Over the last year the Veteran resource Center at College of the Canyons (COC) served over 1,000 veterans and their families. The Center does an excellent job of providing educational services to include VA Education and Vocational Benefits. However, there are many students that start this process but do not make it to a successful completion. While some veterans may need additional military transitional services to be successful, many of those services are not readily available in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The University of Southern California (USC) is the largest Social Work School in the world, with 3,500 students, and is the recognized leader in the field of training social workers to graduate with a specialty in veteran needs and affairs.
For several months the two schools have worked together toward forming a partnership for the purpose of expanding services to our local veterans. In addition, the veteran campus facilities, with funds made available by the recent passage of Proposition E, and commitments from local sponsors are scheduled to be greatly enhanced.
On June 29, a “Memo of Understanding” between USC and COC was formally signed, making the partnership between the two entities a reality, and as of September, services from USC to our local community have begun, assisting the veteran population in furthering their transition back to civilian life.
It is anticipated that this wonderful effort will hopefully become community wide, and the next step in the progression of the program is forming a collaborative of individuals, corporations, and non-profits willing to exchange ideas, and offer whatever assistance is within their province, such as jobs, training, housing, etc.
That began with COC hosting the first collaborative meeting on campus on August 18, at the University Center. Approximately 50 businesses and their representatives attended, and the meeting was very well received.
The gathering explored ideas which can make a more productive life for those veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much. Together the group will identify current and future services, and facilitate greater access to, and knowledge of same.
The focus is on helping with needed mental and physical services, jobs, and housing, which hopefully can be provided by participating members of the collaborative.
Any who wish to participate in this program will be greatly appreciated by those who will benefit from the multiple services provided.
If you have an interest in providing services to veterans, and wish to join the Collaborative, kindly contact E. Wolf at [email protected].