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Record number of military and veterans graduate from MCC

Every year, more than 1,000 students graduate from Metropolitan Community College. The class of graduates is always diverse, including people from all walks of life.

The graduating class of 2020 had a larger number than usual of one group: veterans. This year, 55 veterans graduated from MCC with associate degrees and certificates, a number that MCC Veterans Center director Daniel Mohr was excited to see.

“It is very exciting and serves as a testament to their willingness to follow through and achieve their goals,” Mohr says. “While the current world situation caused MCC to adopt a virtual graduation ceremony this year, veterans must not let the absence of public recognition minimize their achievements or the importance of the support and encouragement they received which enabled them to succeed. Whether that support came from family, friends, peers, or formally through the school, I believe that we can all still feel justifiably excited and proud for this year’s veteran and military graduates and how we positively influenced their accomplishments.”

MCC has long been a popular choice for veterans and military. The College was named a Military Friendly School by GI Jobs Magazine and is an active member of American Council of Education Veteran Friendly Toolkit. MCC also offers many benefits to military and veterans.

Kevin Littleman was one of the 55 veteran graduates. A 26-year United States Air Force vet, Littleman graduated from the Licensed Practical Nursing program and has already passed his nursing boards exams. He enrolled at MCC to help him refresh his general education classes and expedite his skills.

“MCC helped me refresh some of my prerequisite courses I had taken a while ago in quick quarters versus semesters to get me into nursing,” Littleman says. “The nursing program is also geared to get me working in the quickest pace so I can get productive quickly.”

While Littleman was sad not to be able to walk the stage and obtain his diploma, he was celebrating another life event.

“I was busy helping my daughter and son-in-law welcome my new granddaughter into the world,” he says. “While I was in Mississippi, I wished I could be up in Nebraska to do the graduation walk. Since worldwide viruses forced everyone to go with ‘plan B,’ we made the best of it, of course!”

Amber Kennett, a 10-year Air Force vet, also graduated from MCC in May with a degree in Culinary Arts and Management. She heard about MCC through a coworker.

“Omaha is the last place I was stationed so I stayed here,” she explains. “An old coworker of mine went through the culinary program at MCC and recommended it to me. I stayed because I found the program taught me the skills I would need to pursue a culinary career.”

Kennett was able to participate in a virtual graduation ceremony held by the Culinary Arts department. However, her time at MCC is not over.

“I really enjoyed my time at MCC. I liked it so much, I still work at the college,” she says.

Mohr says that with so many degree and certificate options, there is something for all veterans and military looking forward to their next chapter in life.

“The vast array of programs at MCC draws many veterans to the school. Whether the goal is to complete their first two years here and transition to a four-year program, get a two-year degree and enter the workforce, improve their marketability and proficiencies with a few classes, or obtain a career credential, MCC provides a guided pathway for veterans to achieve success.”

The new Veterans and Military Resource Center at the South Omaha Campus was established to help veterans and their families succeed at MCC. Mohr says that continued help and outreach will help grown the number of military and veteran students.

“In collaboration with many of the outstanding support, service and advocacy resources available across MCC, the VMRC will focus on ensuring our students know about and utilize these services making it simpler to connect Veterans to the proper agencies,” he says. “Our goal is to ensure that Veterans know we care about them, that they will not be lost in the mix, that we want them to be successful, and that we are here to help and ready to serve. Providing readily accessible resources, demonstrating a sincere sense of caring, and being available to help are some of the key factors in increasing Veteran success.”

To learn more about veteran programs and resources at the College, visit mccneb.edu/veteranscenter.