2019 Veterans Conference

Note on registration: if your institution is a WACRAO member, but you are not an individual member, please register for the workshop by selecting the “Continue as Guest” radio button. You will be able to select the WACRAO institution member rate ($60/one day or $85/both days).

Learn about best practices that can enhance your military connected student programing!

Find out what is new with credit for prior learning initiatives!

Forever GI Bill & important legislative updates!

Parking is open in all lots for the conference, please refer to the interactive campus map for details. You can download the Agenda here. Hotel information can be downloaded here.

There will be two conference tracks, one for student service professionals, that want to learn more about military connected students and another track for school certifying officials, which will include important training on compliance survey preparation, new program approvals, common certifying errors and more!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

7:00- 8:00 AM

8:00- 10:15 AM

UW and WTCS Meeting and Updates- Lunda Center ( Room B)

Continental Breakfast Provided

System updates! Colleen Larsen & Brandon Trujillo WTCS & Dennis Rhodes UW System

Lisa Giampaolo- Webinar - Doctoral Research Request

WIGI Bill Supplemental Training

10:30 -10:45 AM

Start of WACRAO Opening Remarks- Lunda Center (Room A) Large Group

College Welcome & Introduction of Keynote – Amy Thornton, VP Student Services & Engagement

11:00-11:45 AM

Keynote –Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA)Secretary Mary M. Kolar (Room A) Large Group

12:00- 12:45 PM

Lunch- Served in Atrium -12:30 pm Presentation on Veteran Business Outreach Centers- VBOC- Lisa Taylor- WWBIC

Breakout Sessions



1:00-1:45 PM

WDVA Program Overviews

Matt Korbol

Veterans Program Specialist

Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs

1:00-1:45 PM

Whole Health-Benjamin Pfiffner, Tomah VAMC

2:00-2:45 PM

What We Do and How We Can Help You! - WI SAA

WI State Approving Agency


2:00-2:45 PM

Bunker Labs & Veteran Entrepreneurship

Kyle  Arneson- Bunker Labs  WIS

World  Leadership  Partners

3:00-4:15 PM

Best Practices Showcase- Poster Session and Afternoon Refreshments (Room B) Large Group

Poster Presentations will be:

*  Celebrating Veterans Day on your Campus  - Fox Valley Technical College

*  Creating a Community Veteran Network – Western Technical College

*  Engaging and Retaining Our Online Student Veterans– Moraine Park Technical College

*  Peoplesoft Vetcenter Pages- U.W. Madison

*  Veteran Voices- UW Stout            

*  Veterans and Financial Aid- U.W. Greenbay

*  Building Resources for Veterans- Fox Valley Technical College

*  Private College Best Practices- Edgewood College

*  Veterans’ Stole & Recognition Ceremony- U.W. La Crosse

*  Viterbo


4:30-5:15 PM

Veterans Chamber -Saul Newton Executive Director, WI Veterans Chamber of Commerce  (Room A)  Large Group

5:30-8:00 PM

Meet & Greet Social- 4 Sisters Wine Bar & Tapas Restaurant- Raffle, Food and Fun!

100 Harborview Plaza Suite 100, La Crosse, WI 54601 ( Outside on the Lawn)


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

7:00-8:00 AM

Continental Breakfast- Lunda Center Atrium

8:00-8:15 AM

Opening Remarks/Welcome (Room A) Large Group

8:15-9:00 AM

Joshua Martin, WI Compliance Liaison- St. Louis RO- VA – Legislative updates (Room A) Large Group

Break Out Sessions



9:15- 10:00 AM

VA Compliance Surveys

Joshua Martin, WI Compliance Liaison- St. Louis RO- VA

9:15- 10:00 AM

Overview  of Office of Veterans Employment Services

Ricki Larson LVER

10:15-11:00 AM

WI National Guard Grant &             Federal Tuition Assistance- Jessica Wagner

10:15-11:00 AM

United Service Organizations (USO)

- Pathway to volunteer for groups

Ellie Hazel, Director of Operations, Ft. McCoy USO Extension Office



11:15-12:00 PM

 VCCS Military Academic and Career Portal Demonstration (Credits2Careers --C2C)

 Susan Moyer – Credit for Prior Learning Coordinator

 Virginia Community College System (Room A) Large Group Live Webinar

12:00-12:45 PM

Lunch- Lunda Center Atrium- Video Message from Senator Tammy Baldwin on Joint Legislation and student Veterans (3min)

Break Out Sessions



1:00-1:45 PM

Vocational Rehab- Chapter 31

Ashley Murray Voc.Rehab Counselor- VBA Eau Claire, WI

1:00-1:45 PM

The Highground-Jon Weiler Executive Director


2:00-2:45 PM

VA Debt Management Center         Neal Roellich, VA Debt Management

2:00-2:45 PM

Leveraging the Power of Peers for Student Veteran Success: The PAVE Program- Timothy Nellett, University of Michigan

3:00- 3:45 PM

 “HOT” Topics

Joshua Martin, WI Compliance Liaison- St. Louis RO- VA

3:00-3:45 PM

Enlistment Journey- Eric Schmidt SFC, USA

U.S Army Recruiting Station Onalaska


Breakout Session Descriptions

  • What We Do and How We Can Help You! - WI SAAAn introduction to the Wisconsin State Approving Agency and an overview of how they can help you as the SCO!
  • WDVA- Programs & OverviewThe presentation will cover the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs’ educational benefits in detail, specifically the Wisconsin GI Bill and Veterans Education (VetEd) Tuition Reimbursement Grant. This includes discussing the program description, eligibility criteria, application processes, and limits/restrictions for these benefits, as well as their relationship to each other and to USDVA educational benefits. The goal of this presentation is to ensure a better overallunderstanding of WDVA’s benefits, as well as WDVA’s role in the process.
  • Overview of Office of Veterans Employment Services: Learn about and other services that are available to help veterans find
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Employment program: Program, provides services to eligible Servicemembers and Veterans with service-connected disabilities to help them prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment or achieve independence in daily living.
  • VA Debt ManagementVA Debt Management Center Walk through the collection process for school debts with VA and best practices for schools to make sure everything flows smoothly. It also covers frequently asked questions such as how to help a student who has a debt, what to do if you have money to send back but there is no debt, etc.
  • Wisconsin National Guard Tuition Reimbursement (WING Grant) and Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) program overview: This session will cover recent and upcoming program changes, a discussion of which Military benefits may be used in combination with the WING Grant and with FTA to help your veteran and drilling guardsman students maximize available
  • Whole Health: The whole health model is a holistic look at the many areas of life that can affect your health — your work environment, relationships, diet, sleep patterns, and
  • Veteran Entrepreneurship: A resource guide to the numerous Resources, Networks, and Programs available to Veteran Entrepreneurs, of any era, and their TEAMS. From first timers to experienced Entrepreneurs. Incubators to Accelerators to Mentorship Programs. We will help identify, so you leave with a variety of actionable ideas and
  • United Service Organizations (USO): The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the
  • The Highground Veterans Memorial Project: The Highground in Neillsville is a 155 acre manned Veterans Memorial Park that pays tribute to the fallen, and honors the survivors, their service, and their sacrifices.
  • Peer Advisors for Veteran Education- PAVE: Student-centered, success-focused programs like PAVE offer a solid campus plan for supporting student veterans and helping them overcome barriers to academic and personal success.

Large Group Presentations

  • Legislative Updates: Overview of recent legislation and updates on changes to benefits and the SCO handbook.
  • Veterans Chamber: The Veterans Chamber brings together veterans, businesses, and community leaders around business development, workforce development, and community support to ensure the success of Wisconsin
  • VCCS Military Academic and Career Portal Demonstration (Credits2Careers --C2C): (Live Webinar)Credits2Careers (C2C) is a personalized virtual counseling tool that will allow military-connected users to:
    • Explore academic degree programs offered by all 23 community
    • Instantly get an estimate of potential credits from their Military education, experience, and training.
    • Personalize exploration of civilian careers related to their military training and
    • Receive real time employment information to assist military and veteran students make informed post-secondary
    • During this session, participants will see a demonstration of C2C, identify its value as an academic and career advising tool for military-connect students, and explore its application for expanding credit for prior learning.
  • Enlistment JourneyWhat happens when someone joins the military? What are the enlistment incentives? Explanations of the following; MOS, Kicker, Buy Up, ROTC scholarships, discharge types & more!

Keynote Speaker

serves as the chief advocate for the more than 350,000 veterans of Wisconsin and their families. As Secretary, she is responsible for the leadership and management of the WDVA, including strategic and long-range planning initiatives that align with the department’s vision.

Growing up in Wilton, Wisconsin, Secretary Kolar was commissioned in the United States Navy in 1980, served on active duty for 28 years, and retired as a Captain (O-6). During her military career, Secretary Kolar served in various command and staff positions across the nation, spending much of her time recruiting, training, educating and leading Sailors. Her experience within the Navy through her nearly three decades of service enabled her to work with diverse groups of people and large organizations with multi-million-dollar budgets.

Although her military service in uniform concluded in 2008, Secretary Kolar continued to serve Wisconsin’s veterans community through membership and leadership of various veteran-focused organizations. She represented downtown Madison on the Dane County Board of Supervisors for six years (2013-2019), and worked extensively with the Dane County Veterans Service Office to ensure that veterans and their families received whatever assistance they may need. In addition to serving 14,000 constituents in downtown Madison as a Dane County Supervisor, Secretary Kolar oversaw multiple community-based organizations and was the vice president of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Secretary Kolar holds master’s degrees in National Security and Strategic Studies (Naval War College) and Adult Education (University of Rhode Island) and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

A commitment to our nation runs through Secretary Kolar’s family, with her grandfather, father and four brothers all serving in the military. She and her husband, Scott, a Navy veteran, reside in Madison, Wisconsin. They have two children together, Matthew (31) and Jamie (29). Matthew currently serves in the Navy on the U.S.S. Kentucky, and Jamie is a firefighter in the Town of Delafield.


$85.00 Register for Both Days - WACRAO Institutional Member

$60.00 Register for One Day - WACRAO Institutional Member

$65.00 Register for One Day - Non-members and community partners

$110.00 Register for Both Days - Non-members and community partners

$0.00 Presenters - Non-Member

$60.00 Register for One Day - WACRAO Institution Member

$85.00 Register for Both Days - WACRAO Institution Member