College offers help for veterans
By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Leaving military service and starting a new career in civilian life can be a challenge, especially if a soldier wishes to pursue a higher education.
To help with the transition, Indian River State College has created a Veterans Business Institute to address some of the cultural differences between military life and college life.
"This is our first effort to bring together people who think alike and that have been in similar situations," said Steve Payne, dean of the veterans department at IRSC, during one of the information sessions about the new institute.
One of the ways the institute will work with veterans is by offering small classes with an extra touch.
"The instructors have been trained to work with veterans to be successful," said Julie Clark with the career development program at IRSC.
"We will also be offering classes in a three-step format: a certificate program, an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree."
Another important aspect of the program is veterans will take classes together as a group.
"This will help to build the camaraderie among fellow veterans," said Ms. Clark. "They will go through the program together and be able to support each other."
Ruby Jefferson, one of the veterans' advisors, was also available to explain the maze of education benefits that veterans have earned since Sept. 11.
"This is another way for us to salute their service," Ms. Jefferson said. "We can help them understand all their benefits they have earned and what the new GI bill means."
The next information session about the Veterans Business Institute will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 in room V-110 of the IRSC main campus, 3209 Virginia Ave. in Fort Pierce.
For more information about the program, contact Ms. Clark at (772) 462-7685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.