Western Nevada College has partnered with Truckee Meadows Community College to reach veterans who arenâ€™t enrolled in a college and are unsure or unprepared to pursue a higher education.
Through the Veterans Upward Bound program, qualified veterans, regardless of period served, can receive college support services such as free classes to brush up on their English and Math skills, academic advising, help in applying for Veterans Administration education benefits and financial aid, enrollment application assistance, and free placement testing.
Since 1989, a grant through the U.S. Department of Education, Federal TRIO Programs has funded the TMCC Veterans Upward Bound program.
â€œIt dovetails nicely. The Upward Bound program targets low income or first-generation student veterans who havenâ€™t used their GI Bill benefits,â€ said Kevin Burns, supervisor of the WNCâ€™s Veterans Resource Center and a retired Marine Corps officer.
â€œWe want to get in touch with Northern Nevada veterans to work with them so they have the skills and tools that will help them achieve a college degree and make them employable.â€
Robert Hernandez, director of the Veterans Upward Bound program at TMCC, said that through outreach efforts they are able to identify and help veterans pursue a college degree.
â€œWe work closely with veterans organizations and veterans service providers,â€ Hernandez said. â€œWe reach out to them to provide information at different events, distribute brochures, get the word out through the media, and there are referrals to us in the community.
â€œMany of them are looking to enter college and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to identify them and prepare them for success.â€
Hernandez said the next goal is to reach veterans living in outlying areas.
Last year, WNC took a lead role in Northern Nevada in helping veterans utilize their education resources by creating a Veterans Resource Center on its Carson City campus.
Burns said the key for a majority of veterans uncertain about resuming their education is core subjects like English and mathematics.
â€œWe want to raise their skill levels in math and English so they donâ€™t have to take remedial classes. Itâ€™s what we need to work on to get them ready for college,â€ Burns said. The summer is an ideal time for veterans to become reacquainted with academics and to develop a plan for the future, he added.
â€œMany vets have separated from the service in the last couple of months, so there is a chance during the summer to get them ready academically to get into classes and make a smooth transition,â€ Burns said.
Transitioning becomes paramount to veterans after they return from their military commitments.
â€œThey must transition from the military world to the civilian world, the most structured life to the least-structured lifestyle,â€ Burns said. â€œThen they must transition from civilian life to the academic world. English skills, math skills, what college classes are like, course workloads, how to plan out a week so they can get all of their work done, and the art of not procrastinating are all things we help them with.â€
Veterans Upward Bound representatives are at WNC on Thursday mornings to assist veterans, according to Burns. Veterans can call him at the Veterans Resource Center in Carson City at 775-445-3301 to set up an appointment, or contact the Reno office at 775-829-9007.