The COTC veteran coordinator has worked with students who have served or are serving in the military for many years. But now, Connie Zang has a new appreciation of the experience of those students. Zang was part of a group of educators who participated in the Ohio National Guard Education Guard 101 Orientation Flight at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus last month.
"I, along with other Ohio educators, traveled on a refueling/transport jet, got to sit in the cockpit, walk around, have lunch and view the refueling," said Zang. "We traveled to Kansas and back and refueled two fighter jets in less than three hours."
The orientation was designed to bring educators from across the state together to talk about how to provide service to active military members or veterans attending college. Participants learned about the Ohio National Guard program and discussed ideas in small group sessions.
"It was a really great experience," said Zang. "It was good to learn about the support services available to students on the military side."
After the flight, the educators got to sit in a Black Hawk helicopter, Humvee and other military vehicles and see the large trucks the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses if called out for a national or natural emergency.
In 2015, Central Ohio Technical College was selected by G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School for the fifth straight year. The honor placed COTC in the top 20 percent of U.S. colleges, universities and trade schools doing the most to embrace America's military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their educational success.
"Learning about the experience of service men and women was really helpful to me," said Zang. "This event allowed me to think of new ways COTC and the Ohio National Guard could collaborate and cooperate to help students who are serving or have served in the military succeed. Communication is key, and this opened the lines of communication."
Central Ohio Technical College opened in 1971 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.