For veterans who return to school to pursue new careers, Veterans Services at Salt Lake Community College can help steer these individuals down a path for success.
Staff and personnel at Veterans Services assist veterans with the application process for registering for college.
“When students first come in, we ask if they have used benefits at other schools. If they have not, then have they applied for benefits? If not, then we will assist them to complete the application for VA benefits,” said Darlene S. Head, Manager of Veterans Services.
Every veteran that walks into Veteran Services gets a “one-on-one” orientation. Dependents of veterans can use these services as well. The one-on-one sessions ensure veterans get access to all pertinent information while also being able to comfortably ask questions.
“Sometimes in a group setting people aren’t willing to open up and ask questions. The biggest thing I want them to know is that we care and that they are important here,” said Head.
The individual orientations help reinforce the feeling of being important and that these veterans matter. Veterans Services also teach students how to run a degree evaluation. This way, the student knows what classes are required for his or her degree and ensures they are not registering for classes that do not count toward a given degree.
Mike Foster, a Veterans Services employee stationed at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, assists students to help make sure they are headed in the right direction. Foster is available to talk about majors and offer any guidance on the benefit side of the VA. Two other counselors make up the support team of the department. Counselors are on site at each SLCC campus on scheduled days to ensure veterans at each campus have the opportunity to meet with a Veterans Services employee.
“We are one of the few schools in the nation to have both the Vet Success and the Vital Program housed on our campus. We were a pilot school for both Vet Success in the early days and now for the Vital Program,” said Head.
What veterans may not know is that the Vet Success program pays for a student’s cap, gown and also an honor cord for graduation, followed by dinner for two.
SLCC has won two national awards for outstanding service for veterans going back to school. The first award was given back in 2010. Head received an award for innovation for creating the Veterans Services program at SLCC.
The program provides counseling in addition to helping with school. This makes counseling services more accessible to SLCC veterans and is a useful alternative to the counseling services provided by the VA. Services are provided by certified counselors and veterans can be seen on a walk-in basis as well.
For more on how Veterans Services can work for you or a fellow classmate, visit a Veterans Services office or email Darlene Head at Darlene.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (801) 957-4987.