Last month, Congressman Steve Israel visited Suffolk Community College’s Brentwood manufacturing lab to announce new legislation that provides for skill training and job placement for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Revamping the Education of our Veterans to Align Manufacturing through Partnerships with Community Colleges (REVAMP Act) provides for an analysis of the needs of local manufacturing companies and the positions they have been unable to fill, together with the development by community colleges of curricula specifically designed to prepare veterans with the education and skills needed to fill those positions.
Working in collaboration with the local Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, community colleges will target local post-9/11 veterans and GI Bill recipients to enroll them in certificate or degree programs, ranging from 24 weeks to two years. After they have completed their studies, the vets will be referred directly to companies in need of their new skills.
Veterans who received an honorable discharge can use their GI Bill benefits to pay for the training, and businesses that hire veterans may be eligible to receive a tax credit under the Wounded Warriors and Returning Heroes Tax Credits legislation that President Obama signed into law this past November.
Pointing out that returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan face one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation—13.1 percent—and that according to a recent Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte report, manufacturing companies in the U.S. need to fill approximately 600,000 vacancies, Rep. Israel called the new legislation “a win-win solution.” He said that it will provide returning veterans “with a unique skill set that will lead to jobs or apprenticeships while also providing manufacturing companies with the highly-skilled employees they need to stay competitive.”
“Community colleges, like Suffolk, have been instrumental partners when it comes to providing training and career advancement to our returning veterans”, Israel continued. “I look forward to working with them on this program.”
Suffolk Community College President Dr. Shaun L. McKay, who was also on hand when Israel announced the new legislation, said “We are eager to provide our returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with specialized training so they can help fill vacancies in local manufacturing companies. I can’t think of a better way to use our resources than to train those who have given so much for our country so they can find good jobs.”
Suffolk Community College is a member college of SOC, Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, an association of approximately 1900 colleges and universities that ensures service members are given sufficient educational opportunities. SCCC has a long history of assisting veterans to maximize their benefits, make a successful transition to college life and work and achieve their educational goals.
The college’s student life services afford student veterans many opportunities for involvement in, among others, student activities and governance, athletics and the arts. Counseling and advising services help vets explore various programs of study, and career services help them navigate professional options. Through its disability services, SCCC works to minimize physical, psychological and learning obstacles of its student veterans.
In addition, each of the college’s campuses—Ammerman, Grant and Eastern—offers a Service to Veterans Team to help with admissions, financial aid and registration.
SCCC also has scores of veteran’s groups and clubs that meet at the Ammerman campus designed to bring student/veterans together to support each other through the transition from military to academic life. All academic, financial and social issues affecting student/veteran success in college are open for discussion, support and advocacy.