Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli and members of his team from the Kansas Army National Guard visited Cowley College’s main campus in Arkansas City on Jan. 11 to discuss the opportunity for a long-term partnership between the National Guard and the college.

Along with Tafanelli, who is the Adjutant General for Kansas, Maj. Dana Graf, chief legislative liaison for the Kansas National Guard, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams, the senior enlisted leader for the Kansas Army National Guard, attended the meeting in the President’s Dining Room.

Cowley College President Dennis Rittle and members of the college’s administrative team also attended the meeting, as did Rachel Schmeidler, coordinator of military services, and Suzie Bacon, director of accounting.

Rittle said a partnership with the military would continue to enhance the robust patriotism in the area, increase economic and career opportunities for participating students, and enhance workforce development, as well as introduce new dollars into local communities.

“Partnerships are essential for future relevance,” Rittle said.

“As two publicly funded organizations, these types of partnerships save taxpayers substantial dollars, in large measure, by the sharing of scarce resources and the strengthening of our workforce.”

Along with the opportunity for a long-term partnership between the National Guard and the college, the potential for a full-time recruiting presence at the college and to establish a unit presence at the college also was discussed.

The Kansas Army National Guard is a component of the Army National Guard and Kansas National Guard. Kansas Army National Guard units are trained and equipped as part of the U.S. Army.

Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance provides up to 100 percent of tuition and fees that leads to the award of a certificate, diploma or degree upon satisfactory completion of course work requirements for members of a Kansas Air or Army National Guard unit.

“We can provide another pathway to help pay for educational opportunities,” Tafanelli said.

The Kansas Army National Guard currently has a partnership with Garden City Community College called “Task Force Broncbuster” and it leases a space on campus to promote recruitment.

Tafanelli said the Kansas Army National Guard is interested in expanding its partnerships with institutions across the state.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue building our partnership between the Kansas National Guard and Cowley College,” he said.

“This partnership is a tremendous opportunity to collaborate in a way that benefits both organizations, the students of Cowley College and the members of the Kansas National Guard.”

This information was provided by Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications and Public Relations Rama Peroo.