NO ONE LEFT BEHIND
Armed Forces Student Center opens at WCTC to prepare vets for missions ahead

By KATHERINE MICHALETS - Freeman Staff

January 23, 2016

 

Mitchell Woytych shares how the new Armed Forces Student Center at Waukesha County Technical College will help his fellow student veterans at the school on Friday.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff

PEWAUKEE - Gripping the wooden podium and leaning forward as he addressed the group gathered Friday morning at the new Armed Forces Student Center at Waukesha County Technical College, Mitchell Woytych said the center will be a place for his fellow student veterans to see friendly faces.

“What this center means to me is no one is left behind,” Woytych said.

He and Catherine Habron, WCTC Student Veterans of America student chapter president and a student veteran, welcomed guests and shared their thoughts on what the center will mean to the approximate 190 student veterans at the school.

A $10,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation Vet-Center and the SVA helped to fund construction of the center and the purchase of new furniture, appliances and carpeting.
 

 

Catherine Habron, WCTC SVA student chapter president and a student veteran, explains the benefits of having the Armed Forces Student Center at Waukesha County Technical College on Friday.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff

The facility in room C-016 of the College Center is designed to assist active military, veterans and their family members with transitions from the military to college and college to career. Inside the center, students can work with veteran specialists to assist with educational benefits, plus access a lounge and quiet study area and a resource room staffed on a rotating basis by experts in advising, counseling, employment, accessibility and military benefits. There will also be veterans clubs events and student support services and other resources.

Habron said she decided to attend WCTC because the staff was able to help her with the transition.

“The transition is definitely different for everyone,” she said. “Thank you everyone for supporting us veterans.”

State Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha, shared how his military experience provided important training for his career.

After high school, Allen volunteered for the United States Army Reserve. During his six-year service he was promoted to sergeant and earned the Wisconsin Reserve Military Achievement Award. “Transitions cause anxiety,” he said. “The military prepares you for adversity.”
 

 

The new Armed Forces Student Center at Waukesha County Technical College.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Allen said when he went to college, he was worried about how he would do, but he found the listening skills he developed during basic training helped him a great deal.

“The funny thing with military service is often you get more out of it than what you put in,” he said.

Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy said with the strong military presence in Wisconsin, there is more emphasis on making the technical colleges a “welcoming place for veterans to take a step toward their careers.”
 

 

Nathan Handle, a veteran of National Guard service in Afghanistan and an accounting student at Waukesha County Technical College talks with Sue Schroeder, a military benefits specialist, in the new Armed Forces Student Center at WCTC.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Since the Wisconsin G.I. Bill was enacted, Foy said, there has been a sharp increase in veterans enrolling at the technical colleges.

Foy said the Armed Forces Student Center will make it easier to have access to valuable resources.

“This has to be a whole college effort,” she said.

Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com