San Jacinto College receives funding as part of governor’s
comprehensive veterans initiative
PASADENA, Texas – Last month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed Senate Bill 1736, which establishes the College Credit for Heroes program, an initiative supported by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to help veteran students earn college credit for their experience, education, and training obtained during military service. San Jacinto College (SJC) is one of seven community colleges in the state to receive funding for participation in the governor’s comprehensive veterans initiative.
Each of the seven participating institutions will address different aspects of the credit, training, and transfer issues that military personnel and veterans face throughout the state of Texas. San Jacinto College’s main goal in this initiative is to collect and analyze data from all 50 community colleges in the state, as well as the Lamar State College System and the Texas State Technical College System, to determine a precise and comprehensive approach to effectively serve veterans who wish to enter an allied health field after military service. SJC will receive nearly $212,000 of the $3 million funded by the TWC to coordinate research on allied health training programs at Texas community colleges, as well as to host a state-wide summit next spring to discuss research findings.
Amy Ammerman, dean of enrollment services at the SJC North campus, is heading up the College’s participation. “This research project will result in a thorough report on allied health offerings at community colleges across the state, which will help us to understand what barriers may exist for veteran students as they enter higher education or the workforce,” said Ammerman. “We are grateful to the Texas Workforce Commission for considering our proposal for funding, and appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and Sen. Van de Putte, who authored the bill. We look forward to working with the other institutions involved with this initiative.”
The College Credit for Heroes program is essentially a statewide effort to understand and improve the articulation of military training and college credit for all Texas military personnel, including active duty, veterans, and retired members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009 (the most recent data available) nearly 35 percent of veterans had completed some college, compared to about 25 percent of non-veterans, while there was a significant increase in the percentage of veterans with a bachelor’s degree between 2000 and 2009. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs projects that Texas will have more than 1.6 million veterans come September of this year, making this initiative an important step in helping veterans return to college.
“Service men and women are highly skilled, experienced individuals who have a tremendous amount to offer their communities when they return home after serving their country,” added TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “College Credit for Heroes will ultimately give our returning veterans faster employment opportunities and help fill the workforce needs in Texas.”
Other institutions participating in the governor’s comprehensive veterans initiative are Alamo Community College District, Central Texas College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College District, and Temple College. A check presentation with San Jacinto College and the Texas Workforce Commission is being planned for later this summer.
Last Fall, San Jacinto College received a $400,000 Department of Education grant to create a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success on each of the College’s three campuses. With an influx of about 200 additional veteran students each year, these centers will provide student veterans with one single source for all of their enrollment, financial aid, Veterans Affairs, and educational planning needs, while also connecting them to other services such as disability and counseling.