Jul 18, 2013

A Partnership to Support U.S. Military Veterans on Kaua`i

Teresa Makinney, Kaua`i Veterans Employment Counselor with
Workwise Kaua`i; KCC's Mahealani Yamashita and Chancellor Helen Cox,
with Miliatary Affairs Liaison Nathan Miyake and Constituent Services Rep.
Kaulana Finn from U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's office.

U.S. Military Veterans assembled Thursday, July 11 with Nathan Miyake, Military Affairs Liaison and Kaulana Finn, Constituent Services Representative for U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to hear concerns and answer questions from local veterans and military personnel. Kaua`i CC was poised to present information on how the College supports members of the military and local veterans who want to earn a college degree.

Kaua`i CC served as the site for this open session where Liaison Miyake was able to provide one-one consultation with veterans. “We are delighted to host this meeting, said Helen A. Cox, Chancellor for the College. “One of our college initiatives is to reach out to veterans and assist them in whatever way we can and particularly in negotiating higher education. Having this meeting here was a great start to what we hope will be a richer and fuller relationship with the veterans in our community,” said Cox.

Mahealani Yamashita, recently hired by Kaua`i CC as its Career and Transfer Specialist, organized the session. “I want to initiate an island partnership and to do this, make a formal welcome to vets and community partners to Maka hou, see with eyes that are new,” she said as the session opened. A veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, Yamashita served as a Marine Operator with the Detachment Logistics Transportation Unit on Oahu. She was one of three females assigned to serve on the LSV-7 SSGT Robert T. Kuroda ship. At Kaua`i CC, Yamashita serves as a resource point to help students and faculty in developing career pathways and finding programs of study.

Kailana Soto, Kaua`i CC’s Assistant Registrar, serves as the VA School Certifying Official. She reported an enrollment of 41 veterans as students at Kaua`i CC in Spring 2013. Soto provides reports to the VA on students enrolled in colleges and the number of credits they are taking. She also translates military training experience into credits towards earning a college degree. “The Vets are highly motivated and enter college with goals to earn an undergraduate degree and move on to receive a Masters degree,” she said.

Earl Nishiguchi, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs clarified the role the college serves for veterans; “Kaua`i Community College is committed to serving the Veterans by assisting them in enrolling in higher education, career counseling, succeeding in college, and finding a job.”

Teresa Makinney, Veterans Employment & Training Counselor with WorkWise Kaua’i was also at the session to report on job searching and recruiting efforts for veterans on Kaua`i and across the nation via Job Corps Centers. Makinney is a U.S. Navy Veteran.

Stephanie Whiting, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, was also present to encourage veterans, military personnel and their families to take advantage of free counseling services through Give an Hour, a non-profit national network of volunteer mental health professionals.

Important Contact information for Veterans
VA Educational Call Center – 1 (888) 442-4551 (toll free)
Monthly Verification of Enrollment - 1 (877) 823-2378
Direct Deposit enrollment changes – 1 (877) 838-2778
Workwise Kaua`i Veterans Employment Counselor, Teresa Makinney – (808) 274-3056
Give an Hour counselor, Stephanie Whiting – (808) 639-5626
For more information and available resources, please go to: www.gibill.va.gov

Kaua`i CC provides assistance to eligible student Veterans, Active Servicepersons, Dependents, Reservists, and National Guard Members with state and federal educational benefit programs. The VA staff is committed to serving all qualified and disabled veterans and their dependants in their educational pursuits. Kaua`i CC is an approved institution for education and training under the Veteran’s Education Assistance Act (GI Bill) and the Dependent’s Act. Information regarding eligibility, entitlement and types of training authorized may be obtained from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at www.gibill.va.gov or contacting the VA.

Kaua`i Community College Contact Information
Kailana Soto – Kaua`i CC VA School Certifying Official and Assistant Registrar - (808) 245-8224
Mahealani Yamashita, Kaua`i CC Career & Transfer Specialist – (808)245-8394

Types of VA Education Benefits
Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty (MGIB-AD) Program
Training and Rehabilitation for Veterans with Service-connected Disabilities Program
The Post 9/11 GI Bill Program
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Assistance (DEA) Program
Montgomery Bill – Selected Reserve (MBIB-SR) Program
Reserve Educational Assistant Program (REAP)
Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)