MERCED — Merced College will join the ranks of more than 250 community colleges across the nation to support educational opportunities for veterans, according to an announcement Tuesday.
The college showed its support by signing onto a White House initiative that helps veterans pay for and complete college degrees, certificates or licenses in preparation for jobs in high-growth sectors of the economy.
Ron Taylor, president of Merced College, signed the Obama Administration's "8 Keys to Success" agreement recently, which he said will focus the college's efforts to help veterans.
"We are committed to helping our veterans successfully complete their studies at Merced College," Taylor said in a news release. "Our Veterans Resource Center has expanded to provide additional support for veterans, including personal counseling."
In addition to counseling services, the Veterans Resource Center offers computers, a resource library and weekly visits from Veterans Administration representatives, according to college officials.
Terina "Tee" Davis, certifying official with Merced College's Veterans Resource Center, said the program will provide services and resources to veterans in a safe environment.
"A lot of the veterans that come in here feel more relaxed as soon as they walk through the door," Davis said. "As long as we can listen to them, that puts them at ease. It makes the veterans feel like we know what they're going through."
During the 2012-13 school year, Davis said, about 300 veterans used their G.I. bill education benefits to study at Merced College, but there might be more service members who attend the college.
A few other components of the "8 Keys to Success" agreement include providing consistent support from campus leadership, creating a culture of trust, and training faculty and staff in ways to address challenges unique to veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Merced College's Veterans Resource Center is in the Student Union Building and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
For more information on veterans services at Merced College, call the Veterans Resource Center at (209) 384-6113, or visit www.mccd.edu/services/guidance/veterans.html.
Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.