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Yosemite Seminar to Connect Veterans with Crucial Career Services

July 6, 2021

For the second time in three years, a four-day seminar developed at the University of California, Merced, will allow veterans from our California region to connect with several programs to help build a successful future.

The Yosemite Veterans Education and Leadership Seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 17, through Friday, Aug. 20. During the four-day workshop, the university works alongside professionals from the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and the National Park Service to provide information about educational and employment benefits for veterans.

“We aim to make sure that all veterans and their families in our California community have every opportunity to thrive after military service and understand how to connect with their educational benefits as one of the most solid starting places toward that path to success,” said UC Merced’s Executive Director for Gallo Management and Extension Programs Steve Shackelton.

The first seminar was presented in 2019, but due to COVID-19, it had to be put on hold last year.

This year, UC Merced organizers say 16 veterans will receive the information they need to earn a degree with UC Merced, nearby state colleges, or a junior college of their choice as well as first-hand information on how to obtain a career within the National Park Service, the California Highway Patrol, Starbucks, Gallo, Union Pacific, the California National Guard and other partner organizations.

“High levels of unemployment, substance dependence, suicide and other familiar evidence of struggle across the nation are conditions completely unacceptable for California’s vets,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Dean of Extension Jill Orcutt said. “Education is one proven form of positive action we can offer, taken along with the services of several grass-roots veterans’ organizations in our area, to fight those trends and rally community support.”

The course will occur in both an indoor and outdoor setting between UC Merced and Yosemite National Park. Participants will spend their mornings in a classroom learning about the GI Bill, university applications, resume building and other essential skills. In the afternoon, the group will be at the park learning firsthand from veterans working in various career fields to identify their own goals and establish a personal plan for their post-military future.

“The seminar demonstrates - through participant interaction with veterans working in government and companies in the San Joaquin-Sierra region real and practical possibilities in dozens of career fields and the link between education and the stability of rewarding careers, resources for home financing, counseling and secure sources of health and family wellness,” co-producer of the seminar Adam Miller said.

Typically, the cost would be $850 per participant. However, the tuition is being underwritten by Merced Sunrise Rotary Club and the Yosemite Conservancy.

The application deadline is July 25. Veterans can apply online.

For more information, visit Yosemite Veterans Education and Leadership Seminar.