North Lake College Vet Center students

North Lake College was recently nominated as a 2016 Bellwether Awards finalist in recognition of its innovative Veterans Affairs Center (Vet Center) and the initiatives the program has taken to foster and promote the success of student veterans. North Lake College was one of 30 colleges nominated in one of the following three award categories: Instructional Programs & Services; Workforce Development; and Planning, Governance & Finance. Although North Lake didn’t win, the college feels the nomination itself validates the work of its Vet Center.

The Vet Center goes beyond standard student support functions and provides comprehensive, one-stop-shop services and support to veteran students including academic advising, certification of educational benefits, career guidance, mental health services and more.

The college’s submission, “No Ordinary Pathways: Understanding the Unique Student Journey,” was entered into the Planning, Governance and Finance category and detailed nearly a decade of the college’s efforts to create a pathway to help veterans successfully navigate and transition to the campus environment and access necessary resources. This was North Lake’s first year as both a nominee and finalist.

The Bellwether Awards recognize outstanding and innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges into the future. The Community College Futures Assembly presented the awards last month at the Hilton Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. For a list of winners, visit http://education.ufl.edu/futures.

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