CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 24, 2014 – Southeast Missouri State University has joined in a statewide effort that will create a guide to assist Missouri’s colleges and universities in becoming more “military friendly.”
Jeremy McBroom, director of Southeast’s Office of Military and Veterans Services, and Amanda Woods, military and veterans outreach coordinator at Southeast, recently met in Jefferson City, Mo., with other veterans services representatives from schools across the state to finalize the guide that will recommend programs and policies to help meet the unique needs of student veterans. These needs include behavioral health, educational assistance, development of job placement skills and social support.
Ultimately, the group would like to see campuses provide a place where student veterans can connect, such as a Student Veterans Center, McBroom said.
“Southeast is a military friendly institution but we endeavor to be exceptionally military friendly,” McBroom said. “We are participating in this effort in order to raise awareness at the local and state level on the challenges our veterans face when returning to institutions of higher learning. The guide will recommend policies and programs, that once implemented, will benefit veteran students statewide.”
Their efforts come as Missouri’s colleges and universities are seeing a rising number of students who are military veterans. Often the transition from military to the classroom can be a challenge, especially for those who have been deployed or are first-time college students, he said. To address these issues, this group of representatives from select state agencies, higher education institutions and service veteran organizations are beginning work on “The Student Veterans Center Project.”
The Student Veterans Center Project is a joint effort led by the Missouri Department of Mental Health-Behavioral Health Division, Missouri Department of Higher Education and the Missouri Behavioral Health Alliance. Additional resources were provided by project partners who include the Missouri Veterans Commission, Missouri National Guard, Missouri Department of Economic Development-Division of Workforce Development, Veterans of Foreign Wars-Missouri, American Legion-Missouri and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to McBroom and Woods, additional workgroup members represent Veteran Services at Columbia College, Military Enrollment Outreach and Territory Development at Saint Louis University, Financial Aid and Veterans Services at State Fair Community College, Military and Veterans Services at the University of Central Missouri, the Veterans Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Academic Resource Center at Webster University.
The group’s next steps are to finalize the guide on how to be “military friendly” and schedule a statewide conference to share the information with representatives from all of Missouri’s higher education institutions, McBroom said.