Wayne State University’s TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) has received a five-year grant worth $2.3 million to continue and expand its work supporting veterans as they return from service. VUB provides free educational services — including classes and career preparation — to veterans in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The grant will enable the program to expand its services to veterans throughout the state of Michigan.
The program currently serves approximately 178 veterans annually and offers classes in grammar, language arts, math, computer skills, foreign languages and lab sciences as well as career-prep courses focused on high-demand computer programming and service-based careers. In addition to courses, the program also provides tips about studying, exam preparation and financial literacy and referrals and resources. Veterans can apply online.
“As home to one of only two Veterans Upward Bound programs in the state, Wayne State is proud of its continued work to serve those who have served our country,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Kornbluh. “We welcome and provide exceptional support for students from all walks of life.”
Ewart Jarrett, VUB’s project director, joined the program as a veteran in 1980 and said VUB is meant to create a welcoming community on campus for a community with unique needs.
“As a veteran myself, I was older than most of the other students and it had been some time since I had been in a classroom. You don’t feel like you fit in as readily,” he said. “When veterans come back through this program, they feel this support from those who are sensitive to their needs. They’re comfortable here, and we work to find them a home on campus.”
Acknowledging that veterans are a hands-on group that’s used to structure, Jarrett said that VUB is especially pleased to offer in-person classes and services again.
“We’re a community built to provide motivation and to serve as a bridge for veterans transitioning out of service and into civilian life,” Jarrett said. “Our participants go on to pursue further education and meaningful careers.”
Many VUB participants go on to become Wayne State University students, and the program works closely with the Office of Military and Veterans Academic Excellence and Vet Success Services to provide comprehensive support and create community.
“VUB is helping me with what I have lost in the past. I feel so much better now because I can remember the subjects I was taught as a child,” said Joyce Scales, who has been with the program since October 2021. “I would tell others not to be scared like I once was. If they want to get back in touch with the rest of the world or go back to school, this will help them so much. It’s never too late to try something new or re-learn what you have lost.”
VUB works with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the Michigan Veterans Foundation, No Veteran Left Behind, and other community organizations and shelters to connect with area veterans.
“VUB provides outstanding support through its courses and offerings, but it’s also remarkable in the loyalty and dedication of its staff,” said Mark Jackson, director of the Office of Federal TRIO Programs. “This program goes above and beyond to connect with veterans all over metro Detroit to help them take that crucial first step.”
Established at Wayne State in 1973, VUB is among 60 federal programs in the country — and one of only two in Michigan — designed by the Department of Education to support veterans following their term of service. All honorably discharged veterans who do not hold a bachelor’s are eligible, with priority given to first-generation college students or those from a low-income household.