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8-13-14-ftcc\'s-all-american.gifAs our nation and our community scrutinize the current state of affairs in medical care for our vets, there is reason to take pride in other ways we have stepped up to better serve those who have bravely served our country.

At Fayetteville Tech, no fewer than 3,000 veterans have enrolled since 2012. That’s among the Top 5 veteran enrollments in the country and number one in the state for community colleges. Military Times has ranked FTCC as second highest on their list of Best for Vets for Career and Technical Colleges in 2014. The creation of the All-American Veterans Center (which recently held its grand opening on June 16) supports veterans as they transition to being successful students and employed graduates. The state-of-the-art, 3,500-square-foot All-American Veterans Center serves as a role model for other campuses seeking to support our returning and retiring military personnel.

A significant characteristic of FTCC’s Veterans Center is that it is managed and staffed by veterans. The one-stop-shop concept at the Center promotes not only certifying educational benefits but also connecting veterans with other support, whether or not the veteran is an FTCC student. The impact to the community represents an outreach to as many as 10,000 veterans in that FTCC’s center offers assistance to all veterans. Physical space within the Veterans’ Center is provided to the many daily volunteers who represent the DAV, American Legion, VFW, Patriot Outreach, Cumberland County VA, Fayetteville Workforce Solutions and N.C. National Guard. Partnerships have also been created with the local Wounded Warrior Project office, VAforVets recruiter, Kangaroo Express, Walmart, Home Depot, and several other local veteran-friendly businesses which support FTCC’s initiatives for veterans.

Perhaps the best measure of the center’s and FTCC’s success with veterans is our graduation rate. Of the 3,000 veterans enrolled since 2012, 987 graduated in 2012-13, and another 872 graduated this past May. Over this summer, FTCC saw a 9 percent increase in veterans’ enrollment over last year, prior to the creation of the center. And with a current growth of 3 percent projected for the fall, FTCC’s All-American Veterans Center is making a significant impact within our community by stepping up efforts to serve all veterans.

Engagement through networking with various agencies and companies and attending local meetings of other organizations, who strive to help veterans, helps to increase awareness about the Center and promote ways that various organizations can work together to do the most to help our veterans. Organizations involved with this networking include Community Blueprint, Veterans All-Call, Military family and child/Living in the New Normal, and other active duty spouse groups. The All-American Veterans Center offers résumé workshops, hiring events from local employers, academic and career counseling, and in-house tutoring from faculty. The center is equipped with a lounge with cable, a computer lab, a coffee bar, popcorn, and an employment resource center.

We invite you to visit the All-American Veterans Center located inside the General Classroom Building (Fayetteville campus, 2817 Fort Bragg Road) to see firsthand the unique extension of care, service and honor that Fayetteville Technical Community College is providing our veterans (thewesm@faytechcc.edu or (910) 678-8580).

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