A Partnership to Support U.S. Military Veterans on Kaua`i

Kauaʻi Community College
Camilla Matsumoto, (808) 245-8280
Comm Outreach & Spec Projects, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Jul 12, 2013


(Lihue) — Kaua'i Community College held an open session for military veterans with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's Military Affairs and Kaua'i liaisons on July 11, to assist local veterans, members of the military, and the public with casework issues. U.S. Military Affairs Liaison Nathan Miyake and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's Constituent Services Representative Kaulana Finn provided one-on-one consultations with veterans, while Kaua'i CC shared information to members of the military and local veterans who want to earn a college degree.

“We are delighted to host this meeting," said Helen A. Cox, chancellor for Kaua'i Community College.  “One of our college initiatives is to reach out to veterans and assist them in whatever way we can and particularly in negotiating higher education. Having this meeting here was a great start to what we hope will be a richer and fuller relationship with the veterans in our community."

Kaua'i CC Career and Transfer Specialist Mahealani Yamashita, who organized the session, said in her opening remarks, “I want to initiate an island partnership, and to do this, make a formal welcome to veterans and community partners to maka hou—see with eyes that are new.”

A veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, Yamashita served as a marine operator with the Detachment Logistics Transportation Unit on O'ahu. She was one of three females assigned to serve on the LSV-7 SSGT Robert T. Kuroda ship. At Kaua'i CC, Yamashita serves as a resource point to help students and faculty in developing career pathways and finding programs of study.

Kaua'i CC’s Assistant Registrar Kailana Soto, who also serves as the Veteran Affairs (VA) school certifying official, reported that 41 veterans enrolled in the Spring 2013 semester. “The veterans are highly motivated and enter college with goals to earn an undergraduate degree and move on to receive a master's degree,” said Soto.

In her role at the college, Soto provides reports to the VA on students enrolled in colleges and the number of credits they are taking. She also translates military training experience into credits towards earning a college degree.  

In clarifying the role that the college serves for veterans, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Earl Nishiguchi said, “Kaua'i Community College is committed to serving the veterans by assisting them in enrolling in higher education, career counseling, succeeding in college, and finding a job.”

Also participating in the open session were: Teresa Makinney, veterans employment and training counselor for WorkWise Kaua’i, who reported on job searching and recruiting efforts for veterans on Kaua'i and across the nation via Job Corps Centers; and Stephanie Whiting, licensed mental health counselor, who encouraged veterans, military personnel and their families to take advantage of free counseling services through Give an Hour, a non-profit national network of volunteer mental health professionals.

Important contact information for veterans:
VA Educational Call Center – 1 (888) 442-4551 (toll free)
Monthly Verification of Enrollment - 1 (877) 823-2378
Direct Deposit enrollment changes – 1 (877) 838-2778
Workwise Kaua'i Veterans Employment Counselor, Teresa Makinney – (808) 274-3056
Give an Hour counselor, Stephanie Whiting – (808) 639-5626
For more information and available resources, please go to:  www.gibill.va.gov

Kaua'i CC provides assistance through state and federal educational benefits program to eligible student veterans, active service personnel, dependents, reservists, and National Guard members.  The VA staff is committed to serving all qualified and disabled veterans and their dependants in their educational pursuits. Kaua'i CC is an approved institution for education and training under the Veteran’s Education Assistance Act (GI Bill) and the Dependent’s Act. Information regarding eligibility, entitlement and types of training authorized may be obtained from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at www.gibill.va.gov or contacting the VA

Kaua'i Community College Contact Information: 
Kailana Soto, Kaua'i CC VA School Certifying Official and Assistant Registrar, (808) 245-8224
Mahealani Yamashita, Kaua'i CC Career and Transfer Specialist, (808) 245-8394

Types of VA Education Benefits:
Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty (MGIB-AD) Program
Training and Rehabilitation for Veterans with Service-connected Disabilities Program
The Post 9/11 GI Bill Program
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Assistance (DEA) Program
Montgomery Bill – Selected Reserve (MBIB-SR) Program
Reserve Educational Assistant Program (REAP)
Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)