Felix Madrid, a veteran student, speaks at the opening of the Military Network (Courtesy of Austin Community College)
Austin Community College opened a first-of-its-kind Military Network on Wednesday to help veterans and their families adjust to life after the military.
The space, located at the ACC Highland campus, includes the already existing Veterans Resource Center and a new Military Families Center. The Veterans Resource Center, established in 2018, serves as a central hub for veterans. The Military Families Center will take a more holistic approach to serving individuals by welcoming both military families and veterans.
“We want this to be a place to feel at home [where people] can come and do whatever it is they need to do. Bring their children, there will be a children’s spot for books and activities,” said Molly Beth Malcolm, ACC Executive Vice Chancellor Operations & Public Affairs.
Through the network, families will gain access to ACC and partner programs, resources, and events such as the Dress for Success Financial Literacy Program, ACC Career Services, and Digital Fluency programs. The network also offers mutual support groups, co-working spaces, networking opportunities, and peer support groups.
“[Military families] basically uproot everything that we know and transplant it to a different place,” said Samantha Payne, an Army spouse. “So think of your doctors, your children’s schools, everything gets changed. It is really important to have a place to come to get information that you need without having to make a billion phone calls.”
Ivan Bolden, transitioning Chief of Army Partnerships and chairman of the Joint Services Partnership Committee, said ACC’s Military Network is breaking new ground.
“Since I was the director of partnerships for the Army, I like doing first of a kind things,” Bolden said. “This is innovative.”
Felix Madrid, an ACC veteran student, said ACC has helped him throughout a tough transition process. “It is not an easy process, I am telling you right now,” Madrid said. “There is a lot of paperwork, whether it is the federal and state, and to get all of them together, for kids to go together or spouses, it is even more hurdles to do. But with this group of folks, these specialists, these professionals, they make it wonderful.”
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