Your Home Base: NICC Assists Veterans in Transition to Civilian Success

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Whether you served in the U.S. military overseas or at home, your G.I. Bill benefits can take you places at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) – the home base where you can build upon your military training, experience and talents to form your next career move.

When returning from active duty in the armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other regions, many veterans find NICC is the right environment for successful re-integration to civilian life. NICC student veterans like Glenn Wolcott view NICC as the most affordable option and supportive environment to train for the next phase of their careers.

Wolcott’s service in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013 focused on horizontal construction, building roads in the two war-torn nations. Wolcott now lives in West Union is focused on completing an Associate of Applied Science-Computer Technology degree. The College’s environment is welcoming toward veterans, offers support groups to build friendships among service members and brings vets into contact with others who have served.

“The uniform makes a small world; it’s amazing how many people you cross paths with who have served in the military,” Wolcott said. “I love it when I come across veterans on campus. In at least two of my classes at NICC, I know someone who is in the service or is currently serving.”

The Vet2Vet Peer Mentoring Program at the Calmar campus offers one-on-one support for veterans, and Wolcott continually spreads the word to other students.

“If I find someone who has never heard of Vet2Vet, I refer the student veteran to the organization to meet Chuck Olliney and Robert Zamora,” two of the group’s student leaders who served in the Vietnam War. “Vet2Vet is an outlet for students who have served. If the group cannot help you, they will direct you to someone who can.”

Student Veterans Association (SVA) chapters at the NICC Calmar and Peosta campuses offer additional resources for vets as they adjust to campus life – everything from study skills and note taking tips to deciphering the huge stack of paperwork associated with the G.I. Bill.

Jacob Krapfl, an NICC 2008 Education graduate and Peosta campus communication instructor, served in the Iraq War and understands the complexities of Veterans Administration red tape and paperwork that awaits service members when they return to the U.S. When processing the huge stack of forms, student veterans should keep several points in mind.

“Student veterans need to remember three major things when completing this paperwork: preparation, organization and follow-through. I have some great advice for students when they are working on these forms,” Krapfl said (See information on this page).

In addition to services at NICC campuses and centers, the State of Iowa created the Home Base Iowa Act in 2014 to provide resources for veterans. Available online at www.homebaseiowa.org, the site offers “Deployment to Employment” comprehensive job services including new career path ideas, an employer database to send résumés and networking opportunities to connect with employers throughout Iowa.

NICC recognizes and honors veterans for their commitment and service to our nation, and the College offers many support services and additional financial aid, so that all student veterans succeed in their journey home.

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