Hundreds of educators from around the state will gather November 8-9 for the Virginia Military and Veteran Education Summit at the Hampton Roads Convention Center to better understand the unique higher educational needs of student veterans and how best to serve them.
Virginia’s veteran population is the 5th largest population in the nation. For many of them, Virginia’s 23 community colleges are considered an attractive and affordable educational option. Military-related students already constitute 15 percent of our enrollment numbers.
Caleb Stinchcomb, a 26-year old Radford native and Air Force veteran, plans to transfer to ODU once he earns his associate degree in applied science next year from Virginia Western Community College. He currently works at the student military center at VWCC where he enjoys mingling with his former comrades-in-arms.
“Once you start trading war stories, you find a new brotherhood and start making new friendships,” he said.
Stinchcomb says transitioning out of the military and into civilian life has been difficult at times. But he adds, the folks at VWCC have made things a lot easier.
“The faculty here is really focused on helping you as a student,” he noted. “They understand that community college students are not your traditional students; we have things that go on outside of the school and they’re willing to work with you.”
Virginia’s Community Colleges have already put a number of mechanisms in place to help veterans overcome some of the obstacles they encounter when they re-enter civilian life. One of those – the Credit2Careers website – evaluates veterans’ military experience for college credits and lets them see how they apply to VCCS programs that support their career goals.
Credits2Careers, which was launched almost one year ago, has already logged nearly 115-thousand users.
Featured image: Air Force veteran Caleb Stinchcomb with VWCC Instructor Dan Horine who is himself an army veteran
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