COLLEGE STATION, Tx (KYLE) — After two combat missions in Iraq, Upurva Naik knows just how difficult it is to return back to civilian life.
"There's just a lot of transitional differences in that and just the difference of going from the battlefield to the work place," Naik said. "It's a stark difference."
Wanting to expand off his skills as an air intercept controller, Naik wanted to get his air traffic controller certificate but even after seven years of experience under his belt in the Navy, he only received about four credit hours out of the 150 needed.
"Unfortunately this is the reality for a lot of our veterans coming back," said Naik.
In 2011, the Texas Workforce Commission launched the College Credit for Heroes initiative; a program giving veterans' college credit hours for their knowledge and skills learned during their service.
"On average we're seeing about 25 credit hours or about a year worth of college recommended through the College Credit for Heroes Web portal," said Naik, who is also the project manager for College Credit for Heroes.
Already nearly 20,000 veterans have created accounts through College Credit Heroes and nearly 2,500 have completed requests for transcripts.
Tuesday the Texas A&M System announced all 13 of their universities are joining the program.
"They had two year colleges participating but not that many four year universities so we decided we'd help move that forward and that's what we were announcing today and we hope a lot of other four years will join the program because it's really going to help veterans in a big way," said Director of A&M's Veterans Support Office, Rod Davis.
Naik says it's a milestone for the program, "It really takes a leader sort of a catalyst for change to make something like this happen and expand the project and the Texas A&M system is doing that."
Over the next ten years one million veterans will transition out of the service and back to civilian life.