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Sierra College Joins Obama Administration Effort for Veterans



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Rocklin CA, Sierra College is pleased to announce its contribution to the Obama Administration's ongoing effort to foster postsecondary educational opportunities and dramatically improve employment outcomes for Veterans.

 Sierra College is one of more than 250 community colleges and universities across the country implementing the administration's "8 Keys to Success" to help Veterans on campus.

 The "8 Keys to Success" highlight specific ways that colleges and universities can support Veterans as they pursue their education and employment goals. It aims to aid veterans in their effort to afford and complete their college degrees, certificates, industry-recognized credentials and licenses in preparation for jobs in high-growth sectors of the economy.

 President Obama recently introduced the "8 Keys to Success" at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Orlando.

 "We're announcing what we call '8 Keys to Success' -- specific steps that schools can take to truly welcome and encourage our veterans," President Obama said. "And so far, more than 250 community colleges and universities have signed on, and today I'm calling on schools across America to join us in this effort.  Let's help our veterans get that degree, get that credential and compete for the high-skilled jobs of tomorrow."

 Sierra College will soon be opening a new Veterans Resource Center on the Rocklin Campus. Through public and private partnerships, Sierra College will staff a comprehensive and centralized facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of student veterans.

 "It will provide excellent academic and psycho-social support services to all student military veterans and their families, while recognizing their contribution to our campus, our community and our nation. The development of the Veterans Resource Center will allow Sierra College to lead the way in program design, development, and implementation, and to give back to those who have given so much," said Sierra College President, Willy Duncan. 

Approximately 700 veterans and their family members attend Sierra College.  The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that veteran enrollment could increase by as much as 75% in the next few years as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan draw to a close.  

"The keys to success encourage institutions of higher education to support Veterans with access to the courses and resources they need to ensure that they graduate and get good jobs," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "I'm proud of the great work community colleges and universities are doing to embrace these measures."

The "8 Keys to Success" include the following:

  1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for Veterans.
  2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
  3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
  4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size).
  5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for Veterans.
  6. Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on Veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion.
  7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to Veterans.
  8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for Veterans.

 "This commitment made by colleges and universities will help Veterans better transition from the battlefield to the campus, find a good job and strengthen our economy," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Given a chance, Veterans will succeed because they are disciplined, self-starters accustomed to working hard."

 The Obama administration's "8 Keys to Success " build on its work to provide Veterans and military families with a high-quality, affordable education. In April 2012, President Obama signed an executive order establishing the Principles of Excellence (POE), which provide protections for our nation's military, Veterans, and their families, including by helping to ensure they have the information they need to succeed in higher education.

 To further Veterans' success in higher education and employment, the VA is also expanding its VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) and Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) programs, which connect Veterans to VA resources. Across our nation, thousands of colleges and universities are developing or expanding their Veterans Success Centers, benefitting from models generated from the VA's VSOC and VITAL investments. VSOC is currently located at 32 campus sites in 16 states and is expanding to additional campuses in 2013.

 The Post-9/11 GI Bill has also played a large role in helping returning service members attend college. VA has issued approximately $30 billion in Post 9/11 GI-Bill benefit payments since its inception in August 2009, and helped nearly one million servicemembers, Veterans, and their families pursue their education. Each year, veterans of the armed services, numbering 700 and growing, come to Sierra College to pursue their dreams of a higher education. The Department of Veteran's Affairs estimates their enrollment will increase by 25% in the next several years. 

More than 250 community colleges and universities working to implement the "8 Keys to Success." View the Obama Administration's new fact sheet on the President's commitment to the success of Veterans, service members and their families in higher education.

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