College committed to helping veterans make successful transition

Transitioning from military to civilian life poses many challenges. Because of their service to our country, Jackson College is proud to help today’s student veterans make that transition.

“When you enter military service, your whole paradigm changes. Everything is geared toward military life, your unit and camaraderie. It’s different than being a civilian. You belong to a big team,” said Randall Locke, veterans resource representative. “In the military, everything is very structured; once you’re out, very little of that exists. You have to create your own future.”

Jackson College’s Veterans Resource Center helps student veterans create their futures. They may receive guidance with their GI Bill education benefits while enjoying space where they can connect with others. The College enrolls about 140 student veterans each year.

Making a new connection

Marine James Rice served eight years in the military. From his home station at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Rice served in Okinawa, Japan, and several points in the Middle East. He misses the sense of belonging in the Marine Corps but has found a place to connect at Jackson College. “The vet center here helped a lot. I had a place to go and study and be with other vets like myself.”veterans center

Helping hands

Helping veterans like Rice throughout their Jackson College experience is important to Locke, who serves as a student success navigator to veterans. “We’re a resource center. If a veteran or family member comes in with a situation or issue, we will start digging for things to help them resolve the issue,” Locke said.

Renewed responsibilities involving family, spouse, children, employment, and any physical, mental or emotional injuries may compound a difficult transition. The College maintains a close contact with the VA, and a VA health care representative visits once a month. Veterans may also connect with Buddy to Buddy veterans resource network of Michigan. Buddy to Buddy can connect veterans with others within the network who may be able to help them resolve a problem.

The Student Veterans of America group welcomes all student veterans and family members. Group members meet regularly and plan activities. Upcoming activities includes service projects with the Humane Society and outreach to veterans posts.

The Veterans Resource Center is located in Bert Walker Hall on Central Campus. Veterans may stop in during business hours to learn more.