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Veterans In A Bind After Trade School Closes Abruptly

GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) - A trade school in North Texas abruptly closed its doors on Wednesday, leaving many students who are mostly military veteran without a place to go.

Students say they showed up to Retail Ready Career Center last week and noticed squad cars parked at all entrances.

They said the school president told them it was just a review and everything would be fine.

On Wednesday, the 300-plus student body was sent packing.

Retail Ready Career Center closes, impacting N. TX veterans
Retail Ready Career Center closes, impacting N. TX veterans (Jeff Paul - CBS11)

"I'm lost. I don't know what I'm going to do," said Donovan Staffieri, a student and veteran. "This was a second chance for me. I still have bills I have to pay. I quit a job to come up here."

Their intense six-week HVAC trade school program was suddenly cut short.

"We see a bunch of federal agents surrounding the school. We get there and we ask what's going on and they're like, 'You're not in trouble. We're just investigating the school,'" said Jordan Beckwith, a veteran and student.

Beckwith said the school president assured the student body the Department of Veteran Affairs was just conducting an "administrative review."

The students, most from out of state, leave empty handed and unsure if they will get their money or GI Bill funding back.

"People moved their families," said Beckwith. "People quit jobs to further their career."

Outside the school on Wednesday, employees could be seen leaving with their belongings in boxes.

"Yeah, we're under investigation and closed until further notice," said one employee who only wanted to be identified as Rachel. "How am I going to feed my children?"

Devastated by the closure of the school, Rachel said she loved her job and even more, loved helping veterans and others learn a new craft and start a new life.

"We're in the same boat," said Rachel. "I feel your pain and keep pushing forward for your families."

A lawyer for the school said administrators were hoping to "resolve the issue" soon but did not further elaborate on what was wrong.

Derek Staub said on Thursday, "Retail Ready has provided a free shuttle for all veterans to the airport and a plane ticket home. Every veteran will be in the air by mid-afternoon today. Further, Retail Ready is addressing any and all other concerns with the veterans."

Calls and emails to the VA were not immediately returned.


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