The Clark College Foundation has received a grant from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington with the objective to hire a program coordinator for its Veterans Resource Center.

The grant is for $30,000 and is designated to provide a part-time position for one year to manage support services and workshop training operations in the resource center. It is part of an effort to increase retention and course completion for veterans returning to or attending college for the first time. Adding the position will also allow other staff members to focus their efforts on outreach, counseling and fundraising.

Of the degree-seeking veterans enrolled in the fall 2016 quarter at Clark College, 82 percent self-report as being the first in their families to attend college and 67 percent say they are low income. There are more than 500 veterans enrolled, according to Kelly Jones, Clark’s Veterans Resource Center manager. For Clark College, assisting veterans and their families as they navigate civilian and college life is a priority.

“Helping veterans overcome educational barriers in order to be fully prepared for the civilian workforce is paramount at Clark College,” said Lisa Gibert, president/CEO of the Clark College Foundation. “This grant allows us to put a person in place who will explore community resources, coordinate workshops, manage our financial literacy courses and support veterans’ families.”

Jennifer Rhoads, president of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, added “We are honored to support the work of local nonprofits through our annual grant programs. The Veterans Resource Center at Clark College is a perfect example, because it supports veterans who are striving to achieve their professional goals, build stable financial foundations and contribute their skills and leadership to our workforce.”

The Veterans Resource Center was first opened in May of 2014. It represents a collaboration with the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, philanthropist Jane Hagelstein, and other partners. The resource center is under the supervision of the director of Career Services who administers career development, mathematics and English preparation courses specifically for student veterans.

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