“When I first came home from Afghanistan in December 2003, I couldn’t find my way. I felt like I didn’t fit into my life anymore. Within a few months I was homeless and on drugs,” recalled Jennifer Grubb, BSN-RN, a Delaware County Community College (DCCC) alumna and United States Army veteran whose first day of basic training was September 11, 2001. “After my experience, I felt called to help our veterans coming home and I needed the education to make that dream a reality. Community college was the right fit for me.”
Ms. Grubb found therapy a few years after her discharge, and she says she now has ways to function. She’s seen many veterans struggle like she did after coming home and wants to be part of the solution. After graduating from DCCC, she transferred and earned two bachelor’s degrees – one from Drexel University and one from Immaculata University – and is now currently pursuing a master’s degree. She works full-time for the Coatesville Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center as she raises her three children and continues to advocate for programs and policies that benefit veterans reentering society after combat.
“When I decided what I wanted to do with my life, colleges wouldn’t even look at me, even after I served our country. That’s why community colleges are so important; they give opportunity to people who wouldn’t otherwise have it,” said Ms. Grubb. “Now look at me. I’m a nurse, a mom, a wife – all these wonderful things I can be proud of. I’m grateful that community college was my steppingstone to get where I wanted to go.”
Pennsylvania community colleges recognize the sacrifice of those who have served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces and are honored to assist those who have served our country. This year, for example, DCCC received a Military Friendly® School Gold Designation from VIQTORY, a service-disabled, veteran-owned, small business that publishes G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse and a variety of other publications.
Veterans, servicemembers, survivors, and spouses or dependents of a veteran may be eligible for veterans’ educational benefits to help achieve educational goals. Many community colleges offer an office or resource center dedicated to services for veterans on their campuses where veterans, servicemembers, spouses or dependents can receive assistance with their transition to college life, learn about educational benefits and work-study opportunities, or meet with other veterans. The departments also provide referrals for campus and community services for veterans. At some colleges, veterans can receive college credit for some of their military training, including basic training.
Specific military and veteran services vary by community college. Please click on a link in the list of offerings and designations below to learn more about a college or program.
- Community College of Allegheny County
- Community College of Beaver County
- Bucks County Community College
- Butler County Community College
- Delaware County Community College
- HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
- Erie County Community College of PA
- Lehigh Carbon Community College
- Luzerne County Community College
- Montgomery County Community College
- Northampton Community College
- Pennsylvania Highlands Community College
- Community College of Philadelphia
- Reading Area Community College
- Westmoreland County Community College
Read more of Ms. Grubb’s story in the 2021-22 issue of Ignite Magazine, on pages 24 and 25.