Steve McRavin, Director of Recruitment, Testing, and Outreach, coordinated with the Army Career Alumni Program (ACAP) on Joint Base Lewis McChord to begin regular visits to the college for transitioning military service members. The first visit took place on Jan. 8 and included an information session, a meeting with the college’s President, Vice President of Student Services, and the Veteran Team Members,
lunch, and a campus tour.
“This is a model that was started about two months ago that was adapted from Fort Carson, Colorado and it has really been a successful model, and so now JBLM has started here in Washington State,” said McRavin.
“All the ACAP classes are mandated by Congress, so we’re making it possible for those students that are transitioning to get all the information they need in order for them to make a well informed decision about what they want to do once they transition out of the army,” said ACAP employee Tim Smart.
According to McRavin, the purpose of the visit is to inform transitioning service members about SPSCC and the programs and resources that are available.
“It was very informative about how we can use our benefits,” said Sergeant Juan Morales. “No one really
tells you when you come into the military, or any branch of the service, how your benefits work. So they break it down how you can use it, what the limits of it are, and how you can just continue education.”
The information session also included information about the difference between transfer degrees and technical degrees, veteran resources, counseling services, and the learning center.
“I thought especially the information about financial aid was probably the most helpful because it applies to everyone,” said Sergeant Matthew Sheridan.
The campus tour took the servicemembers to all of the technical programs, the service areas, student life, enrollment services, financial aid, and all of the buildings around campus.
“It’s just a good experience to get onto a college campus, get the feel for what a college campus feels like,” said Specialist Steven Sullivan. “A lot of people in the military, they’ve never been on a college campus, they joined right out of high school. They don’t know what it’s like; they might find it scary and this is very disarming, a nice way to acclimate yourself to what a college campus actually feels like.”
“I am hoping that we will have the opportunity to do this at least two to three times a year,” said McRavin. “My expectations may be a little high but I think that with the number of servicemembers and family members of servicemembers that we have in this community that this would be something that would be a necessity.”
According to McRavin, approximately 32 to 40 percent of veterans that are based at JBLM live in the Thurston county area, the college’s service area.
“This is a great opportunity. As a Vietnam era veteran myself for over 20 years, this was not available for us,” said McRavin. “So I’m just very passionate about this…This is an honor for me to be a part of this.”