Kauai Community College opens doors to vets

PUHI — A Thursday meeting proved to be a good start for supporting veterans in the future, said Kauai Community College Chancellor Helen Cox.

Veterans, KCC faculty and representatives from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office met Thursday at the college’s One Stop Center.

“One of our college initiatives is to reach out to veterans and assist them in whatever way we can, particularly in negotiating higher education,” Cox said.

Kaulana Finn, Kauai’s Constituent Services representative, and Nathan Miyake, Gabbard’s military liaison, met with Kauai veterans and the public on casework issues.

During the one-to-one meeting with veterans and others, Miyake and Finn listened to concerns and answered questions from the veterans and military personnel.

“I want to initiate an island partnership,” said Mahealani Yamashita, recently hired as KCC’s career and transfer specialist. “To do this, I want to make a formal welcome to veterans and other community partners to maka hou, or see with eyes which are new.”

Earl Nishiguchi, KCC vice chancellor for Student Affairs, clarified the role Kauai Community College plays for veterans.

“Kauai 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,” he said.

The Veterans Affairs staff includes Kailana Soto, KCC’s assistant registrar and the VA school certifying official.

Soto said during the spring 2013 semester, she reported an enrollment of 41 veterans as Kauai Community College students.

Soto also translates military training experience into credits toward earning a college degree.

“The veterans are highly motivated and enter college with goals to earn an undergraduate degree, moving on to receive a master’s degree,” she said.

Visit www.gibill.va.gov for information regarding eligibility, entitlement and types of training authorized from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or call Yamashita at 245-8394.

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