Veterans return to school

Veterans both young and old turned up for the Veterans Enterprise Forum of 2010.

The forum is a yearly event that shows military veterans what benefits they have after service.

“The whole idea of this program is to present lots of information and contact information for men and women who are veterans,” said Karen Bradshaw, director of Center for Entrepreneurship. “These include educational opportunities and financial information as far as financing their education.

“If you look at the people who are here, they are probably between 18 years of age and 85,” she added. “During their life they are at different stages. Some people are young and looking for education, others people have lost their jobs and need to reeducate.”

One of the older attendees of the forum was Ralph Greene, four-year naval veteran.

“I wanted to find out what opportunities I have that are scheduled for me as a GI,” he said. “I graduated from here (Missouri Southern) in 1974 in art education. I wanted to take art and I took most of my drafting classes. I substituted some classes for about 15 years after that in high school and all the systems were new. They were doing it on a computer.

“I found out that when you’re over 60 you can go to school free so I might do that.”

Talking points for this year’s forum included the Chapter 33, a scholarship service for soldiers who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan war era.

“It’s a brand new chapter and it’s very popular and that’s why it has a lot of aspects to it,” said Denise Vigil, veteran’s education certifying official. “It pays tuition fees up front and a monthly living allowance, depending on amount of active service post 9-11 and it is transferable to dependants under certain requirements.”

Anyone interested in getting more information on the topic can e-mail [email protected]

Another talking point was the Show Me Heroes program, presented by Rodney Henrey, coordinator of the veterans program.

“Show Me Heroes is an initiative for employers to bring veterans, National Guard and reserve members priority consideration not necessarily in hiring but in consideration,” Henrey said. “A job right now may have three or four hundred applications.

“What we are asking is that veterans get moved to the top.”

Show Me Heroes is a voluntary pledge for employers in the local community. Employers who take the pledge will be placed on a list that can be found at showmeheroes.mo.gov.