The bid to hire a vet is getting a boost from the Maricopa County Community Colleges as plans are underway for a center to help veterans going back to school. The proposed center aims to help veterans every step of the way—from transitioning back into civilian

life, to their education, job placement and housing. It’s all part of the new Veterans Success Initiative launched this year.

Army veteran Kyle Mitchell, who’s studying accounting at South Mountain Community College, says the initiative has made a difference in his life. Mitchell, who’s been out of the service since 2009, says the struggle to shift gears from a military to a civilian life is real. He says, in the military, you’re subjected to a regimented schedule 24-7, whereas things are much more relaxed as a civilian, and that adjustment does not come easy.

Mary O’Connor with Maricopa County Community Colleges says the workplace doesn’t fully understand the unique qualities of vets; the infrastructure must be in place to accommodate their experience and challenges such as P-T-S-D. But, she notes, with the Phoenix-area being a haven for military facilities like Boeing, graduating students have a greater chance of landing a job in their field without pulling up stakes to move elsewhere. And, O’Connor says, the skills veterans acquired during their years in the services can sometimes be a short cut to their degree if those skills are transferrable in their major.

–Barbara Villa