May 18 marks the start of an initiative led by VA to support Veterans as they build their futures. Bringing together public and private organizations at the local level, the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative paves the way for Veterans and their families to find meaningful employment and education opportunities.
The initiative, launching in 25 communities across the country, will create networks of institutions and organizations that together can better serve Veterans. The goal is to improve economic outcomes for Veterans and their family members.
“President Obama challenged VA last August to help Veterans and families at the local level, help them integrate with communities. He challenged us to help Veterans find meaningful jobs that can lead to economic success. We accepted that challenge,” VA Secretary Bob McDonald said at the event launch.
A VA economic liaison in each of the 25 communities will work to expand and encourage collaboration among organizations that offer resources related to education, training and employment, including innovative forms of learning. Through these strategic partnerships, the communities will help Veterans and their family members gain competitive career skills and knowledge in locally in-demand fields.
Campaign partners include the departments of Defense and Labor, the Small Business Administration, public-private partners like LinkedIn and Coursera, and regional and national nonprofits, businesses and educators. The first 25 communities were chosen based on a number of economic indicators related to Veteran success.
“Through the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative, we have a great opportunity to help Veterans strengthen businesses and communities as employees, as entrepreneurs, as students, and as friends, neighbors, and community leaders,” McDonald pointed out. “Hiring Veterans – welcoming them and their families into your community – isn’t just good business. It’s good for America.”
Curtis Coy is VA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity