Author Archives: Keenan Cobb
Derek Cornelius, like many other student veterans on campuses of the Dallas County Community College District, wants to give back to the community and help other veterans.
As he reflects on the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, the 46-year-old Army veteran, who is studying welding at Mountain View College, said he wants to go beyond honoring veterans’ service.
“It is a chance for me, as an individual, to recognize them for their service, especially Vietnam veterans,” Cornelius said. “That’s a group of veterans who really got the short end of the stick when they returned. As much as I appreciate people recognizing me and thanking me, it humbles me more than it makes me feel good.”
Cornelius, who deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 attacks, said he hopes to help in the future with vocational rehabilitation at the Veterans Administration. “It’s about reaching out, giving back and getting with individuals with disabilities to help them out,” he added.
Christopher Gaytan, who served in the Marine Corps and who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2007, shares Cornelius’ feelings.
“I know I’m a veteran, but I also look at folks who were in the Vietnam War or who were in Desert Storm. I really respect those veterans because they went through some stuff that most other folks can’t even imagine,” Gaytan said. “When I see somebody who is homeless and find out that he or she is a veteran, I wish I could do more for them.”
Serving those who have served
Ken Wisdom, who served in the Army from 1983 to 1988 and who now is studying to become a social worker, said some veterans are coming to back to the country from the Middle East and are having trouble adjusting.
“I would like to help, if I can,” said Wisdom, who did not deploy during his time in the military. “I had it so easy, so they should have it as easy as possible. I want to help them get the resources they need, whether educational, financial or medical.”
Wisdom added that many of his family members served in the military. His two grandfathers served during World War II, two of his uncles served in Korea, and one uncle served in Vietnam, he said.
“Veterans Day gives me a moment to reflect on my relatives who have served in the military. It gives me a moment to be proud of the fact that I’m part of what enables us to hold elections and have the greatest country in the world,” Wisdom said.
Janet Davis, vice president of the Student Veterans of America at Eastfield College, served in the Army from 1978 to 1984. She said she is studying business administration and hopes to transfer to a four-year university after she earns her associate degree.
Davis said she started in the medical field in the Army, and she hopes her degree will help her get a job in a medical office, where she could help other veterans.
“When someone says to me on Veterans Day, ‘Thank you for your service,’ it brings joy to my heart. I feel like I made a difference,” said Davis. “But I still want to give back to my country. I hope someday I can work in a military environment so that I can make a difference in veterans’ lives. I don’t care when they went in or out; we’re still veterans.”
Francisco De La Rosa, 53, retired last year as a sergeant first class from the Texas National Guard after serving in the Army for 31 years. He deployed to Iraq twice, once for Desert Storm in the early 1990s and a second time for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009, and he also served as a peace keeper in Kosovo.
De La Rosa said he had 17-year-old soldiers under his leadership, and he always promised their families that he would bring them back alive, which he did. He said he is honored that people in the U.S. recognize him for his service, but he would rather see other veterans receive the honors on Veterans Day.
“I’m appreciative and honored, but I didn’t do it for the pay or the benefits. I just wanted to serve,” De La Rosa said. “I didn’t want recognition when I joined. I wanted to do my job and help maintain our way of life in the U.S.”
De’Corian Land is majoring in general studies at Eastfield, but he said he hopes to transfer to North Lake College in the future to study logistics because that was his specialty while he was in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. The 24-year-old from Terrell, Texas, served in Afghanistan and is now in the Army Reserve. He said he is planning to go to the Veterans Day parade in Dallas on Friday to honor those who have served.
“Veterans Day is about remembrance – remembering and recognizing everyone who served before me,” he said.
Joshua Moreland, a disabled Navy veteran who operated weapons systems as a fire controlman, said he doesn’t consider Veterans Day a recognition of his service.
“I look at it as a recognition to other veterans, even those who are still on active duty,” said Moreland, who is studying internet development through online classes at both Richland and El Centro colleges. “I don’t consider it an honor to me. A big part of it is that, even as a disabled vet, I have my life, and I can’t help but feel blessed having all four limbs and being sound of mind.”
Moreland said people who go into the military do it selflessly and many give all for their country – and civilians should understand that. He added that he wants to start his own web development company after he finishes his studies and then use his business to help other veterans.
Veterans Day: More than sales and discounts
Naomi Zachery, who served in the Army from 2011 to 2015 and who now attends El Centro, said too many veterans are struggling. “Getting free food and discounts doesn’t help us. Too many saw combat, and they’re broken. It takes them years to get over that. Veterans Day should be about helping out those veterans,” Zachery said.
Eastfield’s Gaytan said Veterans Day should be more about having respect for those who served before him. “It’s not so much getting a free meal. We should think about the folks who didn’t get back and who fought for us. Just remember those vets, the guys who are here. I want to try to take care of them,” he said.
Veterans can take advantage of financial aid
Jessica Jenkins, coordinator of the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success at Eastfield and a Navy veteran, said she helps veterans process and receive the military educational benefits they are entitled to receive.
“As a veteran, I can relate to other veterans, and I understand the things that they may be concerned with,” said Jenkins. “I can help veterans fill out their education benefits application and help them understand the differences between the benefits they may be eligible for before they apply.”
Jenkins added that there are several types of financial aid that a veteran might be able receive, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Texas Hazlewood program and other assistance. But she said veterans have to make sure that they apply early because the VA can take up to six weeks to process their applications.
DALLAS – Richland College, of the Dallas County Community College District, is one of only two Texas institutions awarded a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor during a ceremony hosted by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Washington, D.C., on Mon., Sept. 29.
This $3.25 million grant will help equip Richland College train Texans who require new job skills for immediate employment. By leveraging Richland’s existing manufacturing and electronics technology programs, partnerships with 14 Dallas employers, the City of Garland, the City of Richardson and the Metroplex Technology Business Council with TAACCCT grant funds, the Veterans-Focused Engineering Technology Project (VFETP) will meet the needs of local veterans and others who seek training to enter or re-enter the local job market.
The VFETP offers associate degrees (with credit-applicable education or experience) in manufacturing and electronics technology. The program also will offer certificates in electromechanical maintenance, advanced design for manufacturing, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). The curricula will follow national credentialing standards from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) and the International Society of Certified Electronic Technicians (ISCET). Richland College’s employer partners include Alexandria Industries; Atlas Copco; the City of Richardson, Texas; DW Distribution; Garland Power & Light; Kenney Industries; Oncor; QT Manufacturing; Raytheon; Romeo Engineering; Smart GeoMetrics; Texas Instruments; the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; the North Texas chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Association; and the Metroplex Technology Business Council. Richland College will collaborate with Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas to identify potential students, including veterans, as well.
The employer partners have committed to hiring program completers, supporting curriculum development, offering internships and providing on-the-job training for students.
Dr. Kathryn K. Eggleston, president of Richland College, said, “With TAACCCT funds, Richland College is strategically positioned to bridge critical gaps of two kinds: one between the workforce and specialized employment training and the other between that workforce and local employer needs. The VFETP is designed to help Texans access training, to help them succeed in completing training and to match program completers with jobs in growing industries.”
Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor, said, “The Dallas County Community College District focuses on job-driven training and and partnerships that can help rebuild America’s middle class. The grant received by Richland College means that we can train students – veterans, in particular – in fields that will continue to grow and which offer jobs now in the fields of advanced manufacturing, mechatronics and electronics manufacturing. We support economic and workforce development, and this grant enables Richland College to involve industry partners, support our communities and assist veterans as they seek good jobs and re-enter the workforce.”
Richland College’s grant funding is part of the larger TAACCCT competitive grant program co-administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the U.S. Department of Education. ETA announced 71 new grants under this program to single-institution applications and intra-state consortiums across the nation. The purpose of TAACCCT grants is to close educational gaps between potential employees and employers in growing industries, such as advanced manufacturing.
“Community colleges play a vital role in training Americans to meet the needs of employers today,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “As our economy continues to rebuild, businesses are looking for employees with the skills their company needs to stay competitive….These grants help meet those demands, providing critical investments in education and supporting key partnerships.”
Watch the grant announcement ceremony:
For more information about Richland’s manufacturing and electronics technology programs, visit http://www.richlandcollege.edu/engineeringtech/ and http://www.richlandcollege.edu/certs/manufacturingTechnology and or contact Martha Hogan, executive dean, Richland College School of Engineering, Business and Technology, by email at email@example.com or by phone at (972) 238-6210.
Students need role models, whether they are enrolled in K-12 or college. Often, students don’t realize that they themselves can be role models, but that’s what happens when a select group of Dallas County Community College District students are named LeCroy Scholars every year. Those individuals, who are campus leaders among the seven colleges in the DCCCD system, also serve as role models for their peers, volunteers in their communities and organizers who work to serve others.
Some have served as mentors, team captains, officers in academic honor societies, band members, tutors, student ambassadors for their colleges, and volunteers for church and community-based organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Family Place.
They have inspired other students, as well as DCCCD faculty, staff and administrators; as a result, eight students have been named 2014-2015 LeCroy Scholarship recipients by the DCCCD Foundation for their outstanding leadership and academic achievements.
The program honors one of DCCCD’s former chancellors, Dr. R. Jan LeCroy, who served in that capacity from 1981 to 1988. Students selected as LeCroy Scholars receive full tuition and books for up to four semesters. All recipients may attend any of the seven colleges in the DCCCD system: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake or Richland.
The LeCroy Scholars fund was established with a grant donated by Mike A. Myers and the Mike Myers Foundation in 1988 to honor his longtime friend, Dr. Jan LeCroy, who passed away in 2013. The program was the first major student recognition and incentive scholarship created for DCCCD.
Myers, who currently serves as chairman and president of Myers Financial Corp., took an active role with LeCroy, when he was still living, in the selection process. Myers will continue to carry on his personal involvement with the program: he will interview finalists and help with the selection of the scholarship recipients, as well as personally mentor those students throughout the year – providing valuable insight and advice to help LeCroy Scholars succeed in school and in their communities. Myers and LeCroy previously hosted a number of events during the year that provided opportunities for scholars to network with other recipients, including a yearly gathering of former and current LeCroy Scholars. Myers plans to continue that tradition as well.
The scholarship recipients, the colleges they attend and their chosen fields of study are:
- Taryn Allen of Rowlett, Eastfield College, general studies;
- Kym Gonzalez of Dallas, Mountain View College, business and Spanish;
- Michael Heggie of Garland, Eastfield College, psychology;
- Benjamin Kellogg of Flower Mound, North Lake College, electrical engineering;
- Joseph Marble of Dallas, Richland College, criminal justice;
- Rachel Quiroga of Dallas, Eastfield College, nursing;
- Elisabeth Tuttass of Flower Mound, North Lake College, psychology; and
- Brian Weidinger of Rowlett, Eastfield College, general studies.
Five DCCCD students are returning LeCroy Scholars for 2014-2015:
- Edith Barajas of Garland, Richland College, accounting;
- Tiffani Coleman of Dallas, Richland College, social work;
- Cody Dziak of Mesquite, Eastfield College, biology/kinesiology;
- Victoria Livingston of Dallas, El Centro College, science; and
- Itzel Ruiz of Dallas, El Centro College, criminal justice.
For more information, contact Kathye Hammontree in the DCCCD Foundation office by phone at (214) 378-1536 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.