Retiring Fort Riley Soldier uses OSHA classes at Barton Community College to transition to civilian life

February 8, 2018
Story and photos by Brandon Steinert

The transition to civilian life can be a drastic and stressful adjustment for Soldiers, but when Sgt. 1st Class Craig Jacobs walks into a Barton Community College classroom at the college’s Grandview Plaza Campus, he brings with him an air of lightheartedness, despite his looming last-day in the military of April 30.

He credits the attitudes of the faculty and staff at the college’s satellite location for creating an atmosphere of belonging.

“When I come here, the people who work in this building are so welcoming and I feel like we have a close relationship,” he said. “They don’t make anyone feel like an outsider. They’re great people and this is a great environment to come to every day.”

Jacobs is one of many Soldiers using grant- and scholarship-funded programs provided by Barton Community College to ease the transition to civilian life and improve their chances of finding employment quickly as their military service comes to an end. Jacobs is pursuing Barton’s 64-credit-hour Associate of Applied Science Degree in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) which would also earn him an industry recognized title of Certified Health and Safety Official.

Barton is an official Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training Institute Education Center, part of the Great Plains OSHA Education Centers consortium. It is the only one in the state of Kansas and is tasked with providing services to Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

Thanks to Barton’s partnerships, grant acquisitions and scholarship availability, Jacobs, like many others, will be able to complete the entire OSH program at almost no cost. Others who qualify include Soldiers’ immediate family members and civilians with Department of Defense IDs.

“It’s great that Barton has been able to make this happen for us,” Jacobs said. “In the Army, with everything you do there is a safety brief. I like this program because it keeps me close to the military and qualifies me for jobs where I can continue to work with Soldiers and apply what I learn here.”

The Grandview Plaza location has several other educational opportunities available to Soldiers for little or no cost, including Hazardous Materials Handling and Emergency Management.

Barton also has a campus on Fort Riley with a multitude of offerings, including full associate degree programs on scholarship to Soldiers, their immediate family members and civilians with Department of Defense IDs.

Visit bartonsafety.org for more information on Barton’s OSH programs, hmesti.bartonccc.edu for more information on Barton’s programs in Hazardous Materials Handling and Emergency Management or FR.bartonccc.edu for information about offerings at the Barton Fort Riley Campus.

Sgt. 1st Class Craig Jacobs poses for a portrait at the Barton Grandview Plaza campus.
Sgt. 1st Class Craig Jacobs poses for a portrait at the Barton Grandview Plaza campus.