On Aug. 10, the Governor’s Office announced that Jackson State Community College was one of 11 recipients of a Veterans Reconnect Grant. The grant is an extension of the Drive to 55 initiative to increase degree and certificate completions in the state and create a more qualified workforce that will attract manufacturing and boost local economies.
The grant was created in the Governor’s FY 2015-2016 budget amendment. The General Assembly approved $1 million to be used for the Veterans Reconnect Grant. Up to $100,000 could be awarded to any one institution. Jackson State was awarded $94,151.
Veterans Affairs Coordinator Kristine Nakutis began the application process for the grant in June of this year. In the grant proposal, the goals established were to create a veteran outreach program, an on-campus veteran’s student center, transition programs to improve graduation rates, and a veteran’s student task force.
One specific goal of the grant is to create an on-campus veteran’s student center. “[the student center] will allow older veterans who have served 10, 15, or 20 years to connect with the younger soldiers who are still serving in the Guard and the Reserve,” states Nakutis. “This will help give them a sense of belonging like they had in their military units and allow them to better focus on their education.”
In addition to the student center, the veteran’s student task force will be a cross-functional team with an emphasis on supporting veteran students through recruitment, admissions, registration, academics, and completion. The goal of the team will be to identify opportunities as well as potential issues and to develop best practices in working specifically with veterans throughout the college experience.
Ultimately, the goal is to connect with veterans the best way possible and stay connected throughout their college experience and beyond. Nakutis sees the grant as a great opportunity for Jackson State to provide increased support for veteran academic achievement. Anyone interested in opportunities available to veterans at JSCC can reach Kristine Nakutis at (731) 425-2618 or email@example.com.