Every November, the Bragg Training and Education Center hosts an Education Fair for the Fort Bragg community. The center will hold this year’s Education Fair on Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Iron Mike Conference Center.
The purpose of the fair is to provide Soldiers, Families and Fort Bragg civilians with an opportunity to meet with schools that aren’t usually available on post, said Byron Johnston, chief of counseling, BTEC. By providing access to representatives of over 70 schools, attendees can get more information on different avenues to continue their education.
In addition to representatives from schools like North Carolina State University, Sandhills Community College and East Carolina University, the fair will also give the community a chance to meet with other agencies that can assist them in their pursuit of higher education. Johnston said organizations such as Green to Gold and financial and veterans aid programs will be on hand to help Soldiers with some of the details that come with additional schooling.
The fair allows attendees to put a face to a school they are interested in attending and compare multiple schools to see what each has to offer that would best benefit them, said Cynthia Swain, education counselor, BTEC.
“Recruiters for the schools can provide generic information on everything including cost, the likelihood of financial aid, the application process and degree distribution,” said Swain. She said that schools won’t be able to provide extremely detailed information, but the information provided will allow attendees to narrow the list of schools that require further review.
Johnston emphasized the importance of having a direction before coming to the fair.
“There will be such a diverse crowd of schools here, anything from culinary schools to vocational-type schools, that they probably need to have an idea of where they want to proceed with their education,” he said. “If not, they’ll just get overwhelmed.”
The fair offers such a broad spectrum of schools because BTEC realizes that the traditional four-year college degree isn’t the only option available for higher education, said Johnston. He encourages members of the military and veterans to learn about the financial aid options available for service members during the fair as well.
Another benefit of the Education Fair is its location, said Johnston. He said there are many Soldiers at Fort Bragg who are transitioning out of the military, so the fair’s location on post is a convenient way for them to look at potential schools they may attend down the road.
Both Swain and Johnston agreed that the fair is just a good place for people to come, hammer out a plan and figure out the best route for them in their future education plans. If someone cannot attend the fair but is interested in information from the schools, they can contact the counseling center at 396-6721 or 908-0927. Johnston said they will have a list of contacts and marketing materials from all schools that participated.