Cleland is the Manager of Research and Policy for the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute where he specializes in employment transition as well as collective impact in the military/veteran space. Prior to joining the Military Service Initiative, Cleland was the Director of Innovation and Operations for the Community Engagement & Innovation team at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF). He developed and managed initiatives in support of establishing, executing, and maintaining oversight of collective impact projects under the technical oversight of the Community Engagement team (AmericaServes).
Cleland was an Infantry Machine Gunner (0331) assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, Fox Company, and was retired from the United States Marine Corps in July 2008 due to injuries sustained while fighting in the surrounding towns of Fallujah, Iraq. Upon retirement, Cleland returned home to pursue his education at Syracuse University. He currently resides in his hometown of Camillus, NY with his wife Kimberly, son Colton, daughter Charlotte, and dogs Benelli and Nova. He holds a B.A. in Policy Studies (Public Affairs) with a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Creative Collaboration and Conflict Resolution.
Related Articles and Resources
Transition From Military-to-Civilian Life With a Plan
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This article is part of a set of policy recommendations the George W. Bush Institute is rolling out this week on growing the American workforce.
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The Bush Institute's Veteran Nonprofit Guide
The Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative has created a Veteran Nonprofit Guide to equip veterans with the proper questions to ask a service provider in order to receive the highest quality of care.
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As servicemen and women leave the military, the extremely varied skills they bring the workforce are a boon to employers and the economy.
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Eight Years Later: The Successes of the Post-9/11 GI Bill
Thursday, June 30, marks the eighth anniversary of President George W. Bush signing the Post-9/11 GI Bill into law. The bill, which increased the education benefits for service members and veterans, has been one of the most successful and life-changing pieces of legislation for our post-9/11 veteran population since WW II. For me, the bill is singularly responsible for my career path and catapulting me from a commercial truck driver in Syracuse, New York to serving as a Manager of Research and Policy at the George W. Bush Institute. As a transitioning Corporal in the Marine Corps infantry with few job offers, I quickly realized the role education would play in my transition. Despite possessing skills that some employers were seeking, I only received job offers for careers that did not interest me. A few weeks into medical retirement, I made the pivotal decision to enroll in my local community college and begin the long road to a B.A. in Policy Studie