JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Headquarters Marine Corps, with facility assistance from Headquarters & Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps Henderson Hall's Education and Career Center, hosted a two-day conference on Marine Corps voluntary education June 18-19. The conference was held in Bldg. 29, classroom 105, on the Henderson Hall portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

The two-day event was attended by 25 Marine education service officers from Marine Corps Base Camp S.D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan; Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan; Marine Corps Base Hawaii; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif.; Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, Calif.; Marine Corps Base Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Ariz.; Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.; Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.; Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, N.Y.; Marine Corps, New Orleans, La.; Marine Base Quantico, Va. and H&S Bn., HQMC Henderson Hall. This was the first time the annual meeting was held at Henderson Hall.

"The sole focus of the conference was training and information seminars that deal with virtually every topic concerning U.S. Marine Corps voluntary secondary education and the challenges of financing these academic and vocational/technical pursuits," said Henderson Hall Education and Career Specialist Bart MacMillan.

Representatives of various organizations gave presentations on educational services, including the Marine Corps Voluntary Education Program; Servicemembers Organizations Opportunity Colleges Marine Corps (SOCMAR); Veterans' Program American Council on Education/Joint Service Transcript; Marine Corps Career College Program (MCCCP) and the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) credentialing initiatives.

Tuition assistance and personal and professional development were also a focus of the conference.

"We wanted to look at each installation and compare what is successful ... discussing recommendations and positive outcomes from ESOs around the Marine Corps," added Henderson Hall's Personal and Professional Development Branch Manager Sam Bagwell.

A visit to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., June 19 was included as part of the conference training.

"We had training there with an awareness and outreach specialist about financial aid, including grants and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)," said Bagwell. "Since military education benefits may not cover the entire cost of getting a post-secondary education, FAFSA may help fill any gaps in funding through available benefits from the federal government, state and school-funded levels."

MacMillan said servicemembers have civilian resources for financial aid and benefits unique to the military available - a topic the ESOs discussed to ensure they were doing everything possible to help Marines with voluntary education needs and concerns.

"The purpose of the education and career center is dealing with academic and financial counseling for those pursuing college and the issue of financing education. This includes vocational and technical to graduate-level education," MacMillan said.

"We want to make sure as ESOs, we offer the best possible service we can to our Marines," added Bagwell. "There are a lot of options available and we want to ensure we counsel Marines to provide all the information that's available to them."

MacMillan said it was exciting and inspirational to have all the ESOs on the Henderson Hall portion of JBM-HH for the annual conference.

"I want Marines to know the greatest advocates they have on behalf of their education and their use of education benefits are the education service officers attending this training. Only positive results will come from this conference," said MacMillan.

For more information about the educational services offered at Henderson Hall, call 703-614-9104.