USC Upstate Facilitates Innovative Partnership Between S.C. Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Combined Arms Inc.

August 30, 2023 at 3:41 pm

When Prosper Segbawu joined the U.S. Army Reserves, he did so with the intention of increasing his education and career opportunities.

After Segbawu, who is originally from Ghana, enrolled in the nursing program at the University of South Carolina Upstate, he was pleased to discover a variety of resources for veterans at the university that supported his long-term goals.

“It’s a hard space to navigate, and just having that person there to communicate what the resources are and how you can use them makes it so much easier,” said Segbawu, a senior. “What I have really enjoyed is the one-on-one attention I’ve received from Robin Hollis (USC Upstate’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator). It has really made my transition much easier.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie L. Harris signed a partnership with the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs (SCDVA) that will result in additional resources for active-duty and former military members and their families.

The collaboration will lead to the implementation of a cutting-edge software platform developed by SCDVA and Combined Arms Inc., a distinguished nonprofit organization based in Texas. The platform, aptly named the “SC Veteran Coalition powered by Combined Arms,” aims to provide a dynamic and comprehensive support system for its users.

“We are so excited about this collaboration between USC Upstate, the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Combined Arms Inc.,” Harris said during the signing event Wednesday. “Our goal is to provide the best support possible for veterans who come to USC Upstate and their families. Today, we have taken a major step toward the realization of a platform that will undoubtedly enhance the lives of those who have sacrificed so much to serve.”

The software platform will feature a host of innovative tools, with a central component known as “Check-In.” This comprehensive referral system will empower participating organizations to efficiently connect clients with the most suitable and necessary resources. By streamlining the referral process, this feature aims to ensure that veterans and their families receive the precise support they require.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this partnership is its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity. Both veterans and participating organizations will have free access to the platform, eliminating any financial barriers and promoting widespread engagement. However, participating organizations are expected to adhere to established guidelines to maintain their access.

“People come to higher education to improve themselves,” said Todd McCaffrey, S.C. secretary of veterans’ affairs. “We are so appreciative of this partnership and of what the community does here in Spartanburg and the Upstate for our veterans.”

“When a veteran enters my office, it’s my goal to provide them with the best service possible,” Hollis said. “I am looking forward to seeing how this partnership will continue to impact our mission to provide the support that our veterans and their families deserve.”

USC Upstate freshman Ryan Herzberg, a former U.S. Army specialist, said he is looking forward to exploring the new platform and continuing his education at USC Upstate, which has been ranked by U.S News and World Report as one of the South’s Best Colleges for Veterans.

“It’s very exciting,” Herzberg said. “I am very grateful for the support I’ve received at USC Upstate. The VA has also done a lot to help me. I’m really looking forward to this partnership.”

Major Nicole Dallocchio is a professor of military science at Wofford College and leader of the Southern Guards Battalion Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), which serves students from Upstate universities, including Wofford and USC Upstate. She praised the partnership and the commitment USC Upstate has demonstrated for its veterans.

“Chancellor Harris recently spoke at our commissioning ceremony, which included three students—all from USC Upstate,” Dallocchio said. “To the best of my knowledge, he is the first USC Upstate chancellor to do that. He spoke about grit, tenacity, and staying focused. You can tell that it meant so much to the students and their parents.”

“This partnership is critically important,” said Allen Smith, president and CEO of OneSpartanburg Inc. “Spartanburg County is leading the state in new investment and job creation. We have more jobs than people. So, we are wide open to any new workforce opportunities… We appreciate what USC Upstate means to what we’re building here in Spartanburg.”

For more information about the partnership and how USC Upstate helps veterans, please contact Hollis at or 864-503-5273.