to employment.

David is one of more than 1.5 million veterans estimated to call Texas home. In response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s charge to identify gaps in services to veterans, Texas Operation Welcome Home (TOWH) was created to assist and provide training opportunities to recently separated service members preparing for employment in high-growth, high-demand occupations.

The goal of the program is to provide a clear pathway for veterans such as David, as they move into civilian employment in the Lone Star State, by eliminating obstacles to attaining licensing, certification, accreditation and degree awards, so that veterans transition quickly into the workforce.

David, meanwhile, is a testimony that clear pathways help. David served as a combat medic for five years in the Army.

U.S. Army Spc. David Beadle's basic training graduation photo
Photo: U.S. Army Spc. David Beadle during basic training

He said when he left the service in 2003, as a Specialist (E-4), he wasn’t sure what path to follow as a civilian as he settled in the Austin area.

“I attended college through the years, but I spent the majority of that time working and kind of building my own career,” he said. “I looked for a career change and in doing that I realized I wanted to add more marketable skills.”

In 2015, David enrolled in the Occupational, Workforce and Leadership Studies (OWLS) program at Texas State, which works in partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Workforce Solutions network.

David said the difference at school this time was that he tapped into the veterans’ network at the university, which helped him map out a clear plan to earn his degree.

“Through the OWLS program I was able to take the military experience that I had and transfer that over into college credit. Unlike other universities, the credits that they transferred from the military were actually applicable to my degree plan,” David said.

David credits the support of the TWC-backed veterans program, and his peers, for expediting his transition.

“I was lucky enough to find a few other veterans in the program who helped remind me that I wasn’t the only one managing school and life,” he said. “That social element was a key component in completing my degree.”

In 2017, David graduated from Texas State with a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree, with a focus on Business and Sociology. He stayed on at the university to pursue a Master’s degree in Communication Studies.

David now helps fellow veterans and Bobcats navigate the challenges of academic work as a Communications Graduate Instructional Assistant at Texas State. He encourages veterans to take advantage of programs such as TOWH to expedite their career goals, and offered some advice based on his experiences.

“The best advice I can give veterans on the same path is to talk to people,” David said. “Ask for help. Keep moving forward towards a goal and don’t stop chipping away at it — it will happen!”

Texas Operation Welcome Home LogoTo learn more about resources available just for veterans in Texas, as well as training and employment opportunities statewide, please visit the Texas Operation Welcome Home website.