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Jacob Zimmerman: ECC Alumnus and U.S. Veteran

ECC alumnus makes a difference for veterans

Jacob Zimmerman

Jacob Zimmerman, ECC Alumnus and U.S. Veteran and club president of Military Branches United


Jacob Zimmerman is committed to veterans as superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Kane County, advocating for their benefits. It was not long ago that Zimmerman, a 2011 Elgin Community College graduate, was in their shoes.

Moving to Elgin in 2009 after leaving the U.S. Coast Guard, he worked as a 911 dispatcher before discovering the job was not for him. He then decided to use a new G.I. Bill to attend ECC. It was the first time he considered attending college.

"I never really planned on going to college," Zimmerman says. "That's why I joined the military. But the economy was down, and you have to do something to make yourself marketable."

He says it was difficult at first, as the Department of Veterans Affairs was slow in processing the new G.I. Bill, and ECC officials were still getting adjusted to it. His experience became better when those issues were addressed.

"I took 10 credit hours the first semester to play it safe, but I was like, `Wow, this isn't bad. It's actually fun,'" Zimmerman says. "The teachers are good. They know their subjects, and they engage you. After that I took a full load, and it was smooth sailing."

A College 101 class assignment that had him attend a club meeting led him to Military Branches United, which serves as a support system for returning veterans and their families. He later joined, ultimately becoming the club's president.

"There were a lot of veterans and a lot of motivated folks," he says. "ECC really helped me prepare to get to that next step."

Related Link: Information for Veterans

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