PCC / News / October 21, 2013

VA chooses PCC for national program that serves vets

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Portland Community College is one of 94 colleges and universities nationwide chosen to take part in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) Program.

First started at the University of South Florida in 2009, the VSOC Program serves as the on-campus face of the VA. Counselors in the program help ease veterans’ transition to student life and assist them in achieving their educational and career goals through the VA’s Post-9/11 GI Bill, and other education benefit programs. The counselors maintain close relationships with local VA Vet Centers and VA medical facilities, referring veterans as needed for counseling or medical services and providing assistance enrolling in and applying for VA medical and nonmedical benefits.

Steve Gordon (left) with Bert Logan, director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services. Gordon will serve as PCC’s Vet Success On Campus representative to assist veterans with questions they might have about benefits, enrollment, the VA Medical Center, VA guaranteed home loans, compensation and pension.

Steve Gordon (left) with Bert Logan, director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services. Gordon will serve as PCC’s Vet Success On Campus representative to assist veterans with questions they might have about benefits, enrollment, the VA Medical Center, VA guaranteed home loans, compensation and pension.

Partner schools like PCC provide on-campus office space for the VA counselors. In addition to PCC, the VA has signed agreements with such schools as Austin Community College (Texas), East Carolina University, Florida State University, Houston Community College (Texas), The Ohio State University, Old Dominion University (Virginia), Pasadena City College, Texas A&M University, University of Alabama, University of Kentucky and University of Nebraska, to name a few.

“When we received notice from them that they wanted to locate a VSOC counselor on our campus, we jumped on it,” said Bert Logan, the college’s director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services. “We are very excited about having this resource on campus. This gives us the extraordinary opportunity to provide our student veterans and their families with an all-encompassing and holistic experience at PCC.”

Logan said PCC, which has more than 1,400 military vets on its campuses, was chosen for this program because of the services it has created for student veterans, the size of its student veteran population and its proximity to a number of veteran resources located throughout the Portland area.

During the last few years, the college has improved systems to streamline certification of educational benefits and was an early adopter of President Obama’s Executive Order 13607 “Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members.” Many of the principles in the Presidential Order were already in place at PCC through its own initiatives, Logan said.

One of the college’s cornerstones in serving military vets is the Rock Creek Campus Veterans Resource Center – the first, and only, one-stop resource center at the college that provides a space dedicated for student veterans to network and relax. There are plans to create full-service Veterans Resource Centers like the one at Rock Creek across PCC thanks to the current work by the college’s bond program.

Steve Gordon (left) with Bert Logan, director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services. Gordon will serve as PCC’s Vet Success On Campus representative to assist veterans with questions they might have about benefits, enrollment, the VA Medical Center, VA guaranteed home loans, compensation and pension.

College President Jeremy Brown (far left) visited the Sylvania Veteran Services Center in September to welcome the new VSOC counselor.

In addition, the college has active veterans’ clubs at Sylvania, Rock Creek, Cascade and Southeast Center. The clubs hold regular meetings where students come together to support one another, share information and promote strategies for improving the veteran experience at PCC. The campus clubs offer a wide range of social gatherings, skill-building workshops, and events designed to educate the college community about veterans’ issues and honor those who have chosen to serve.

“For many veterans, the transition from military life to the academic world can seem more challenging than a boot camp obstacle course,” said Julie Barber, faculty advisor for the Sylvania Veterans’ Club. “Connecting with other veterans, and especially with those who have successfully navigated that rocky route, can help immensely.”

For information about club meetings, contact the rep at your respective campus: Julie Barber (Sylvania) at Julie.barber2@pcc.edu, Jaime Rodriguez (Rock Creek) at jprodrig@pcc.edu, Matthew Blankenship (Cascade) at matthew.blankenship@pcc.edu, or James Pepe (Southeast Center) at jpepe@pcc.edu.

Steve Gordon will serve as PCC’s Vet Success On Campus representative. Gordon’s responsibilities include assisting veterans with questions they might have about veteran benefits, enrollment, the VA Medical Center, VA guaranteed home loans, compensation and pension. For PCC students who are military veterans, Gordon can be reached at steven.gordon@pcc.edu, or can simply stop by the Veteran Services Center at the Sylvania Campus (CC 246).

“I am excited to have the opportunity to become a valuable resource for all veterans who attend PCC,” Gordon said.

For more information on the VetSuccess program, go to http://www.vetsuccess.gov.

About The Author: James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

Comments

There are 6 responses to "VA chooses PCC for national program that serves vets" . If you see a comment that doesn't belong please click the "x" and report it.

x by Kari Richter 6 months ago

I just love being a veteran and attending PCC. PCC always makes me feel so welcome and is always available to help me with GI-Bill issues. I am very thankful to PCC and happy to see that they have added a VA counselor to their staff.

x by larry wiley 6 months ago

If it helps veterans than yes I am for it, but as I have experienced this is merely a form of “damage” control. If one were to talk to a veteran outside of the 911 GI Bill, it would be a different tune. Why does it take being it fashionable to be veteran (i.e. when the rest of society including politicians under pressure decide to help veterans) This devalues what I have “paid” and leaves veterans like me a 2nd or 3rd class veteran.

x by Narce Rodriguez 6 months ago

Greetings: Mr. Gordan: We are very fortunate to have you be at PCC and let me know how I may assist you at the Rock Creek Campus.

x by bc4h10 5 months ago

Re: Larry Wiley
If I understood your response correctly then I understand were you coming from. You get no help but all the BS and stigma of being a veteran. I’m a veteran 30 yo 60 percent disabled bones and joints of a 80 yo and I served from 2001 to 2008 joined when I was 17. I don’t receive GI bill either and the other programs do not let you in if they feel you wont make the program to keep there numbers up like VRAP or they get a slap on the wrist. Its all damage control and a joke. 1 out 4 Veterans including female or homeless. This will not benefit me or my veteran wife in any way Im still getting in more debt by taking loans with a fading hope of the American dream. I coming back to school after being homeless just recovered from that. The only reason is the Salvation Army took me inn at Beaverton, my family and I was not able to work any more and had to go back to school. I already have a degree and can not find a career any were, unless you have 5 years experience plus bachelors or above. I do hope you are able to help all types of veterans and not just 1st class veterans. I earned my veteran status price i paid through hard work with a broken back ripped leg muscle and ptsd to show for it.

x by Steven Gordon 5 months ago

Thank you, Kari, Larry, Narce, & “bc” for your comments & greetings. I invite all Service-members, Veterans, and Family Members to contact me at 971-722-8456 with any questions or concerns about educational, vocational rehabilitation, medical, disability, or other VA benefits you may be entitled to. I look forward to hearing from you.
Steve Gordon
VA VetSuccess On Campus Counselor
Portland Community College

x by Wendy McNeill-Swartz 5 months ago

I am happy to see our campus is moving towards helping it’s rather large veteran community. I sincerely hope that this is not just a publicity campaign, but rather a sincere attempt to help and foster many veterans to get their educations successfully and expeditiously. Welcome to our campus, and best wishes Sir.

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