The California Community College Board of Governors approved an $8.5 million dollar grant in the 2018-19 state budget to enhance veteran resource centers around California’s community colleges.
According to David Lawrence, Veterans Services Specialist, colleges that applied for part of the grant depended on how many veterans were enrolled.
“Colleges were allowed to apply for up to $100,000 or $200,000 depending on the number of Student Veterans they serve annually,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence added the funds can be used to create new centers on campuses where centers do not already exist and augment existing centers as well.
Bakersfield College was one of 59 community colleges to receive part of the grant. BC was awarded $200,000 to improve its Veteran Resource Center.
Paul Beckworth, faculty director of Veterans Services, said he goes out for grants and makes sure the students have everything they need to be successful.
Beckworth added that there are going to be more resources in the Veterans Resource Center with the funding.
“What we’re going to see is more resources. We’re going be able to bring in faculty completion, coaches to assist veterans within their chosen majors. We’re going be able to buy laptops for the veterans to use. We’re going be able to buy supplies that we need to run the offices effectively. As well as training. So, a lot of good stuff,” Beckworth said.
Beckworth along with the administrators such as BC vice president Zav Dadabhoy, and BC president Sonya Christian will be in charge of how the money will be spent.
Richard David Jorgensen III, BC student and veteran, said the money could be used for technology, school supplies and a larger area.
“The computers are out of date. [I] guess it’d be nice to have supplies hanging around like markers. Another dry-erase whiteboard. Maybe some more space for tables back there. We only [have] two; It gets pretty crowded. I mean I would like to not be able to see wallpaper on the [wall]. It looks like the buildings about to fall off,” he said.
Fellow BC student and veteran Crystal Appleton said the Veteran Resource Center has helped her, “Especially if you have anyone who deals with PTSD or anxiety issues, coming to a place where people have the same issues then they can understand it; work that out,” she said.
Appleton said the money can be used to add more space, “Definitely a bigger spot so we can separate people that need to work and relax so we can actually eat and […] actually study. Maybe just updated equipment, like printers and computers and ones that have scanners in case we need to scan a document to turn into class,” Appleton said.
Arthur Carrillo, BC student and veteran, said the money should be used on technology. “Honestly better equipment, like computers,” he said.
Carrillo said he and other veterans go out of their way by tutoring others and hopes every BC veteran visits the center.
“We go out of our way to even just cater to all veterans […] I wish every vet would come in here because they have great resources […] I’m going out of my way aside from that I mean other vets go out of their way too. We’re all willing to help each other even regardless of if you’re a student, a vet, or not because [behind] the door they treat you like family,” Carrillo said.