The American Council on Exercise (ACE) launched a new program to give thousands of men and women leaving the U.S. Armed Forces the opportunity to continue to serve their nation in an important new way. The ACE Salute You Scholarship will prepare honorably discharged military personnel to start an all-new career as an ACE-certified personal trainer, a respected designation in a rapidly growing field.

Free of charge to candidates selected, ACE will provide study materials, registration for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam, and one-on-one study assistance. The organization is committing 1,000 such scholarships in 2013 alone, a near $1 million value in product and in-kind service and support. ACE is pursuing partners to help increase that commitment in 2014 and beyond.

More than two-thirds of U.S. veterans consider finding a job the greatest challenge in transitioning to civilian life, and their frustrations are well documented. Unemployment among veterans aged 18-24 is a staggering 17.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Salute You Scholarship is aimed at alleviating that battle among the 300,000 service members expected to cycle out of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard in the next five years. Eligible scholarship recipients will be those servicemen and women who have been discharged within six months of their application date.

"This is our way of honoring and helping those men and women who've served our nation so courageously," said ACE President and CEO Scott Goudeseune. "We are providing new veterans with a no-cost opportunity to place themselves on a promising career path in a growing industry. It's a career path that makes perfect sense for them because of their prevailing sense of duty and natural inclination to serve. The respect they command, and the courage they exhibit, will prove invaluable as our industry marches more directly into accountability in the fight against the obesity epidemic. ACE wants to help far more people forge and live their most fit lives, and these young heroes will help us to do that."

Applications for the scholarship will be accepted online at beginning June 20.

"For our men and women in the armed forces, health and fitness is already a big part of their lives, so it makes a lot of sense to provide our returning veterans with opportunities to pursue careers in fitness training and instruction," said Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52), a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "With the surge of veterans currently transitioning back into the civilian work force, I applaud the work of organizations like ACE for helping our veterans put their skills to use in a way that supports their futures."

ACE has committed to eliminating the obesity epidemic by 2035. The crisis has put a strain on health care and private companies, which have faced rising costs as well as lower productivity due to employees who are struggling with obesity-related illness.

In an effort to fund more Salute You scholarships well past this year, ACE is looking for corporate sponsors. For more information on joining the effort, contact Vice President of Business Development Victoria Kreutzkamp at or (858) 576-6573.