North Bennet Street School (NBSS) trains veterans for rewarding careers in the traditional trades and helps them find satisfying, gainful employment. Veterans have long been part of the School's history, beginning at the end of World War I. More than 1,200 veterans trained at NBSS between 1946–1977, and in the last few years enrollment by veterans has been steadily on the rise—today veterans make up 20% of the full-time student body.
The School's educational philosophy, tight-knit community, high graduation/employment rates, and over a century of experience in manual arts training appeal to veterans. Many find their way to NBSS via the federal Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance program, which assists veterans who have a service-related disability.
While veterans and their dependents receive support from the Post 9/11 GI Bill, NBSS is raising funds to close the gap between this benefit and the actual cost of attendance. Depending on the length and type of NBSS program, students have additional expenses for specialized equipment, tools, and clothing on top of tuition. Grants and contributions for the NBSS Yellow Ribbon Program help remove financial obstacles for veterans and their dependents so that they can focus on building their post-military lives.
A common theme among student vets is the desire to do something worthwhile in the world, to not feel like our time and drive is being wasted. NBSS has given our growing student veteran population the chance to write our own story. We all come from different places, different branches, different ranks, but we all share the same iron will to conquer objectives, and to do so in the correct manner.
Kyle, a 2016 graduate of the Preservation Carpentry program at NBSS
Veterans often struggle with vocational goals and identity, and miss feeling productive, successful, and part of a team. They tend to thrive at NBSS because they come equipped with a level of commitment, organization, confidence, and self-reliance that is often a model for other students.
With support from the NBSS administration, the student veterans have launched a Student Veterans Organization (SVO), which recently became an official chapter of Student Veterans of America. The SVO fosters connectivity for veterans and functions as an important support network across NBSS programs, with weekly meetings, social events and guest speakers. The Chapter has connected NBSS to other schools, broadening professional networks and opportunities as well as creating the sense of community that is often lost in the transition from military to civilian life.
Veterans enrolled at the School will frequently say that NBSS is a solution to the lack of training opportunities for meaningful careers. All students receive an education of the highest quality and once they graduate, they are ready to work in well paid fields including carpentry and locksmithing.
NBSS partners with the following organizations to help provide services, counseling and advocacy for veterans:
- Department of Veterans Services (City of Boston)
- Boston Vet Center (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
- Home Base (a partnership of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital)
- Massachusetts Office of Veterans Affairs
- Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders (TRACTS)
- Boston VA Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain Campus
- Soldiers' Home in Chelsea, MA
- New England Center for Homeless Veterans
- Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative