Sacramento State Student Veterans Center receives grant from Wells Fargo

Ashley Hurtado

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In an effort to help college veterans integrate into the workforce, Wells Fargo Bank donated $75,000 to the Sacramento State Student Veterans Center this spring.

Jeff Weston, director of the Veterans Success Center, said the grant will help students gain the tools necessary to join the workforce within six months of graduating.

“This $75,000 is specifically to help a core order of veterans that is getting ready to graduate through internships, through resume building resume writing,” Weston said. “We are preparing them for a career after college.”

Often veterans build a resume that fails to express competitiveness in the civilian workforce, Weston said.

“A lot of times we build resumes that we still use military jargon and kind of military language that doesn’t always equate to a civilian resume,” Weston said. “Something that could really be a strong leadership bullet on your resume is worded in a way that a civilian worker might not get, so part of that (grant) will go to a civilian-looking resume.”

Sac State’s Veterans Success Center will be one of the first to provide veteran students with these types of services.

“It’s pretty exciting because it’s something brand new,” Weston said “There is not a lot of models out there to really base this off of. So it’s going to be kind of the first in (of) its type.”

Kelly Chiolan, administrator assistant of the Veterans Success Center, said the organization helps veterans in many ways such as providing students with educational benefits by processing their GI Bill and California Veterans Fee Waiver.

The center also serves students by providing them with a study space where they have access to computers and can complete coursework and holds courses that target the needs of veteran students.

“We have one class that is actually meeting right now, for a veteran specific course. It’s RPTA 122 (perspectives on leisure), specifically for veterans,” Chiolan said. “They meet and decide some of the options in terms of what events they are going to do and kind of guide their own course work.”

According to the Veterans Student Center, students that participate in this program receive writing intensive course credit. They also learn how to adapt to the civilian working environment by mentoring other veterans and planning a community event.

Chiolan believes the center, in addition to helping students academically, is a place where veterans can feel connected to one another.

“Veterans say their experience of leaving the military kind of makes them feel isolated, so it’s good to have people that share similar experiences,” Chiolan said.

Chiolan invites students to visit the center and inquire about the benefits and services the student center and student veteran organizations provide.

“I hope that (veterans) have a good experience and that they had all their needs met, that we could possibly assist them with and that they enjoyed their experience at Sacramento State,” Chiolan said.

Senior finance major Chris Cobbett said the center has had positive impact on his veteran student experience.

“The federal government is not exactly a well-oiled machine,” Cobbett said.”(The center) tends to cut through the red tape and really kind of guide you along the way and be able to better accomplish something that would be pretty difficult without their help.”

Cobbett said the center has created an environment where veterans can find emotional support from their peers.

“Whenever you are left alone, you don’t know who to turn to and there is a lot of emotional turmoil,” Cobbett said. “Here (at the center) a lot of people have dealt with the problems and if they haven’t, now you have six to eight people all trying to solve the problem instead of just you.”

Cobbett said he welcomes veterans who have not joined the center to stop by.

“(Veterans) need to come in,” Cobbett said. “It’s not just a place to process your paperwork. It’s a place that you are going to find help (and) solutions to problems. You’re going to find a close-knit community that is willing to help you and bring you into it. You’re going to find resources that you didn’t know existed.”