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New Veterans Center Aids Eastern Florida Students
January 29, 2014 - For Jason Goodman, it means a place where veterans "can get the help that we need" to learn new careers.
For Rob Ganoe, it means an opportunity for veterans to "find enrichment and complete our education."
For hundreds of other men and women who have served in the armed forces, it means all that and more.
The subject of their admiration is the new Veterans Center at Eastern Florida State College, which held an open house Wednesday to mark its role in providing more services to meet veteran’s educational and personal needs.
The goal is to better assist veterans make the transition from military to civilian life at a time when more are returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and enrolling at the college.
Eastern Florida currently has about 875 veterans taking classes on its Titusville, Cocoa, Melbourne and Palm Bay campuses.
Those attending heard College President Dr. Jim Richey laud veterans for their courage and sacrifice, saying the “leadership, teamwork and dedication to mission success that veterans have so admirably shown in uniform” can form the basis of a successful career.
He also said while student veterans have long been a priority at Eastern Florida, the college opened the Veterans Center on Jan. 13 because “we need to do more.”
To that end, Richey said the center will focus on these key areas:
• Providing assistance to make it easier for veterans to sign up for educational benefits through the GI Bill.
• Monthly visits from representatives of the VA to help veterans on a wide range of issues.
• Training faculty and staff on the special assistance that veterans may need inside and outside the classroom.
• A computer work area where veterans can get help accessing information on their VA benefits.
• Mentoring and tutoring programs for veterans through local veteran and community organizations.
• A new student orientation program tailored just for veterans.
• Increasing outreach to veterans through the college’s EFSCares student counseling program.
• Making regular visits to Patrick Air Force Base and the Naval Ordinance Test Unit and Coast Guard Station at Port Canaveral to provide active duty personnel with information about educational opportunities at the college.
“I would like every veteran at the college and throughout our community to always remember this,” said Richey.
“All of us at Eastern Florida are committed to doing everything we can to help you succeed in the classroom and civilian life, and are indebted to you in ways that cannot be adequately expressed.”
Veterans who thanked the college for the center included Goodman and Ganoe, who are the president and secretary, respectively, of Eastern Florida State College’s Collegiate Veterans Society.
"The college has answered the call with this center, said Ganoe. "This will help veterans transition to civilian life."