MiraCosta College Provides Year-Around Support for Veterans

11/11/2022 Bookmark and Share

Although the nation has set aside November 11 to honor our country’s veterans, MiraCosta College has a year-round commitment to serve its veteran students and their families.

“Our veterans served our country, and we at MiraCosta College want to do everything we can to help them make the transition to success in their lives as civilians,” said MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke.

Veterans Services, located in Building T100 on the MiraCosta College Oceanside Campus, provides a place for military-affiliated students to find resources on Veterans Administration educational benefits, student services, and community organizations that assist veterans and their families. The center also provides a place for students to relax, study, and meet with friends.

MiraCosta College is one of two schools in San Diego County that has a VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) representative, an employee of the Department of Veteran Affairs who works to assist students to pursue their education and employment goals. The VSOC counselor assists veterans with career counseling and employment information, maximizing VA educational benefits, information on mental health services for veterans, and resources to promote academic success.

Students can also be connected with veterans counselors, who serve veterans and their dependents. Online Zoom support sessions are offered weekly for veterans who are new students at MiraCosta College.

Additionally, through grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, MiraCosta College hosts the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) located at the college’s Technology Career Institute in Carlsbad.

The SoCal VBOC, one of just 22 VBOCs across the country, serves an area stretching from the Mexican border north to Vandenberg Air Force Base and east to Arizona. The SoCal VBOC works with three Small Business Administration district offices (San Diego, Orange County/Inland Empire and Los Angeles) to deliver its primary mission—the delivery of the agency’s Boots to Business program—at 10 military bases throughout its service area. Boots to Business is a two-day entrepreneurial education and training program offered as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. It introduces the concepts and skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur to transitioning service members and explores strategies, economics, legal structure, financing, business planning, and more.

MiraCosta College’s services are appreciated by veterans like Ryan Largeman, who started at the college this fall after serving seven years in the Air Force. As the member of a military family, it was a natural decision for Largeman to enlist in 2006.

Largeman traveled all over the world as a security officer, but had to leave the service when he injured his back in a vehicle accident. After exploring other educational institutions, he came to San Diego and enrolled at MiraCosta College. “I’m so grateful to come to MiraCosta,” said Largeman. “I love all my professors. They’re all good human beings and good teachers.”

He is taking geography classes and hopes to transfer to a university to major in cartography, the art of mapmaking. “I feel like I’m learning and being set up to go to a major university,” added Largeman.

Additionally, Ian Moore, after 22 years in the Marines,  wanted to get a business administration degree to help him better operate his new barbecue business. He’d passed by the MiraCosta College satellite campus at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base many times, but one day, he decided to come in. He’s glad he did.

After retiring from the Marines in 2018, Moore started a mobile barbecue business that offers catering and travels to festivals around the region. He began attending MiraCosta College in spring 2021 because he wants to learn how his business can continue to thrive for years to come.

“I want to restructure my barbecue business so it can be a benefit for the next generation,” he said. “I wanted to get a business degree without going into debt. I heard that the instructors were nice and the environment was welcoming and they cater to vets. It was a good fit.”

Moore discovered how helpful his professors could be when he dealt with the emotional impacts of two deaths in his family. “Everything just fell apart for me,” he said. “My teachers were beyond supportive in helping me catch up and getting back on track. I had fallen into an academic hole, but they allowed me to climb out. I had the will to fight to go from failing grades to passing grades. I fought my way back and they gave me the support I needed. They were with me in the fight.”

Moore also praised MiraCosta College’s veterans counseling services, which helped him register for his classes and ensured that he was enrolled in the proper courses toward his degree. He is now on track to graduate this semester and hopes to transfer to a culinary school. Moore is reaching his goals because of the support he received at MiraCosta College.

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