Archive for the ‘veterans’ Category

MFS15_200x200St. Petersburg College has been named a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media, Inc.

SPC was recognized for going above and beyond to provide transitioning veterans the best possible experience in higher education.

Victory Media is a veteran-owned business that surveys thousands of institutions and compiles lists that capture best practices in recruitment and retention of military personnel and civilian employees, students and franchisees.

Its lists of Military Friendly Employers, Schools, Franchises and Cities are published annually in G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines.

View all participating institutions on the list of Military Friendly Schools for 2015.

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Students from the Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Men Achieving eXcellence (MAX) clubs at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus volunteer at the Pinellas Hope Catholic Charities homeless shelter.

Students from the Student Veterans Association and Men Achieving eXcellence clubs at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus volunteer at the Pinellas Hope Catholic Charities homeless shelter.

The Student Veterans Association and Men Achieving eXcellence organizations at St. Petersburg College served those in need at a homeless shelter in Clearwater on Saturday, July 26.

“We got a lot accomplished that day,” said Jeff Thomas, treasurer of the SVA at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. A group of nine students from the two clubs and MAX’s club advisor volunteered their time to clean the kitchen and spray for bugs at the Pinellas Hope Catholic Charities homeless shelter.

“It was hard manual labor, but we worked as a team and got it done,” Thomas said. “Overall, it was a very successful event.”

Student veteran Christopher Clark said he found the experience initially very shocking.

“When we first got there, we found out how many homeless veterans we have in the area who are living in tents and in some limited facilities,” said Clarke, President of the SVA at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. “While they didn’t have much, they were giving everything they could to help support us.”

“They were so very appreciative for the help we gave them,” Thomas said. One of the student veterans brought his son with him to volunteer, putting him to work taking out loads of trash.

“I was very proud of our SVA at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus for the way they stepped into the community service role,” said Jeff Cavanagh, Director of Veterans Services at SPC. “They continue to shine for St. Petersburg College in that aspect.”

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State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater announced Wednesday at a press conference at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater Campus that he will sponsor a bill in the Florida Senate that would clear the way for the children of undocumented residents to pay in-state tuition in Florida.

State Rep. Ed Hooper of Clearwater joined Latvala in support.


Latvala said he “decided in good conscience that there’s no reason the parents’ immigration status should be the determining factor of the tuition that our young people pay. Taxpayers in Florida get a reduced tuition rate….In this particular case, these children are the children of taxpayers in Florida who pay our sales tax, who pay our gas taxes, in many cases pay other taxes.

“I just think this is a disparity and a discriminatory issue that needs to go away,” he said.

The bill also includes language that would allow honorably discharged veterans to pay in-state tuition.

The legislators were joined for the announcement by SPC President Bill Law; Clearwater Campus Provost Stan Vittetoe; Sandra Lyth, CEO of the InterCultural Advocacy Institute (Hispanic Outreach Center); Maria Edmonds, chairwoman of the Juvenile Welfare Board; and three SPC students.

Celeste Pioquinto, 17, who is an Early College student at the college, said she was born and raised in Clearwater, has attended Pinellas schools all her life and has always been on the honor roll.

“Ever since elementary school, I have dreamed about college or university. Now instead of dreaming it, I am preparing for it. I have applied to universities. I have applied for scholarships, but there is a barrier. I am not eligible for in-state tuition despite being documented because my parents are both undocumented,” she said. “This bill not only affects me, but affects many of my close relations.”

See more: Watch the video on the college’s YouTube channel.

See more: View photos from the conference on SPC’s Facebook page.

Read more: Coverage in the Tampa Tribune

Read more: Coverage in the Tampa Bay Times

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The Westcare Foundation and the St. Petersburg College Center for Public Safety Innovation present nationally renowned experts, speakers and authors Edward Tick, Ph.D, and Kate Dahlstedt, MA, LMHC, for a workshop titled “Effective Approaches for Skilled Helpers Working with Veterans.”

The day-long session will explore the emotional, moral and spiritual wounds of veterans, their families and community. Trainers will also focus on understanding and healing from post-traumatic stress disorder and military sexual trauma.

The workshop is from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 28, at the Allstate Center, 3200 34th St. S, St. Petersburg.

Attendance is free, but registration is required by Wednesday, Jan. 22. To register, email Mary.Coburn@westcare.com.

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A Veterans Day message written by Charlie Glegg, president of the Student Veterans Association at St. Petersburg College’s St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

It’s raining…… no, it’s more like a steady drizzle. The cold twilight has faded into a full dark void. Bad weather to jump from an airplane, even if that jump is not far from the ground. Twinkling not far in the distance are flashes; some are silver, some are gold and some are white hot. This is not fire from an unseen enemy; this is light playing off the instruments of a marching band and the flashes of cameras. The jump made today is off the ramp of a C 141 at 2-feet AGL (above ground level) on to Green Ramp, Pope Air Force Base, N.C., mid-November 1983. A little island nation called Grenada has its once freedom again. The first unit from the 82nd Airborne division to go to combat since Vietnam is also the first unit to return.

Falling in by platoon, the men of Alpha Company prepare to march back with swagger and pride in true paratrooper fashion. One lowly PFC looks over to see his platoon sergeant, SFC Kotisinski crying uncontrollably as he becomes overwhelmed by the whole scene of the brass band, high ranking brass, and families as far as one can see. The PFC asks, “Sgt. Ski, what is wrong man?” SFC Kotisinski brushes his rain soaked tears away. He takes a somewhat choked breath and answers, “It wasn’t like this when we came back from Vietnam.”  Without knowing the impact of his act, the PFC reaches out a hand and says, “Welcome home Ski!” This earned more tears from a warrior so long denied that simple recognition.

Flash forward to now: Veterans Day is upon us again. What does this day mean to you? Is it a day off? Is it a day you don’t have to deal with the challenges of school or work? Or is it a day you watch the news and think, “Wow, if it wasn’t for the men and women past, present and the future that wear the uniform of the USA, I could be living in some nightmare where all I take for granted is lost?” For as long as men and women wear that uniform and take an oath to uphold our constitution and protect our country from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, we will never have to live in the fear of experiencing that nightmare.

As Americans, we tend to disagree with one another from time to time. Our personal views on politics, government policies, religion, as well as a host of other issues, will never be in sync and that is just fine. As Americans, we have those rights to disagree and voice our opinions and beliefs as provided to all of us by our Constitution. In my humble opinion, there is one fact that I believe we all should agree upon. In our past history, it has been proven that whenever a foreign or domestic entity felt the need to threaten our freedoms and way of life, Americans do unite as one! The men and women of our armed forces, as the “tip of the spear,” have been, and will always be, prepared to defend our great nation regardless of the cost of their great sacrifices. With myself being the young PFC mentioned above on Green Ramp that cold November day, I can attest to that fact personally. So on this Veterans Day when you come across a hero who has worn the uniform and made those sacrifices, please put out your hand and say, “Thank you” and “Welcome home!” We, as Americans, can sleep easy through the night while these heroes stand their post and keep us safe.

Charlie Glegg
President SVA St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, SPC

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SCORE is holding an entrepreneurs’ resource expo for veterans, their immediate family members and active military on Nov.10. The expo, where St. Petersburg College staff will also present educational seminars, is aimed at those who want to be self-employed or want to start or grow a business.

The expo is free to all veterans and their families.

Veteran and entrepreneur Mark Swanson will be the keynote speaker for the event that will be held at the event at the Hilton at Carillon starting at 10 a.m. Swanson also is a partner of the college’s Entrepreneurship Program.

SCORE is a national organization with 365 chapters around the country and more than 13,000 volunteers. The nonprofit association educates entrepreneurs and helps small businesses start, grow and succeed nationwide.

U.S. Small Business Administration survey data clearly indicates that about 40 to 60 percent of veterans think about being self-employed or starting a business. Most of them have no idea where to turn for guidance and assistance without cost to them nor do they know about the many ways to finance a business.

US Census data shows that, within Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota/Manatee, Pasco/Hernando and Polk counties, there are more than 420,000 veterans. Approximately 117,000 are ages 18 to 54 and are prime candidates who at least think of self-employment.

SCORE’s goal is to reach out to veterans and encourage them to learn about available programs and free mentoring that can help them start up and grow their businesses. The organization has about 150 to 200 mentors in the Greater Tampa Bay area.

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LogoSt. Petersburg College is proving why it is consistently recognized as one of the most veteran friendly colleges in the nation.

The college has quickly adapted its policies to help student veterans whose VA education benefits are being adversely affected by the government shutdown.

Regular financial aid has not been affected by the shutdown, but veterans’ benefits have been delayed. So the college is extending the final tuition payment due date for veterans from Oct. 30 to Nov. 30. This will allow the veterans to continue with this semester’s classes unimpeded and to register for next semester without penalty.

“As soon as we realized that our veterans’ benefits were in jeopardy, we worked with our student services and business office staff to give them some relief,” said Jeff Cavanagh, coordinator of Veterans Services at SPC. “We don’t want something that is out of their control to delay our veterans’ progress.”

Over the last three years, St. Petersburg College has been recognized repeatedly for its emphasis on serving veterans.

This week, the college was recognized as a Top Military-Friendly College or University by the Military Advanced Education magazine. The college previously was named the 15th most veteran-friendly in the nation by Military Times Edge magazine, a military publication that assists service members with career preparation

St. Petersburg College’s services for veterans include:

  • Full-service veterans centers on four campuses that offer:
  1. Answers to questions about the GI Bill and veterans education benefits
  2. Information and guidance on registration and residency issues
  3. Advising assistance geared specifically to veterans
  4. Networking and socialization opportunities with other student veterans
  • A veteran-to-veteran tutoring program
  • Veteran Services liaisons on three additional campuses to assist students
  • An active chapter of the Student Veterans of America, a national coalition of more than 850 student veteran organizations in all 50 states
  • Partnership with SCORE Pinellas to offer a Veterans Entrepreneurship Certificate Program to help veterans and their dependents learning to start a business
  • On-campus peer support groups through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • A Student Assistance Program that offers three free confidential counseling sessions per academic year through BayCare Behavioral Health Services
  • A close working relationship with Local Veteran Employment Representatives through WorkNet Pinellas

“SPC recognizes that our veterans require and deserve services and programs to meet their unique needs,” Cavanagh said. “We’re doing everything in our power to meet those needs.”

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