Veteran services

Grand Rapids Community College gets $450,000 grant to build veterans service center

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Grand Rapids Community College received a $450,000 federal grant to build a designated veterans center on campus and expand services to students who served in the military.

The Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success will serve as a hub to connect veterans to campus resources such as financial aid, counseling and disability support, according to a college press release.

“Our college is proud of our West Michigan veterans, and while we’re used to being a veteran-friendly campus, we want to raise the bar,” said GRCC President Bill Pink, in a statement regarding the three-year grant.

“Like many of our students, veterans often attend college part-time while juggling family and work responsibilities. We strive to ensure that these students receive academic support and relevant assistance to take advantage of the benefits to which they are entitled. This grant will help us improve the strong program we currently have in place. »

The college received the $450,000 grant from the US Department of Education, college officials said. The funding will be used to build the Veterans Services Center in a renovated Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall at 143 Bostwick Ave., with a coordinator to oversee the program and three peer mentors.

The center will be used to host workshops and speakers, allowing students to network, according to the statement. The project will also help the GRCC expand its partnerships with state and local veterans agencies, helping students access community benefits and support.

“The GRCC has a tradition of honoring veterans, from our annual Veterans Day commemoration to events aimed at strengthening brotherhood and community,” GRCC Registrar Valerie Butterfield said in a statement.

“This grant will allow us to take this work to the next level, providing a dedicated space for veterans of all ages. They can be supported by the college, but also in relation to each other.

The college will also use the center to reach out to veterans in the community to inform them of opportunities at the GRCC to earn a degree or learn in-demand job skills.

More than 400 students are already taking advantage of the GRCC’s existing services for veterans, and college officials hope to increase that number to more than 500 over the next three years.

Students find existing services and benefits for veterans at grcc.edu/veterans.

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