Lyon County commissioners received a status update during an action session Thursday, hearing from representatives from Flint Hills Technical College on the partnership between the school, the county and Fort Riley.
According to Dean Hollenbeck, president of FHTC, the college has been helping veterans from Fort Riley have an easier time readjusting to life as a civilian. Hollenbeck said the goal is to encourage veterans to move to Lyon County.
“It’s something that’s very positive for the community and the county,” Hollenbeck said. “What we are really looking out for is soldiers who are transitioning out of the military to look at Lyon County and to look, at not just Flint Hills Technical College, but Emporia State and the business and industry.”
Hollenbeck said one of the biggest challenges comes from soldiers wanting to return to their home states and a lack of soldiers from Kansas.
“It’s not as easy as it sounds,” he said. “As great of a place as we have here in Lyon County and the things that are really working for us in this community, a lot of the soldiers coming out of Fort Riley and transitioning — the surveys have shown they want to go home and very few of them are from Kansas.
“So what we’re trying to do is to put some things in place to make Kansas real attractive and keep them here.”
Kevin Remy is a veteran who works as the military outreach coordinator for FHTC. Remy said a lot of his job is reaching out to veterans and letting them know what options they have when searching for ways to continue their education.
“A lot of it is outreach to encourage them,” Remy said. “They appreciate someone who’s been where they’ve been and can understand where they’re coming from and can help them get where they wanna go.”
Helping veterans transition to the civilian workforce is one of the biggest focuses for Remy, who gives guidance to veterans on subjects like building a resume.
“Sometimes they put military jargon on those resumes which doesn’t need to be there,” he said. “So I help them translate it into civilian language and help hook them up with our industry partners — do whatever I can to get them employed and get them on track so they get that quality of life that they deserve.”
Kim Dhority, dean of instructional services for FHTC, said the college has attended several education fairs to reach out to both soldiers and their families.
“In the last two years I think we’ve attended five education fairs — not only with the soldiers but with their families,” Dhority said. “I was at one last weekend which was with the high school kids on the fort. We’re also looking for credit for prior learning — looking at some of their experiences in the military and how it transitions to our courses.”
Dhority said there are several programs at FHTC which have been attractive to veterans.
“A lot of the EMT and AMT courses,” she said. “A lot of the mechanic courses, but even the power plant program. It’s across the board, but a lot of them that we hear from are in the mechanic side of it, industrial side of it and the medical side of it.”
The Lyon County Commission meets at 8 a.m. on Thursdays at the Lyon County Courthouse with a 9:45 a.m. section for public comment.