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Lakeshore recognized again for its military student support

The technical college receives 14th Military Friendly designation

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May 5, 2023

CLEVELAND – For the 14th consecutive year, Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) – located in Manitowoc County – has received the Military Friendly designation for its continued focus on supporting its military and veteran students.

The Military Friendly program
Founded in 2003, Military Friendly is a trademarked distinction started by Viqtory of Carnot-Moon Pennsylvania – a recruitment company that specializes in finding new ways to help the military community transition into civilian jobs, schools and businesses.

Run by veterans for veterans, Military Friendly was created to ensure fair treatment of veteran students.

The survey was created in order to measure a school’s commitment to creating sustainable and meaningful opportunities for military members and their spouses and dependents.

To consistently earn a certified Military Friendly designation, like LTC has, a school has to show continuous improvement in their handling of veterans – simply maintaining current programs and efforts is not enough.

Military Friendly is trademarked, meaning a school cannot claim to be Military Friendly without being able to prove it.

According to Military Friendly’s website (, this creates a benchmark for potential students to compare schools and be assured the school they chose to attend has the resources to support them in their educational endeavors.

Making the grade
According to Mariana Guibord, financial aid and veteran’s specialist at LTC, the application process to be approved as Military Friendly is quite involved.

“They determine (what schools goes above and beyond) by the survey we submit – the survey looks at different criteria,” she said. “How much are we tailoring our services to our veterans, their families? Things like, are we up to date when we evaluate military experience for transfer credit?”

Guibord said if students have military experience, Lakeshore can evaluate them for advanced standing.

Essentially, Guibord said Military Friendly measures how much schools are going above and beyond for military students.
“Are we providing just basic education needs, or are we doing more to make sure they feel comfortable here?” she said.

One-on-one experience
Guibord said LTC prides itself on how it supports military students.

“For us, we like to make sure our veterans get a different experience,” she said. “What I hear from a lot of vets, especially the ones who come from bigger schools, is they get lost in the midst of the admissions process, and they get lost amongst all the other students.”

As a smaller school, Guibord said Lakeshore is able to give them more of a one-on-one experience.

“So, I can check in on them throughout the semester,” she said. “They can come into my office, and they have one person they can come to as a resource as opposed to just being handed off to departments and more departments.”

// Guibord

Guibord said it is that focus on individualized attention that makes Lakeshore stand out.

“They can come to me for whatever resources they need,” she said. “They have one dedicated person who will connect them with resources without them having to go through the whole workflow of multiple departments. I think that’s where we make the difference for the veterans.”

Guibord said it feels great to get the accreditation 14 years in a row, but said she can’t take the credit – with it being only in her second year at LTC.

“Our previous school certifying official, her name was Jayne Meyer, she retired a few years ago,” Guibord said. “She’s the reason we have this designation. She’s the one who started doing the survey. She built the relationships with the students.”

Connecting with resources
Guibord said she is currently working with just shy of 100 military-connected students – with about 60% of them using state and federal benefits to help with the cost of tuition and other expenses.

She said once a potential student finds her or is referred to her through the admission process, that is when her work begins.

“I reach out to them, and we set up a time to meet,” she said. “We discuss their eligibility. If they don’t know their eligibility, I connect them to their local VA (veterans affairs) office so they can get that process started.”

Guibord said once a determination has been made by the VA, they get her all the necessary paperwork, and then they start talking about how those benefits affect their tuition, cost of attendance, etc.

“Then we look at other financial resources they can use on top of their veterans’ benefits,” she said. “From there, it is a check-in throughout the semesters to make sure they know what their classes are going to be like, and that they’re meeting with their program counselors.”

Guibord said military students are often used to routine, and the transition from soldier to student can sometimes pose challenges.

She said LTC provides free mental health services to all students.

Other services offered include a career closet where students can get interview clothes and a food pantry where they can get some staple grocery items.

Guibord said there are several plans for additional services in the works for the future.

“I want to create a community of sorts for them,” she said. “They’ll get some group outings. I’ve heard a lot of them want to connect with other veteran students, and they want to see more activities done with one another.”

Guibord said the college is also looking to increase its veterans’ area in the next few years.

“Give them a more dedicated space where they can have to themselves,” she said.

A veteran’s experience
Kyle Durst, who served in the Marines from 2012-14, said after his time in the military, he was looking for ways to better himself to support his future – and found that at LTC.

// Durst, a current Lakeshore Technical College student, served in the Marines from 2012-14. Submitted Photo

Durst said he takes most of his classes by flex, a hybrid online/in-person format, which works best for his schedule.

“It’s been terrific,” he said. “Mariana has been a huge help. She helped me with all the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) stuff and everything else I’ve been trying to get done before (and haven’t been able to figure out).”

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