Humboldt State University the Gold Standard for Vets


August 14, 2008 – On Aug. 28, Humboldt State University will make history with a new veteran’s program that is sure to become a national model for providing educational opportunities.

The opening ceremonies for Humboldt State University’s new Veterans Enrollment and Transitional Services (VETS) program will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the Kate Buchanan Room, and the community is invited to attend. We especially would like to see veterans and their families attending because the program offers them so much valuable assistance.

Some may remember the recently deceased veterans Upward Bound Program which was the only program in the CSU system that offered veterans help in making the transition from military to civilian life, and also helped them with their continued studies. The loss of that program was a real blow to the veteran community.

The good news is that Kim Hall, a longtime local veterans advocate and founder of our North Coast Stand Down for veterans, has worked closely with HSU officials since that loss and they have come up with a great program that will provide a comprehensive information system for all veterans.

To make matters even better, there are other plans in the works right now, like the Troops to College Initiative that was mandated by Governor Schwarzenegger recently. Chancellor Charles Reed, in partnership with the plan, has helped identify five areas to assist California’s State College systems in achieving a military-friendly status.

Hall, who has been working with veterans for years, sees the stand downs as a way to get new attendees for the VETS program by showing them how their lives can improve through education.

HSU President Richmond has been, and is, a big supporter of the program which is based upon the same concept as stand downs — a one-stop center offering services for all veterans. The new VETS program will also have the same philosophy of the stand downs which involves earlier generation veterans sharing their experiences of success through education and the support of fellow veterans.

Offerings will include an individualized admissions process, straight talk on whether veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) would do well in a classroom environment and suggestions on seeking PTSD treatment programs, a veteran mentor program, assistance in their certification of the G. I. Bill; career advice, scheduling help, and a support network that will always be available.

The VETS Program will also provide a meeting space, computers, housing board, tutoring, and work study opportunities. Other services like the California Employment Development Department (EDD), Veterans Service Organizations (VSO), and the Vets Center will also be represented on site.

The whole idea is to make it easy for veterans to continue their education and to get the opportunities that it will provide to them and their families. The goal is to instill the veterans with a sense of confidence and optimism that will make their entry into the college world easy. The new VETS Program outreach/public relations mission is to be there for a veteran from day one to navigate them through the college experience. Some of the organizations that will assist the program are the Department of Veterans Affairs, VSO, EDD, California Community Colleges, the California Armed Forces Bases (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), and the California One Stop Employment Centers.

The whole program has the opportunity to set the Gold Standard for providing the most vet-friendly college in the United States of America … I think that’s exciting and important. All of our veterans deserve this kind of help and opportunity. I’m proud to be a veteran in Humboldt County today and will look forward to seeing other veterans and members of the community who support veterans at the new VETS Program on Aug. 28.

There will be a free shuttle service from the Arcata Community Center to HSU from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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