Help for Veterans Seeking Higher Education or Technical Training
West Virginia’s Concord University offers a program to veterans that helps them continue their education once they’ve been discharged from the service. The program is called Veterans Upward Bound and director Katrina Matney is coming to Highland County on September 4 to talk with any veterans in the Allegheny Mountain Radio listening area who may be interested in pursuing additional education or technical training. I spoke with Katrina recently to get a better understanding about the program and what it offers veterans.
Concord Veterans Upward Bound is a federally funded TRIO program, and it’s funded through the U.S. Department of Education. Basically, we’ve realized there’s a need with veterans. Once they go into the service, some usually go right out of high school, so when they’re coming back, they have that gap in time where they re-enroll. They’re learning a totally different system, they’re readjusting to life and they have a lot of barriers that they may face. So the Veterans Upward Bound program was created to help veterans navigate higher education and bridge that gap between being out of school for so many years and going back into higher education.
What services do you offer through the program?
Well, one of the biggest things is refresher classes. Anyone that’s been out of school for any number of time, you’re going to lose some of those skills. They’re not going to be as fresh in your memory. So making that change from non-academic life to an academic life can be a challenge. So one of the things we offer is refresher courses in math and science and English to help prepare for re-entry into college or a technical program. Another barrier they may face is just not knowing how to navigate financial, aid applying to colleges and things like that. Your average high school senior, they have school counselors and things like that to help them with it. But often veterans don’t really know where to turn and how to get started.
Are the services of the Veterans Upward Bound program delivered online or in person?
We have several courses that are available online. Some are self-guided, some are instructor-guided, but we can also set up in-person classes in a location convenient for the participants. We help them prepare for any testing that they may need. We help them look over any transcripts they may have to see anything that may carry over, because often the veterans have an opportunity while they’re in the service to take classes and a lot of times those classes and skills will transfer into college credit. We offer lots of personalized career counseling and personalized counseling for each individual. We have interest inventories that we can administer, learning styles inventories to help you see where your interests may lay, and how to get from “okay, I’m really good in engineering and technology. Now how do I get a job or a degree in that?” We can help them go to any school they would like to go to, any kind of community college, vocational program, university. We’re just here to help them with that process, find their best fit and kind of navigate that process for them.
You’re coming to Highland County on Wednesday, September 4. Who would you like to have attend your event?
Anyone in the listening area is invited to the Highland County Public Library from 10:00 a.m. to noon for a meet and greet with the Veterans Upward Bound program. If you’ve concluded your service in the armed forces in good standing and either receive a modest income and/or neither of your parents have attained a bachelor’s degree and you have the desire to improve your life through higher education, then you’re eligible to receive the benefits of our Veterans Upward Bound program. One thing I do want to mention: once a participant applies to our program and they’re eligible, everything we do for them is 100% free and we try to offer it as close to the individual as possible.
So there you have it. If you’re a veteran in good standing and you’d like to pursue additional education, whether it be technical training or college-oriented, then Katrina Matney would like to meet you at the Highland County Public Library on Wednesday, September 4, between 10:00 a.m. and noon. She’d like to talk to you about the many services provided at no charge through the Veterans Upward Bound program.
This is Mickey Frank Thomas for Allegheny mountain radio.