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Veterans: A Priority for Perry

Veterans: A Priority for Perry

Yakima, WA – September 28, 2017 – Perry Technical Institute has always had a strong connection to the armed services. The school was established at a time when the United States was entering into war and there was an increased demand for individuals to work in shipyards and on airplanes. Shortly after the school opened, the army decided that the school was needed in order to train men for air corps ground work and began training servicemen on the Perry campus. In 1942 the Board of Trustees supported the needs of the military and began a tradition of military backing that is still evident today. Perry is proud to be named an official Military Friendly School by GI Jobs Magazine and is a Veteran Supportive Campus by the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

Currently, Perry's focus is on Veterans who are continuing their education after serving our country. Perry Tech currently has 50 Veterans enrolled in training programs that will complement their military experience. To help these individuals succeed before, during, and after attending Perry, as well as to attract more Veterans to campus, Perry has assembled a strong team of advocates on staff.

Tara Matson, Veterans Specialist

A 2009 graduate of Perry, Tara Matson remembers all too well what it was like to navigate how to pay for school. Working for Perry's financial aid department has allowed Tara to assist students with resources available to fund their education. In 2015, Tara's role expanded to include veteran's funding. For vets considering Perry, Tara is their go-to person to ensure that they can access their veteran's benefits. 

Tara's role consists of assisting veterans and dependents with their Veterans Affairs benefits and keeping the VA informed of their enrollment status. She also works with our state approving agency and VA to gain and maintain GI Bill approval for Perry Tech programs. "I enjoy having the opportunity to assist our veterans," Tara said, "and I hope to contribute a small part to their success and future, as they have contributed so much for ours."

Allan Locia, Vet Corps Navigator

Allan Locia’s personal experience in the army and deployments overseas have assisted him in his role as Vet Corps Navigator. In his third year at Perry, Allan has become synonymous with veteran support. Part peer, part mentor, part counselor, Allan focuses on connecting with students who are transitioning back into civilian life, helping navigate any obstacles they may encounter while attending school. “To me it means the continuation of military service in a sense,” said Allan. “It is an honor to continue to serve those who had the courage to serve our nation.” Allan leads the Veteran’s Alliance, which is open to all Perry Tech students. The group meets several times a month on campus to honor current active duty military and veterans through community service, camaraderie, and support. Members lead local initiatives and activities that display respect and support of our active duty military and veterans. At Perry Tech, the group has been instrumental planning the annual Veteran’s Assembly and activities to honor veterans on Memorial Day.

In addition to his role with students, Allan also provides training to Perry Tech faculty and staff to increase awareness around veteran issues and needs. The Vet Corps is a partnership between the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and member schools. The Vet Corps helps veterans and their family members navigate Washington’s higher education and training programs as veterans adjust from military to college life. Perry has hosted a Vet Corps navigator since 2011.

Veteran Student Spotlight: Instrumentation student Kyle Bishop

 With perfect attendance and a nearly perfect GPA, Kyle Bishop devotes himself to Perry Tech’s Instrumentation Program with a similar dedication he had while serving in the Marine Corps. Through hard work and dedication, he has upheld a spot on the President’s List throughout his entire program. Kyle talks about how he’s grown through both his military career and his time studying Instrumentation at Perry Tech.

“I participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, a Tsunami Relief Mission in the Philippines as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Essex, and Joint Forces Operations in Japan,” said Kyle. “These life changing experiences have equipped me with the skills necessary to accomplish any given task in varying situations and under any conditions.” Now nearing graduation, Kyle is not only preparing to enter the workforce, but also to share his experience with others. He will speak at Perry Tech’s annual Veterans Day assembly this year.

Posted September 28, 2017

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