Helping veterans acclimate to civilian life is one mission Chattahoochee Technical College takes seriously.
To help further that mission, the college will host its second Veteran and Family Member Benefit Expo Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Metro campus, Building D, at 5198 Ross Road in Acworth.
The free summit will bring together more than 20 resources that offer support for veterans as well as their family members who may be struggling to adapt to civilian life. Lunch also will be provided.
“There is no one we owe a greater debt of gratitude to than the men and women who have fought for our freedom,” CTC Veteran Service Coordinator Dr. Barry Munday said. “A transitioning veteran does not know what they do not know about benefits and services. We want them to be as successful as possible in their future, and awareness is the toughest part of that battle. We appreciate their commitment to earning a degree and pursing their career aspirations.”
The expo is designed to inform military personnel, veterans and their families about “benefits, services and support channels in our college and in the local area,” and those who attend will have the opportunity to talk to representatives from more than 20 support services to gain a better insight into what resources are available to them, Munday said.
“The underlying objective is to reach out to those military-affiliated members of our community and provide an opportunity for them to learn more about earned benefits and services as well,” he said.
Those invited to the expo include guardsmen and reservists from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, the more than 700 veterans and veteran family members enrolled at CTC and other veterans living in the college’s six-county service area and beyond.
Among the participating vendors are Cobb County Veterans Court; COBB Works; CTC Veteran Services, Career Services and Special Populations departments; the Georgia Department of Veterans Services’ Bartow and Cherokee field offices; the Georgia Department of Labor Veteran Services Career Center; Goodwill of North Georgia; Shepherd Center SHARE Military Initiative; and Reinhardt University.
The college’s inaugural resource expo last spring served more than 100 military members, veterans and veteran family members who learned about resume-building, networking opportunities and acclimating to civilian life.
“We were extremely satisfied with the outcome of last year’s veteran summit and are proud to offer this event again,” Munday said. “Our intentions are to help bridge the gap between our veteran population and local businesses in our service area looking for highly qualified applicants.”
Two CTC employees who are veterans found the expo to be very helpful.
“I have friends and a family member with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], and the information regarding assistance was very enlightening,” said Technology Advancement and Support Technician Fred Nutter, who was a specialist 5 in the Army. “It covered things to help the veteran cope with PTSD.”
The 67-year-old Acworth resident, a “veteran of the Vietnam era and always interested in events concerning fellow veterans,” added the expo was “informative and very supportive of veterans.”
Police Chief Charles Spann, who was a technical sergeant when he was honorably discharged from the Air Force, said he attended the event because he feels a “deep devotion and commitment to the U.S. military.”
“The program was excellent,” the Kennesaw resident, 62, said. “Wish it were done more often.”
The feedback the college received from last year’s event “included a desire to learn more about benefits,” Munday said.
“This year, we will have additional representatives from veteran service and support organizations to meet those needs,” he said. “The event will also include break-out sessions, during which veteran and veteran family members can learn about creating budgets, gain insight to writing the perfect resume and hear about education benefits.”
Munday is hoping for an even bigger turnout than last spring.
“With more than 700 veteran and veteran family members currently enrolled at Chattahoochee Technical College, we are expecting a significant amount of attendees,” he said. “The event is also open to the community at large, and we invite all veterans and veteran family members to please join us at the expo.”
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