COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus Technical College is touting its fourth straight year of being a military friendly school. Military friendly schools are chosen based on academic policies, school culture, financial aid and assistance, as well as graduation and retention rates, among other criteria. Military students make up more than 20% of the 5,231 enrollment at Columbus Tech. News 3 caught up with several veterans, who once fought for America. Now they’re fighting for jobs.
“We’ve been trained to be in a constant state of high-ops tempo,” 20-year Air Force veteran Solomon Smith said.
Smith is studying the foundations of sociology at Columbus Tech, so that he can teach kids and teens.
“I just want to give them some background on what the future holds and let them know what they can do,” Smith said. “It can be difficult, transitioning to civilian life. It can be hard. At times, it is hard for a lot of us vets.”
Ten-year Army veteran Shamonica Cuff is taking cosmetology and barbering classes as part of a promise she made to her daughter when she first enlisted.
“I’m going to school so she can see me walk across the stage,” Cuff said. “It’s a big accomplishment. I want her to know it’s a good feeling when you go out there and just chase your dreams.”
Columbus Tech Executive Director of Community and College Relations Cheryl Myers says the military excels at teaching veterans soft skills like passion, work ethic, a good attitude, character and communication. She adds that prospective employers find these intangibles very attractive when searching for employees.
“They have that experience, they have the passion to do the right thing and to show up and to go to work, the work ethic,” Myers said. “We’re just showing them a small token of appreciation for what they do and have done and continue to do, not only for our school but for our country.”
21-year Army veteran Edwin Collazo-Jimenez plans to use his degree to start his own carpet cleaning business.
“I was able to learn and use all these different experiences I had in the military to appreciate what we have in our country now,” Collazo-Jimenez told News 3.