Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Germanna helping vets through mentorships and credit for life experience

Bill Anderson


Germanna Community College is one of five Virginia Community College System schools at which veteran students will benefit from a U.S. Department of Labor grant.

GCC has received $150,000 earmarked to provide veterans with community college credits for past military service and training and to establish a mentoring program for vets that will help pair them up with business leaders in the area.
Bob Dixon, who heads the veterans program at Germanna, said the move answers the question, “When am I gonna get more credit for all this good stuff I did in the service?”

He said said the grant has allowed Germanna to hire two part time employees to assist in this effort.

“These people will provide increased capacity to serve our veteran students,” Dixon said. “I’m excited about the mentoring in particular.”

He said this is a pilot program, but he hopes it becomes “a sustained effort.”

 Virginia’s veteran population is growing. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the commonwealth will be home to nearly 850,000 veterans by the year 2017.

Dixon says over 500 Germanna students have declared themselves as veterans as G.I. Bill users and that “the actual number is always higher than that.” He said the number is growing steadily from semester to semester.
Allie Dudley

Allie Dudley, GCC's Advanced Standing Counselor, will help veteran students get the academic credits earned through experience, and William T. Anderson, veterans mentor supervisor, will enlist

“I’m excited about the mentoring piece in particular,” Dixon said. “Our plan is to help student vets early in their academic careers to engage people in the community who will remove barriers and give real world advice on what to study and how to break into careers.”

William T. Anderson, a retired Marine Corps colonel, will work for Dr. Sarah Somerville, head of counseling at the Locust Grove Campus, but will be based in Dickinson Building room 108A at the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania. He will also work with Marie Hawley of the GCC new Career & Transfer Center.

Anderson spent 33 years with the Marine Corps and Department of Defense as a lawyer and 18 years working for NATO in Europe. Since 2010, he has been an adjunct faculty member at the Command and Staff College Distance Education Program of the Marine Corps University.

Students in the program will meet with their mentors twice a month and attend related events and social gatherings.  The program runs for one academic year, from August to May.  Students may withdraw from the program at anytime. 

Anderson is an expert and published author on the Marine Corps in World War I.

Dudley, Germanna’s Advanced Standing Counselor, will be able to help more veterans thanks to the grant.

She’s a U.S. Army spouse who has worked at an American military installation in Italy advising vets and their families.
She said military experience, other past work experience and certifications can translate into college credit. Combined with College Level Examination Program credit and the option of taking courses online, vets should find the idea of going back to school less daunting.

To learn more, contact Anderson at wanderson@germanna.edu or 540/891-3023 and Allie Dudley at adudley@germanna.edu or 540/834-1057.

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