Valdosta, GA— Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has been named a Best for Vets Public Career and Technical College for 2021 by Military Times. The college was ranked 18th in the national listing, as well as #6 in the Southeast region, and #2 in the State. According to the announcement, 500 colleges were considered in the review process that contained nearly 150 questions about support services, academic policies, and financial aid benefits for student veterans.
Wiregrass Georgia Tech offers credit, and non-credit classes through an office located at Moody Air Force Base. Wiregrass has a partnership with the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) to provide five CCAF required general education courses through distance education. The college also coordinates the National Testing Center located on base providing a variety of testing services including CLEP, DANTES, and Pearson Vue that are required for placement, academia, and certifications.
The Wiregrass Moody campus also offers a program called Fast-Track. “Wiregrass created this Fast-Track program to better serve our military and stay on top of the trending education requirements of the Air Force,” shared Tabora Temple, Wiregrass’ Military and Veterans Services Director. Wiregrass is the only college within TCSG that offers a Community College of the Air Force degree program where an active duty member may be awarded their associate degree in two semesters upon completing their core class requirements with Wiregrass. The on-base classes are military friendly, running one night a week for five weeks. A new class starts every five weeks, and the curriculum is portable, meaning if the member deploys, they can continue learning with their in-class peers. Wiregrass also allows for an acclimation period for deployed members because we understand that connectivity issues and learning a new job are side effects of living in a deployed area. The military member will be able to pick up where they left off and complete the class.
During the pandemic last year, Veterans Support tailored their services to ensure each student had the ability to contact community and Veteran resources while on campus. An orientation was implemented to explain the certification process, available services, VA debt payment process, and familiarize them with Veterans Support Staff members. Temple scheduled Vet Wednesday virtual meetings to discuss VA updates, important campus information, introduced them to community resource members, a student Q&A session, followed by a campus visit with the Vet Center. The Vet Center provided virtual mental health counselling to all Veterans or any student experiencing a crisis. Students were able to schedule virtual meetings with Veterans Support Staff as well as limited in-person meetings. They have since returned to providing all services in person while still offering a virtual format for some events if requested or needed.
Not only is Wiregrass helping our military and veterans earn their associate degrees quicker while allowing them to use their work history and training to earn college credit too, but also providing services to help make their college experience the best it can be. The office of Military and Veteran Services works to ensure a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life by offering a one-on-one advising session with each new veteran student and a Military Support Orientation for new students at the start of each semester. The orientation is a time for new students to learn more about the education benefits certification process, campus life, special population support (students with PTSD, TBI, physical disability, or any learning disorder), available scholarships, veteran organizations, and available tutoring services. The Wiregrass Valdosta Military and Veterans Support office is located in the veterans’ lounge area, where veterans have the opportunity to utilize computers and study between classes. The lounge also has video capabilities so spouses can contact their deployed family members any time during school hours. Veterans Support offices will soon be located on each of the four main campuses and manned with VA work study students. Wiregrass supports VA work study students by providing excellent education and job experience opportunities while attending college to alleviate a gap on their resume.
Tabora Temple works closely with active military and veterans on all campuses and serves as the advisor for the Student Veterans of America student organization, which allows for students to become actively involved on campus. The SVA group meets monthly, organizes fundraisers and awareness events, participates in community events for military awareness and support, and works with Career Services and other labor organizations on employment opportunities for veterans.
To contact the Wiregrass Georgia Technical College offices located at Moody AFB, please call Marcia Lorden, Satellite Services Coordinator, at 229-253-9571, Marvin Martin, Military and Veterans Services Technician or Tabora Temple, Military and Veteran Services Director, at 229-333-2100 ext. 2001. Be sure and visit www.wiregrass.edu for information on military related services. Wiregrass is currently accepting new students for Fall Semester; classes begin August 19. To view the complete listing of 2021 Best for Vets colleges, visit https://colleges.militarytimes.com/.