Focused on Helping Colorado Veterans
DU hosts Veterans in Higher Education Summit
“Working together to serve Colorado veterans.” That was the message last Friday on the University of Denver campus as it played host to the seventh annual Veterans in Higher Education Summit. The event was organized by the Colorado Advisory Council on Military Education (CO-ACME), which represents local educators and military members committed to providing the best educational opportunities to members of all branches of the military.
The daylong summit focused on how to help veterans in Colorado enter higher education and eventually find jobs that best fit their skills.
“Our veterans have served our country very well,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Loh, Colorado’s adjutant general and the event’s keynote speaker. “What we need to do now is get them into education and get them learning and developing their skill sets to become 21st century civilians, contributing to society.”
One of the biggest challenges facing veterans is that their military transcripts and qualifications often don’t translate to college credit. That’s why Colorado’s legislature recently passed a measure requiring colleges to award academic credit for college-level learning acquired in the military.
“We had a system where we were not giving our veterans enough credit for studies and work they have already done in the military,” said state Sen. Owen Hill, co-sponsor of the legislation and guest speaker on Friday. “So, if [they] were an electrician in the military or worked in avionics, we need to be doing everything we can to get them college credit for the work they have done to bring down the cost of overall tuition and make the transition as rapid as possible.”
Most colleges in Colorado are members of CO-ACME, including the University of Denver. “We are trying to show DU’s support for veterans and grow DU’s network in the veterans’ community,” says Damon Vine, DU’s veteran services coordinator and treasurer for CO-ACME. Last spring, DU demonstrated a major commitment to veteran students by increasing funding for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Beginning this fall, DU will offer a $5,000 match for undergraduate and graduate students eligible for the post- 9/11 GI Bill.
The University of Denver is also supporting veterans through the Graduate School of Professional Psychology’s Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology. The program has two key components: an educational track that prepares graduate students to work with veterans and their families; and the Sturm Center, a clinic available to all veterans and their families.
More than 100 people participated in Friday’s summit, which for the first time included a job fair for veterans looking for employment.
“We hope we are doing great things for the community, and we hope we are having a great impact on the community as well,” Vine said.