Yellow Ribbon Entrepreneurs

Yellow Ribbon

Dakota County Technical College launches a specialized program for veterans

Minnesota is home to nearly 400,000 veterans, according to the American Community Survey.  They have less schooling than non-veterans and a higher unemployment rate, especially among younger veterans. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development relates this to veterans’ recent separation from military service, noting that “recently returning veterans, including those who don’t have a lot of work experience or post-secondary training, may face difficulty translating their military skills into civilian jobs.” Dakota County Technical College is doing its part to support veterans in Minnesota and surrounding states through a new program called the Yellow Ribbon Entrepreneurs.


  • Program begins August 2012
  • Academic program options, include:
    • Business Entrepreneur Certificate
    • Associate of Science degree in Individualized Studies
  • Veterans only cohort
    • allows them to feel a sense of unity
  • “Concierge” approach to application, financial aid, and academic advising
  • Includes Credit for Prior Learning (CPL):
    • previous college coursework
    • military experience and training

Each veteran will receive an analysis of past education and training to develop an individualized plan to ensure a fast track to graduation with an academic award. Students will find comfort in knowing they will deal with faculty and counselors who have military experience or backgrounds and understand their struggles firsthand.

The Yellow Ribbon Entrepreneurs program allows students to complete the certificate track, first, so they can get a jump-start on their career and then work on general education courses to complete the associates degree. “That is opposite of virtually every other program, where students start with general education and then complete their technical coursework,” said Christine Pigsley, DCTC Entrepreneur instructor. Veterans can get their education for virtually no cost. If fully eligible for the GI Bill, veterans can receive tuition assistance as well as funding for housing and books. The program is available to any veteran, whether they are currently serving, retired or post-deployment. “One thing we hope to see, is Vietnam and Desert Storm vets in the cohort with those who served in Iraq to support those who have recently returned to civilian life” said Pigsley. “At first we envisioned only domestic cohorts, but we are working with soldiers who are currently deployed on an international track, with online coursework that fits their schedule and positions them for success upon their return home.”

DCTC is one of the country’s premier entrepreneur educators. The Yellow Ribbon Entrepreneurs Initiative will mirror the college’s current academic program offered to the general public with hands-on courses to help students develop skills for small business success. The main difference for Yellow Ribbon Entrepreneur program is that the instruction will be tailored to the student’s military experience and it will focus on opportunities for veteran entrepreneurs.


Related articles:

Unemployment for Young Vet: 30%, and Rising by Dan Beucke

Stepping Up on Vet Jobs by Jon Soltz


For more information about Yellow Ribbon Entrepreneurs, contact: