By Grady Michael Gaynor
On Sept. 11, 2001, Daniel Hance was with his roommate in his college dormitory witnessing the most devastating terrorist attack in U.S. history. It was in that moment he decided he would join the Armed Forces.
Hance served 17 years in the military as a field artillery officer, and upon sustaining an injury, became a logistics officer. Upon leaving the service, Hance saw himself and many of his fellow veterans struggling to make the transition from life in the military to life as civilians.
So, in 2017, the Carmel resident launched The Catalyst, a 6-week program for military veterans that provides a multi-faceted approach to assist in the military-to-civilian transition. It combines civilian recruiting with in-class undergraduate and graduate education, mentoring, networking, on-the-job shadowing and mental health resources.
“What if a program existed where veterans and their spouses were truly taken care of, a program that partners with universities and the business community to provide support, promote capabilities and generate opportunities for networking and business growth?” Hance said of his thought process in launching The Catalyst.
Despite having transferable skills, many veterans struggle to find careers in the civilian world. This can largely be attributed to a lack of education and experience in civilian workplaces and potential PTSD or other stress-related mental health issues from trauma in the service.
“Many civilian employers cannot comprehend the skill sets people develop while in the Armed Forces,” Hance said. “Pressure creates diamonds, and these folks are diamonds.”
Participants in The Catalyst earn up to six credit hours toward their MBA, and up to 90 credit hours towards their BA in Business Management, based on their military experience.
For more on The Catalyst and how to apply, visit thecatalystprogram.org.