The city of San Diego has a long military history. Core to UC San Diego’s mission is supporting and providing educational opportunities for those who have served. As the continuing education branch of the university, UC San Diego Extension is uniquely positioned to benefit transitioning service members. We offer more than 75 certificate programs approved for VA or GI Bill educational benefits and employ an educational benefits coordinator to help veterans or eligible dependents navigate the prerequisite certification process.
“Our professional certificates provide concentrated areas of study that complement the student veteran’s military experience, empowering their ability to ‘bridge the gap’ from military service to civilian employment,” says Lee Graf, Extension’s Director of Student and Client Services and a Marine Corps veteran herself.
At Extension, we are in daily contact with employers; we know the skills that are needed and we provide a highway to top employers in the region. This suits transitioning service members, who already have years of experience in in a particular field, but might not have a degree or specialized certificate recognizing that experience.
“The dialogue we’re having with employers provides that gateway to higher-wage jobs with a focus in technology and other high-demand skill sets,” Graf says. “That’s the piece Extension brings to the table—that connection to industry.”
Students have access to program admission counseling, industry mentors, and—for those who may have a service-related disability— support including classroom accommodations. Extension’s instructors are industry leaders who can help students establish a professional network. Graf takes great pride in seeing veterans succeed through Extension. “I’ve never really encountered a student veteran who wasn’t up for the challenge.”
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