San Jacinto College students participate in veterans history project
Several programs have been started by San Jacinto College to encourage student interaction with veterans.
Two service opportunities were created within the past year: a veteran’s oral history project involving video interviews of veterans and a Backpacks for Veterans program, which provided care items to veterans in need. The oral history project allowed veterans to share their stories with the community and students they came in contact with.
A group of SJC staff and students were recently able to visit a facility that houses homeless veterans, De George at Union Station in Houston. Veterans joined the students and staff for a game of bingo or some light refreshments. According to the press release, Jessica Molinar, a SJC student, said: “It’s important that our veterans feel appreciated. I wanted to give something back, even just some of my time, since they’ve given so much for us.”
Mark Norwood, an Air Force veteran, was able to participate in the oral history interviews and shared some favorite memories from his days as a young enlisted airman. After serving, he received a degree in petroleum technology and later another degree in computer-aided drafting. While working to repair a roof that had been damaged by Hurricane Ike, Norwood suffered a fall that resulted in a broken back. Because of this situation, he became homeless for a period of six months. The veteran’s facility, De George, was able to provide assistance to help him get back on his feet. Norwood hopes to further his education in the future.
San Jacinto College offers many opportunities for veterans looking to revisit the academic setting or transition back into the working population. There were 1,250 new student veterans who were able to enroll in SJC last year. The Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success are available at three SJC campuses to ensure progress for veterans receiving education. The Centers were funded by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education given by the U.S. Department of Education and assist veterans with financial aid, enrollment, veteran affairs information, among other needs.
The San Jacinto College Veterans Workforce Development Project, another initiative that will receive help from a grant, provides as many as 50 veteran scholarships. The scholarships do not exceed $2,100 and can be applied toward credit, noncredit or certificate programs in areas with good employment rates.
SJC was named a military friendly school last October by G.I. Jobs magazine and offers veterans up to 17 credit hours for military training.
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