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Linn-Benton Community College is among recipients of a grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs to expand campus veteran resource centers.

The purpose of the Campus Veteran Resource Center Grant Program, which was created with the passage of Senate Bill 143 in 2017, is to augment existing resources by funding innovative and impactful projects or programs, designed to improve the lives of student veterans and help them succeed.

All 14 of the institutions who applied received a portion of the $1 million in available grant funds. The one-time grants ranged from $32,500 to $100,000. The projects selected for funding were the result of a process by an evaluation committee composed of members of the Oregon Veterans' Affairs Advisory Committee, as well as veterans, and education and financial experts from across the state.

LBCC received $92,900. According to the grant proposal, the college plans to use the money to contract with a veteran resource coordinator to help veterans with transitioning to civilian life.

Funding also will be used to put on resource and career fairs and buy supplies for the center, such as computers and printing supplies and tables and chairs.

In addition to LBCC, grant recipients were: Lane Community College, Oregon City; Rogue Community College, Grants Pass; Western Oregon University, Monmouth; Klamath Community College, Klamath Falls; Clackamas Community College, Oregon City; Portland Community College, Portland; Oregon State University, Corvallis; Mount Hood Community College, Gresham; University of Oregon, Eugene; Southwestern Oregon Community College, Coos Bay; Blue Mountain Community College, Pendleton; Eastern Oregon University, La Grande; and Chemeketa Community College.

The grants are meant to support veteran resource centers, which are considered to be vital in helping veterans transition from military service to college life, complete their education and, ultimately, succeed in their career and vocational goals in the community.

Highlights of the funded projects include:

• The development of veteran-specific campus orientation and welcome programs for student veterans and their families.

• Training for academic faculty and staff in military culture and unique needs of student veterans.

• The establishment of peer mentor programs to assist veterans in succeeding in school.

• Purchase of tutorial software for veterans in the areas of college-level writing and math skills.

• The creation of quarterly "Hiring Veterans" events, which will assist student veteran transitioning from school to the workplace by connecting them with employment resources and potential employers.

• Establishing strong relationships with county veteran service offices and other veteran service providers to ensure student veterans have access to crucial benefits they have earned.

Two community colleges are expanding very small resource centers and moving them to central locations, which include study areas, computers, printers and space for the veteran coordinators.

ODVA is implementing the grants and will review the recipients' expenditures and outcomes on a quarterly basis. The grants were awarded for an 18-month term, and funds must be used between January 2018 and June 2019.

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