Grant addresses veterans’ needs for college success, retention

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New coordinator will help vets navigate college life

Clark College Foundation received a grant from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington to hire a program coordinator for its Veterans Resource Center.

The $30,000 grant is designated to provide a part-time position for one year to manage support services and workshop training operations in an effort to increase retention and course completion for veterans returning to or attending college for the first time. Adding the position also allows other staff members to focus their efforts on outreach, counseling and fundraising.

For those degree-seeking veterans enrolled in the fall 2016 quarter at Clark College, 82 percent self-report as the first in their families to attend college and 67 percent say they are low income. There are 2016-11-vetsday-assembly-graphic650wmore than 500 veterans enrolled, according to Kelly Jones, Clark’s Veterans Resource Center manager.

Assisting veterans and their families as they navigate civilian and college life is a priority of the college.

“Helping veterans overcome educational barriers in order to be fully prepared for the civilian workforce is paramount at Clark College,” said Lisa Gibert, president/CEO, Clark College Foundation. “This grant allows us to put a person in place who will explore community resources, coordinate workshops, manage our financial literacy courses and support veterans’ families.

Jennifer Rhoads, president of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, said, “We are honored to support the work of local nonprofits through our annual grant programs. The Veterans Resource Center at Clark College is a perfect example, because it supports veterans who are striving to achieve their professional goals, build stable financial foundations and contribute their skills and leadership to our workforce.”

The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) opened on May 22, 2014, and represents a collaboration with the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, philanthropist Jane Hagelstein and other partners. The VRC is under the supervision of the director of Career Services who administers career development, mathematics and English preparation courses specifically for student veterans.

Clark College’s Career Services offers resources and strategies for choosing a college major and developing career plans, creating job search materials, finding internships and full-time jobs, and making successful career transitions for students and alumni.

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