It was a packed house as Austin Community College District (ACC) held a ribbon-cutting and opening ceremony for the new Military Network at the Highland Campus on Wednesday, January 24. The space will be home to the ACC Veterans Resource Center (VRC) and the new Military Families Center. 

View a slideshow of photos from the event below.

“The Military Network means just that, it will be a great place for our veterans, military, and their families to come together and network,” says Dr. Molly Beth Malcom, ACC executive vice chancellor of Operations & Public Affairs. “We want this to be a place for our veterans, military, and their families to feel at home and come and do whatever it is they need to do. Bring their children, there will be a children’s spot for books and activities.”

The Military Network was established to address the unique needs of military and veteran families in Central Texas. 

“This is the first of its kind. This is innovative, it is creative, and it will help people and bring people together,” says Ivan Bolden, Transitioning Chief of Army Partnerships & Chairman, Joint Services Partnership Committee. “Veterans and their military families — I can see the veterans mentoring some of the military families about their experiences, so it is a wonderful collaboration of an idea to put them together.”

Central Texas has recently experienced an influx of military members and veterans. However, the area lacks the necessary resources, systems, and community. 

“We basically uproot everything that we know and transplant it to a different place. So think of your doctors, your children’s schools, everything gets changed. It is really important to have a place to come to get information that you need without having to make a billion phone calls,” says Samantha Payne, Army spouse.

“It is a transition, it is very hard. I can’t tell you how hard. There is a lot of paperwork, whether it is federal or state, and to get all of them together, for kids to go together or spouses, it is even more difficult. But with this group of folks, these specialists, these professionals, they make it wonderful,” says Felix Madrid, ACC Veteran Student.

The ACC Military Families Center will connect military and veteran families with the diverse services available at and through ACC. The network will provide families access to specialized ACC and partner programming, resources, and events, including the Dress for Success Financial Literacy Program, ACC Career Services, Digital Fluency programs, mutual support groups, co-working spaces, networking opportunities, and peer support.

ACC’s Veterans Resource Center (VRC) serves as a central hub for veterans. Established in fall 2018, it provides valuable resources for veterans. The VRC offers financial aid, community, and academic and emotional support to ACC’s student veterans and their families. 

Also, ACC and the U.S. Army are partners in the Army Futures Command Software Factory. The Software Factory opened at ACC’s Rio Grande Campus in spring 2021. The state-of-the-art factory works to change how real-life technology problems are solved in the future. 

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ACC Military Network Ribbon Cutting