The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) recently awarded a two-year grant to Mt. Hood Community College to update the technology in the college’s Veterans Resource Center, increase outreach to local veterans, and establish a new course specifically
for student veterans
The funds for the $60,720 ODVA grant come from Oregon Senate Bill 143, which established a $1 million grant program in 2017 to augment existing veterans-oriented campus programs at Oregon community colleges and public universities. The goal of the
grant program is to support veterans during three important life stages and transitions:
- From military service to college life
- During college and the completion of a certificate or degree program
- From college to the workforce and community
Currently, there are 266 self-reported veterans enrolled at MHCC. The MHCC Veterans Resource Center (VRC) – located in Room AC1152 – services 67 percent of those students. The college also maintains a Veterans Cohort – the only program of its kind
in the Pacific Northwest – that is limited to current service members and veterans. Students in the cohort focus on completing core classes that fulfill the requirements for most academic programs.
“With the growth and development of our Veterans Cohort, we expect to foster a learning environment of camaraderie and social support that will enhance students’ connectedness, persistence and overall retention.”
Joshua Ray serves as coordinator of the VRC and the only staff member of MHCC’s Veteran Services office.
“I’m excited to offer additional services to our student veterans,” said Ray. “With the grant funding, we can further renovate our Veterans Resource Center and expand the supports we provide to the veterans who attend MHCC.”
At MHCC, the grant will fund:
- Hiring a temporary, part-time Outreach Specialist for the MHCC Veterans Services program
- Promoting the Veterans Cohort and creating a new cohort-specific course, titled "HD208: Career and Life Planning for Veterans”
- Updating the MHCC VRC, including adding a computer lab area and replacing outdated furniture
According to data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), full-time student veterans had a 76 percent retention rate for academic year 2014-15. Part-time student veterans had a 58 percent retention rate. With enhancements
to the Veterans Cohort, including the addition of a class focused on career decision-making, and to the physical space used by student veterans, MHCC anticipates increasing these retention rates.
"With the growth and development of our Veterans Cohort, we expect to foster a learning environment of camaraderie and social support that will enhance students’ connectedness, persistence and overall retention,” said Sydney Frost, MHCC’s dean of
Career Services, Disability Services, Human Development and Veteran Services.
The new Outreach Specialist role will focus largely on recruitment and outreach through a number of initiatives, including providing campus tours, tabling at job fairs, and organizing workshops for veterans. The Outreach Specialist will also seek
out speakers and professional development opportunities aimed at training MHCC staff and faculty in better serving our military-connected students.
Learn about MHCC’s Veteran Services program by visiting mhcc.edu/VeteranServices