TCL celebrates grand opening of Veteran Resource Center

Photo above from left: Alice Howard, Beaufort County Council; Bill Herbkersman, S.C. House of Representatives; Gen. Arthur E. Brown Jr., TCL Commission Chairman; Paul Merritt, TCL Director of Military Training & Education; Christina Welsch-Copeland, TCL Transitioning Military Training Program Administrator; Dr. Richard Gough, TCL President; and Weston Newton, S.C. House of Representatives. Photo by Jordan Long.

Appropriately held on Veterans Day, the national holiday that honors all those who have served in the military, Technical College of the Lowcountry hosted a grand opening of its Veterans Resource Center (VRC).

The VRC, located in MacLean Hall at the TCL Beaufort Campus, will provide assistance and coordination of veterans’ education benefits, admissions, registration, financial aid and transition resources to active-duty service members, veterans and their families.

“The VRC is the perfect way for TCL to show our appreciation and give back to these great American men and women who themselves have given so much,” President Richard Gough said. Paul Merritt, director of military training and education agrees. “The process of choosing a career, enrolling in college and then paying for it can be very overwhelming and complex, especially for our veterans. The VRC provides a way for us to personally walk them through the process and help them get where they want to be,” Merritt said.

The VRC is the latest addition to TCL’s renewed commitment to offering exceptional services to the military community. In November 2011, the college began its Transitioning Military Training Program to assist transitioning military members with refining their skills to match the demands of employers throughout the region. Since then, the program has helped more than 50 individuals attain their FAA license and more than 80 individuals attain their FCC license. Many of these students now work in civilian companies such as Boeing, Gulfstream, Pilatus Aviation, Interstate Turbine Management, Mobile Communications Incorporated and more. Other graduates have chosen to remain on active duty, where they have applied their newly attained knowledge and skills to positively impact their units.

TCL’s aviation technology programs are growing and feature a new aviation lab complete with an operational Cessna 150, a JT-60 jet engine and a variety of high-tech aviation maintenance and manufacturing equipment. TCL also has staff available on both Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station and classes are being held on base.

These accomplishments have been greatly dependent on funding by the State as well as personal gifts. Other contributions have been used to establish two new veteran scholarship funds to support educational costs unmet by the GI Bill and State and Federal assistance programs. The Moss Creek Marines Heroes Helping Heroes Scholarship provides financial support for marines and sailors enrolled in TCL workforce certification programs. The Veterans Scholarship Forever Fund provides support for military veterans and their dependents.

TCL, named a “Military Friendly School,” is an approved institution for administering the educational benefit programs of the Veterans Administration (VA) as well as a member of the Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium and the SOC Degree Network System.

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