New program to help transition from military to civilian life

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September 22, 2015
When Dale Pearce retired from the military 23 years ago, he recalls walking through the gates of CFB Halifax for the last time and wondering what he would do next
“There was no elation, only fear of the unknown. I woke the next morning and looked at my wife and said to her, ‘What do I do today?’ Before I had purpose and an identity – I was Petty Officer Pearce. Now nothing,” says Pearce. 

When Lakeland College was looking for new programming ideas earlier this year, Pearce suggested creating a program to help military members and their families transition to civilian life. When he presented the concept to officials at Camp Wainwright and CFB Cold Lake in the spring, the response was very positive.

“There are programs out there to help members as they move to a civilian workforce, and even though there are some programs that will have some similarity in content to our new program, they do not close the gap. What we’re providing are the soft transitional skills that will help people adjust to civilian life,” says Pearce, an accessibility advisor in The Learning Commons at Lakeland College. He along with Lakeland employees Janice Aughey, Kelly Mazerolle, Angela Wilm and Melissa Rothwell developed seven modules for the program.

Lakeland is now piloting The Way Forward – Transitional Life Skills for Military Members and their Families. The program is an online resource that is free to members, spouses and dependents. Students complete modules on communication, organization, goals, transition challenges, emotions, mental health and resources. There’s no limit to the number of times a student can access the content online through Desire2Learn, the learning management system Lakeland uses.  

“Right now we’re offering the program to military in Cold Lake, Wainwright and Edmonton. We’ll evaluate and modify the content as needed and our plan is to make the online resource available to military throughout Western Canada and eventually throughout Canada,” says Pearce. 

Thanks to a $2,500 donation on Monday from the Field Marshal Alexander Branch No. 11 of the Royal Canadian Legion located in Vermilion, The Way Forward will soon be translated into French. “We really appreciate the Legion providing us with this extremely helpful donation to aid in the success of the program,” says Pearce.

People interested in learning more about The Way Forward may contact Dale Pearce at 780 853 8438 or email

Photo: Marcel Lefebvre (right), poppy chairman for Field Marshal Alexander Branch No. 11 of the Royal Canadian Legion located in Vermilion, presented $2,500 from the poppy campaign to Dale Pearce of Lakeland College for The Way Forward, a new online program offered by Lakeland to help military members and their families transition from military to civilian life

September 22, 2015