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University News | veterans

In Tough Economy, Veterans Upward Bound Offers Free Academic Services to Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Careers

By Jeff Murphy, May 29, 2020

VUB

WARRENSBURG, MO – The national pandemic has resulted in tough economic conditions, affecting many people who have been victims of business closures, furloughs, and cutbacks. In the current employment climate, veterans wanting to make a transition to civilian life may want to consider opportunities provided through Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) to begin preparation for a new career.

Through Veterans Upward Bound, the University of Central Missouri helps those who fought for their country obtain educational assistance they need to prepare for a new career path. VUB serves a 10-county area, and is a federally funded TRIO program made possible by a U.S. Department of Education grant. It is a free program designed to help veterans refresh their academic skills and give them the confidence they need to successfully obtain a college degree or pursue other post-secondary education opportunities that will help them transition into civilian jobs.

Veterans Upward Bound is to work with veterans to be better prepared to pursue higher education programs that can help them obtain valuable knowledge and skills needed in today’s job market. This is accomplished through an individualistic approach with each veteran, said Tonya Kuranda, director of VUB and a United States Air Force veteran.

“When a veteran walks in our office and becomes a participant in the program, we make it a priority to build a relationship of trust and authenticity,” she said. “Each veteran has a unique story and plan for their future, however, all of them require a strong foundation out of the gate as they pursue their education.”

She added that veterans also have different options for interacting with office staff, other than an actual visit to campus. VUB can accommodate veterans virtually.

“We can help via zoom, telephone and e-mail, which is important during the current pandemic. It no longer needs to be an office appointment,” Kuranda said.

To meet veterans’ needs, VUB offers specific tools that include academic coaching and tutoring, admission preparation, assistance with scholarships, financial literacy, GI Bill assistance, and career assistance. Program staff are located in Administration Building 196 on the UCM campus, but VUB has outreach that extends to veterans who reside in Benton, Cooper, Johnson, Morgan, Ray, Carroll, Henry, Lafayette, Pettis, and Saline counties. The goal is to help veterans pursue their education, which may include seeking a four-year college degree, or enrolling in vocational school or a certificate program. Whatever the choice, location is no problem.

“We assist our veterans no matter where they want to go to school. We have even helped one of our veterans go to school in Australia,” Kuranda said.

VUB will provide assistance with applications to a college or university of choice, personalized counseling for degree and career selection. It also will connect veterans with outside available resources, and develop an individualized academic plan based on their personal needs and desire.

VUB also offers basic skills development to help veterans successfully complete a high school equivalency program (if needed) and gain admission to college education programs; and short-term remedial or refresher classes in areas such as math, science, reading, literature, composition, and computer basics for high school graduates who have put off pursuing a college education. Some services such as tutoring can be conducted online.

To be eligible for participation in VUB, an individual must have at least 180 days of active duty service in the military or qualifying reserve time and any discharge other than dishonorable.

To find out about eligibility and to have other questions answered about Veterans Upward Bound, call 660-543-8124, email vub@ucmo.edu or visit the VUB website.

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