Luke opens Military and Veteran Success Center

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Caleb Worpel
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be a challenging experience for service members, veterans and dependents.

With the help of the surrounding communities, Maricopa Community Colleges, Rio Salado College and Luke AFB held a grand opening ceremony for the Military and Veterans Success Center (MVSC) here Nov. 9, the nation’s first community supported, case-managed, holistic support center for transitioning military, veterans, and their dependents.

The MVSC leverages the support of over 40,000 veteran supportive organizations to offer individualized resources in employment, education, family, social support, physical health, housing, mental health, substance abuse, finances, benefit information, legal help, spirituality and more.

“One item of significance for the center and Luke AFB, is that it will offer success coaches to service members to ensure there is no gap in their transition to civilian life,” said Kelly Mills, MVSC manager. “The center will bring together every resource available in the community between Luke AFB and veteran supportive community organizations to help meet the needs of service members, veterans, and their spouses. As the nation’s leader in this effort, the center will be an example for other states to follow to ensure every resource is utilized at the most appropriate time.”

Statistics show veteran students on average are less successful than their civilian counterparts, Mills explained. Approximately 80 percent of student veterans need remedial courses before they start school, and only one out of 10 veterans utilize the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Along with the center, our community is devoted to ensuring that service members, veterans, and their spouses are not only aware, but also utilize the rich veteran supportive resources that exists across Arizona and particularly among our west valley communities,” Mills said. “Once a service member separates from the military, 80 percent will not have access to on base resources. The center will be open for all veterans to access these resources. Presently, we have an agreement with Luke to support the transition of every Airman separating over the next four years.”

The center will provide a pool of mentors from successful veterans as well as supportive and transitioning services to spouses.

“This center offers a great opportunity for those who separate from the military to still have a connection to military life,” said 2nd Lt. Zachary Neithamer, 56th Security Forces Squadron logistics officer. “It will set people up for the next chapter in their life. The best part is, the center will be there to help when your plan doesn't work out exactly as you thought it would when making the transition.”

Service members seeking services from the MVSC will start with a comprehensive assessment tool to gather basic information and identify their needs. Afterward, an individualized success plan is completed to link the most appropriate resources in order to meet people’s most immediate needs and personal goals.

The center will also include a children’s playing area, as well as multiple computer stations that can be used for resume building, resource connecting, applying for employment and more. The center will also offer workshops geared toward the needs of service members and fairs that will be available to the public.

“Luke AFB Airmen have been instrumental in the set up and organization of the MVSC,” Mills said. “Starting with leadership, Brig. Gen. Leonard and multiple other leaders support the center. We are extremely thankful to Luke AFB leadership and the Airmen from protocol, security forces, public affairs and those whose valuable feedback helped to ensure the center’s grand opening was a success.”

Services offered by the MVSC are free of charge. The center is located at 1532 North Commissary Road, Glendale, Ariz. Contact the center directly at (480) 384-9874 for more information.