Sometimes Jace Brooks doesn't want to get out of bed in the morning. The 11-year-old has started down a weary medical path to identifying his long-term illness as leukemia, said his mother Melissa Murdock.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Sometimes Jace Brooks doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. The 11-year-old has started down a weary medical path to identifying his long-term illness as leukemia, said his mother Melissa Murdock.
“He doesn’t feel good,” she said. “He just wants to sleep. It used to be a fight to get him up and to school, but since I’ve started going to college, our mornings are spent getting ready together.”
When Murdock, 33, completed eight years of service in the U.S. Army, she moved to Kingman to be close to her mother. She never planned to go to college.
“I couldn’t find a job,” she said. “Companies were telling me that I was either over qualified or under qualified. I decided pursuing an education in the healthcare industry would make sense for the job demand in Mohave County.”
Murdock enrolled in Mohave Community College in the spring 2011 and said her dedication started to inspire her son. They now get ready for school together and do homework together.
“Sometimes he says he doesn’t want to do his homework after school, but then I have him come over and take a look at mine and all of a sudden, his seems so much easier,” she said, laughing. “The mornings are much easier now, too. When I was working, it didn’t seem to make a difference to him, but now that I’m going to school – just like he has to – it’s not so hard getting him out of the house. But without my Post-9/11 GI Bill, there is no way I’d be able to go back to school. They military has handled everything.”
Murdock is just one of a growing number of veterans in Mohave County who are taking advantage of their education benefits. Veteran enrollment in Mohave Community College increased by slightly more than 12 percent between the Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 semesters.
“We’ve had quite a few new students enroll,” said MCC’s Veterans Service Coordinator Eric Corder. “I see them enroll in a variety of programs including engineering, culinary arts, welding, nursing, dental hygiene and business.”
MCC is approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA ) to enroll eligible veterans, widows and dependents.　The VA will only approve funding for veterans who are taking classes toward a certificate or an associate degree.
MCC offers a general studies associate of applied science degree, which allows students to take a variety of courses to help find a career path that appeals to them. Once enrolled, they can change to that degree program.
MCC has multiple agreements with four-year colleges and universities nationwide to seamlessly transfer students’ MCC credits to those institutions toward a bachelor’s degree.
The VA offers seven different educational benefits to veterans, Corder said. Currently, the most frequently used is the Post-9/11 GI Bill available to veterans who received an honorable discharge after serving at least 90 days of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, he said. Other veteran benefit programs, like the Montgomery GI Bill, cover education expenses for eligible veterans who served prior to Sept. 10, 2001.
Corder also attributed the increase in enrollment to the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program ( VRAP ), a VA program that offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans. He said 17 students had enrolled in MCC since July 1, when the federal benefit was first offered.
Connie Hall, a disabled veterans’ outreach specialist based in Kingman, Ariz., said applications are still available for qualifying vets, who are between the ages of 35 and 60 who were honorably discharged.
“VRAP provides local training that is more accessible and affordable for our veterans,” Hall said. “It’s not putting our veterans in deep debt, so they can get a little extra training and they can be more competitive. The best part is they can only receive training for high-demand jobs, which gives them a better chance at finding a job after they complete the program.”
When Hall first started working at the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Employment Service division in Mohave County nearly three years ago, she said maybe 10 percent of the veterans she assisted were going to college. Today, she estimates that percentage is closer to 60 percent.
“MCC has a wide variety of programs to offer our veterans and that has been tremendous,” she said. “Our older veterans have been getting laid off from companies that are closing down. And they have been finding it really hard to get back into the job market without having some extra education. The number of veterans going back to school has increased immensely.”
Murdock said she’s going to continue to pursuit becoming a phlebotomist while enjoying the extra time she gets to spend with her son.
“My going to school doesn’t give him anything to complain about,” she said. “If I can do it, so can he. It’s almost like we have something new in common.”
Interested veterans can start their MCC enrollment process by first applying for their VA benefits. Once they’ve applied, veterans can take proof of their applications to MCC to begin their enrollment process.
“Once they’ve applied, they don’t want to delay,” Corder said. “They want to get in early. There is one veteran advisor on each campus. The Post-9/11 GI Bill not only covers tuition and fees, but offers a monthly housing allowance and book stipends are provided. The funding is available to them if they served after Sept. 10, 2001, they just don’t realize it. Our goal is just to get that message out to our veteran community.
“These men and women have served our country and we want to be able to give back to them for what they’ve done for us: fighting for our freedom and putting their lives on the line for us. It’s hard to imagine that someone is willing to die for us. We want to be able to provide more for them because they are willing to do that,” Corder added.
Veterans can learn more about their federal education benefits by going to www.gibill.va.gov. Call ( 866 ) MOHAVE CC to find the veterans advisor on the nearest MCC campus.
Registration for MCC’s Spring 2013 semester has begun. Interested veterans are urged to start the application process immediately. Students can access the Spring 2013 class schedule online by visiting www.mohave.edu/schedule.
To learn about the admissions process, contact a student services specialist on the nearest MCC campus by calling MCC Connect at 866 MOHAVE CC or ( 866-664-2832 ). The center is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, 365 days a year. Corder can be reached at ( 928 ) 681-5668.
Veterans interested in the VRAP should first call the DES Employment Service office nearest them: Bullhead City ( 928 ) 763-4154, Kingman ( 928 ) 753-4333 and Lake Havasu City ( 928 ) 854-0350. Veterans living in the North Mohave County area are asked to call the DES Kingman office.
This story was released on 2012-11-12. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.