Each November, I am struck by the proximity between Veterans Day and the two fall events which precede it: the anniversary of 9/11 and Election Day. The extra special nature of 9/11 this year was the celebration of the 20th anniversary of an American catastrophe turned into American triumph. Election Day, as it always does, reassures us – everyday Americans that we are – that we have the power to define or redefine our government with ballots instead of bullets. This democratic franchise is a treasured right, one never to be taken for granted, and one protected by the men and women in our Armed Forces whom we honor on Veterans Day.
CCBC works hard to repay this gift by offering to veterans – both employees and students – the very best we can. Our efforts have been rewarded once again this year with the designation of a “Military Friendly” institution by Military Times Magazine. Having raised the recruitment of veterans and military personnel to a strategic enrollment priority, the good work of our Veterans Services team, ably led by Dr. Derrick Little, and now joined by our new recruiter, Denise Bice, has also resulted in multiple grants from funders such as the Department of Labor and the Kisco Foundation. The latter, an advocacy organization for veterans, has honored CCBC twice with its prestigious Kohlberg Prize to Community Colleges for Excellence in Veterans Education.
Especially notable in a year still shaped by a pandemic are two new initiatives designed to support struggling veterans. CCBC has embraced the new Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP), designed to assist veterans to enroll in short-term credentials. In addition, CCBC is celebrating a gift from Comcast that will include laptop donations to a group of veterans as well as scholarship support for workforce certifications.
As the COVID – 19 cloud still hovers over us, we will not engage in the customary ceremonial events on each campus. Nonetheless, our Veteran Military Services team created a virtual ceremony to duly honor our Veteran community. I encourage you to watch and enjoy.