Diablo Valley College Supports Veterans in their Transition to Student Life
Mar 1, 2018
For military veterans enrolling at Diablo Valley College, the Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) is a welcoming transition to academic life. Launched in 2016 with generous support from Sentinels of Freedom, the SVRC builds community for DVC veteran students by providing a dedicated space for meetings, study, recreation and relaxation.
Paying it forward
John Anderson is an adjunct business professor at DVC, who dedicates much of his time supporting veterans and the SVRC.
“I come from a family of veterans who benefited from the GI Bill which gave me a great head start in life. I am committed to seeing that every veteran has a chance to maximize their earned educational benefits, becoming successful in any pursuit they desire,” said Professor Anderson.
“The SVRC is an important center of refuge for veterans. It also provides a venue for dissemination of important information on veteran programs and services, such as the Diablo Valley College Veterans Alliance (DVCVA), a student-run club open to all DVC student veterans. DVCVA organizes fundraising activities and recreational events that bring veterans together. It’s a critical source of information for veterans, and the club’s officers also interface with the administration to advocate for student veteran needs,” said Professor Anderson.
Veteran-focused certificate in small business management/entrepreneurship
Diablo Valley College recently established a veteran-focused certificate program in small business management/entrepreneurship. The 12-unit program has been specifically tailored to be a directed path enabling returning student veterans to quickly and easily earn their first level of achievement in college
“About 32% of veterans who enroll in college choose to study business. With this in mind, we created a pathway of business courses that lead to a certificate. The program allows veterans to develop a greater understanding of what it takes to start and grow a business. The courses are ‘stackable,’ meaning they count towards an associate degree as well should the student choose to continue their education beyond the certificate,” said Professor Anderson. “The courses are all eligible for government educational reimbursement for veterans. This is important because veterans must have their educational plan approved in order to access their benefits. Veteran educational benefits are based on the veteran’s term of service and can include tuition, books, and a living allowance if they are in school. If the available educational benefits are unused by the veteran, the veteran can extend those benefits to a family member.”
First annual Small Business Bootcamp
On November 10th, timed to coincide with Veterans Day weekend, DVC and Sentinels of Freedom will host the first annual Small Business Bootcamp, a free one-day event for veterans supported by an advisory committee comprised of leaders in business, government and education. Attendees will learn the basics of starting a business as well as gain tips and strategies for taking their business to the next level.
Keynote speaker HT Tran will share his story of transition from the military to business ownership. Following a severe injury caused by an IED, Tran received the support of an organization that trains veterans to start businesses. He founded and became the CEO of Anvil Builders, a full-service general engineering contractor specializing in public works and infrastructure projects.
Optional afternoon sessions include individual business coaching and a breakout session specifically geared for female veterans. Professor Anderson is really looking forward to the afternoon coaching sessions. “Veterans will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a business professional who will provide mentoring and advice. We will have small business and franchise owners, managers from large corporations, and service professionals in accounting, legal services, engineering, digital marketing and more. DVC business professors will be on-hand to help veterans with their business planning efforts,” said Professor Anderson.
Professor Anderson is humbled and proud to support returning student veterans. “Most people don’t know what veterans have done for them and what veterans continue to do for them. I just want to see veterans gain the prosperity through education that I have enjoyed thanks to the United States Navy.”
Cody Tracey is a veteran and business administration major at Diablo Valley College, with plans to become a financial analyst. This fall, he will be applying to transfer to a university to obtain a bachelor’s degree and hopes to attend the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
“I served on active duty in the US Army for a little over three years as an infantryman. I was living in Las Vegas at the time and enlisted in May of 2014, after which I attended Basic Combat Training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Before I knew it, I was on a plane out of Baltimore headed over to Germany. There was definitely some culture shock once I arrived there but it was a great learning experience. The base I was stationed at was located in Vilseck, which is in the state of Bavaria near the southern border of Germany. The biggest difference was how cold the winters were there especially going out to train in the snow and negative temperatures. My second trip was when we went to Israel to train with the Israeli Defense Force. That was one of my favorite moments in the military and in my life. After a little over three years in the military, I was honorably discharged in November 2017 and headed back to California to start education here at DVC,” said Tracey.
Tracey credits the DVC Veterans Services Office with assisting him in transitioning from active duty to higher education.
“I was emailing them constantly from Germany to figure out what I needed to do as far as paperwork, and registering for classes for VA benefits, and they were incredibly helpful in answering any questions I had,” said Tracey. “Now, I work as a DVC student ambassador, so I always stop by the office before or after my shifts to talk with them and just check in. The Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) is a really great place to go study, as it’s quiet and comfortable and veterans can even get tutoring there.”
“I can honestly say that everyone I’ve met who knows that I’m a veteran has been more than helpful to me. However, my business professor Charlie Shi has been particularly helpful and supportive,” said Tracey. “He introduced me to the veteran entrepreneurship certificate program and other helpful workshops for veterans as well as the business club that he is an advisor for. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a great support system at DVC and I hope other veterans will attend DVC and experience that as well.”
Tracey’s experience at DVC has meant the world to him. “Any veteran coming out of active duty is going to experience a unique transition going from military life to college life. DVC is great place to help ease that transition process and to be around other great veterans and veterans’ services. I’m just really thankful for all the help and support that I’ve had from the school.”