Veteran Student Story – James Hughes


ICDC College  |  Education Tailored Your Way  |

Published in the May/June 2011 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that James Hughes was a man on a mission when the former infantryman left the Army. He served for 12 years, finishing as a platoon sergeant. He served in Kuwait, Egypt, and Iraq, and at Fort Bragg, Fort Campbell, and Fort Benning. He wanted to go back to school and, while doing his research, found the right fit.

“I chose ICDC College for a couple of reasons. First, ICDC College is in the top 15 percent of colleges that were named a ‘Military Friendly School,’ he said. “Secondly, after conducting my research, ICDC College was one of the few colleges to offer Homeland Security as a career choice. Finally, the staff was very thorough and knowledgeable on military tuition benefits and in helping me receive the initial financial aid I needed until my Post-9/11 GI Bill kicked in.”

Hughes chose to focus on something that built on his military experience. “I decided to go into Homeland Security because of my military background, and it is a career that I can easily transition to, given my military skills and training,” Hughes said. “Homeland Security is a cutting-edge career that is continually developing since 9/11. It was important to know that when I graduate, my associate’s degree can open doors to countless federal agencies that I can work in, including 22 agencies within the Department of Homeland Security alone. Also, graduating with a Homeland Security associate’s degree offers me opportunities to work with local municipalities in emergency and preparedness management.”

Hughes said that his classes have prepared him for his next step. “I have learned quite a lot in a short amount of time,” he said. “Every week, a new subject is presented; so it moves at a decent pace. We have learned strategies, investigation techniques, report writing, presidential directives, as well as emergency planning and preparedness. You really get a clear picture of what it takes to secure America in this day and age.”

Hughes has some advice for servicemembers and veterans. “I would recommend to everyone to start your education before you leave military service,” he said. “Today’s job market is tough. Competition is tough. As a qualified military servicemember who is eligible for benefits, the money is there for you to use, so use it. In my opinion, I waited too long and now I am out there busting my tail trying to get the right job to help me support a family of five. The construction industry took a dive, and I had no security blanket. So it’s imperative for everyone to know they should start their education sooner rather than later.”

ICDC and Hughes are a good match because of the school’s flexibility. “I can work at my pace,” Hughes said. “I have a business that I am trying to keep afloat; I am a husband and a father of three young boys, two of whom are very active in soccer and are both on travel teams. So work, my home life, soccer practice, and traveling to games all over North Georgia really influenced my decision to pursue an online education at ICDC College.”

ICDC College’s educational objective is to equip its students with the knowledge and skills required by companies and agencies within the business and medical industries, government, and the nonprofit sector. ICDC is a Yellow Ribbon and MyCAA Participant, and it has a dedicated Veterans Affairs office. In some cases, prospective military students may be able to transfer credit for prior military educational experience.

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers