The Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering (ELeVATE) Program


This report reviews the ELeVATE program which aims to increase the enrollment, retention, eventual graduation at the college level, and career success of wounded, injured, and ill Veterans in engineering and technology.


Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering, or ELeVATE, is a program to assist wounded, injured, and ill Veterans in transitioning into university science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs, with a special emphasis on assistive technology and engineering. This paper examines whether the ELeVATE model, by addressing academic preparation, professional development, rehabilitation counselling, and community reintegration, increases the academic success (defined as enrolling and excelling in a plan of study through a post-secondary institution) of transitioning Veterans with disabilities. Post-program surveys completed by seven participants indicated that they were satisfied with the efficacy of the program. Students rated the research paper and oral presentation of research, the networking seminar, and the resume writing workshop as "very helpful." They found the group meetings with the vocational coordinator, the introduction to adaptive sports seminar, and the poster presentation to be "moderately helpful." Seventy-one percent of the students indicated that being part of ELeVATE's supportive cohort of Veterans was "very" or "extremely" valuable. They rated the effectiveness of the support they provided to their peers higher than the support they received from their peers. Over time, ELeVATE participants demonstrated increased self-efficacy (via General Self-Efficacy instrument scores) to succeed in STEM and increased engagement in campus life (via National Survey of Student Engagement scores), and ELeVATE's impact even went beyond helping Veterans achieve their academic and personal goals.

Full Reference

The Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering (ELeVATE) program. Rory A. Cooper, Mary Goldberg, Maria Milleville, and Randy Williams. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 2016 2:2, 96-100