North Hollywood, California
Distance education made it possible to earn a degree while rehabilitating from a combat injury
Omar Haughton, a U.S. Army veteran who sustained and overcame a serious injury while deployed in Afghanistan, earned his A.S. degree in Criminal Justice from Penn Foster College. Omar now works with individuals with mild intellectual disabilities who have been incarcerated, teaching them to adapt and reintegrate into their communities.
Haughton is an Army veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. During a nearly two-year rehabilitation process, he discovered Penn Foster College and its Criminal Justice program. He used his Veteran's Administration benefits to begin online classes and earned his degree in Criminal Justice in May 2016. Shortly after graduating, Haughton got a job with Passport to Learning, where he works in the organization's Judicially Involved Support Services (JISS) division as a Forensic Adaptive Living Skills Instructor. He combines his criminal justice knowledge with his personal experience to work with individuals with mild intellectual disabilities who have recently been released from jail.
Haughton's military career began when he enlisted in the California Army National Guard in 2009, where, concurrent with his Guard service, he spent three years with a vertical construction company in Oxnard, CA. While still in the Guard, Haughton deployed to Afghanistan with a Northern California Bridge unit. While overseas, he served as a 50cal gunner, and in July 2012, was badly injured in combat by an IED, which caused a traumatic brain injury. He spent the remainder of 2012 and all of 2013 recuperating from his injuries. He returned to his original Guard unit in Oxnard in 2014, and joined the Army Reserve in late 2015. He will officially be separated from the military as an E-5 Sergeant.
"Attending Penn Foster was a win-win for me. I was able to work on assignments when I could fit them in. As a busy dad providing for my family, the classes were a perfect fit for my schedule. I always found time to get my work done."
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