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Minnesota West recognized for service member support

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West Community and Technical College was recognized Thursday for its dedication to supporting service members and was proclaimed a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company.

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Colonel Doug Simon (left) presents a certificate proclaiming Minnesota West Community and Technical College a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company to Minnesota West Vice President of Finance and Facilities Jodi Landgaard and Certifying Official Barb Staples. Students Coleman Ling and Jesse Regalado also lend a hand. (Tim MIddagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Minnesota West Community and Technical College was recognized Thursday for its dedication to supporting service members and was proclaimed a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company.

College representatives, students, community members and state leaders gathered at the Worthington campus to celebrate the college becoming the 58th Minnesota company to achieve the standard.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, a program founded in 2008 with national, regional and statewide influence, encourages organizations to identify and use resources to support all military-connected employees, and in Minnesota West’s case, students, said Col. Doug Simon.

Examples of that support include building awareness of military specific issues, hiring skilled veteran leaders and building relationships with military-connected organizations in their community.

“Minnesota West has been doing many of these things long before applying to become a Yellow Ribbon Company,” Simon said during Thursday’s ceremony. “From sponsoring recognition and educational events to maintaining an effective veteran’s resource center, you have created an environment where military members and their families feel appreciated and important.”

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Minnesota West Certifying Official Barb Staples said the college supports its military population by certifying their credits, which are then paid for by federal funds.

“They’ve earned their education,” Staples said.

The college goes above and beyond standard procedure by hosting a Veteran’s Day program on each campus and offering a veteran’s center on the Worthington campus for service members to enjoy the camaraderie among fellow service members.  

“They talk their own language up there,” Staples said.

She said the college wanted to become a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company as an outreach purpose.

“A yellow ribbon is a pretty commonly known symbol for veterans, and we wanted them to know that we support them,” Staples said.

Thursday’s proclamation came one year after a Yellow Ribbon steering committee was initiated. The committee, comprised of faculty from all five campuses and one site, developed an action plan with new ideas to serve the college’s veteran population and support the processes the college had already implemented, said Minnesota West Vice President of Finance and Facilities Jodi Landgaard.

The plan was submitted in March and approved in June.

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Landgaard said the college is excited to continue to support its service members.

“We’ll continue to work for our Minnesota service members who choose Minnesota West for their higher education,” she said.

According to Staples, the city of Worthington is in the process of becoming a Beyond the Ribbon Community.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONVETERANS
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