VA announces expansion of Veterans Economic Communities Initiative

25 communities added to program that expands education and employment opportunities for Veterans


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VA today announced the expansion of a program aimed at increasing education and employment opportunities to America’s Veterans to an additional 25 new communities. The Veterans Economic Communities Initiative (VECI) brings together local and national partners to coordinate services for Veterans, Servicemembers and military families.

Announcement of the expanded communities was made in Costa Mesa, California, by senior VA officials to more than 500 leaders from the business, nonprofit, philanthropic and local government communities who are attending VA’s two-day inaugural VECI Policy Academy, which began Sept. 29. The Policy Academy serves as a forum for local, regional and national partner organizations to engage in honest dialog about Veteran economic issues; receive interactive training on national philanthropic and community-based best practices; and hear from leaders in the field about emerging data, trends and opportunities.

“History has shown that when you give Veterans an opportunity to succeed, they go above and beyond. And we as a nation owe them those opportunities to succeed,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald. “There is a tremendous amount of goodwill from the American people towards Veterans; they want to help. Through public-private partnerships like those formed and harnessed by VA’s Economic Communities Initiative, we will now be able to provide better networks and tools to Veterans in 50 communities nationwide.”

Secretary McDonald launched the VECI campaign in May 2015 to promote local collaboration, dialog and partnership among organi­zations that serve transitioning Servicemembers, Veterans and their families. VECI is part of Secretary McDonald’s department-wide transformation called MyVA, which is dedicated to putting Veterans at the center of everything VA does and enhancing strategic partnerships to extend VA’s reach of services.

“We have made great strides in how Veterans and their families are being supported at the local and national level through the first 25 communities that launched this incredible initiative,” said Rosye Cloud, Senior Advisor for Veteran Employment during the opening session of the Policy Academy.  “It is because of the success of the partnerships formed through VECI that we are able to double the program from 25 to 50 communities participating. And we are excited that this announcement was made at our first-ever VECI Policy Academy.”

As part of the VECI initiative, a VA economic liaison in each community will expand and encourage collaboration among private and public organizations that offer resources related to Veteran education, training and employment. Through strategic partnerships, and by offering Veterans innovative forms of learning and employment opportunities, these communities will help Veterans gain competitive career skills and knowledge in locally in-demand fields.

Campaign partners include the Departments of Defense and Labor, the Small Business Administration, and regional and national nonprofits, businesses and educators. All VECI communities were selected based on the size of transitioning Servicemember and Post-9/11 Veteran populations; unemployment, employment opportunity and job growth; and education spending.

The full list of VECI communities is provided below. New communities being launched in early 2016 are denoted with an asterisk, and do not yet have an economic liaison assigned to their location:

Atlanta, GA Clarksville, TN* El Paso, TX Las Vegas, NV Norfolk, VA Sacramento, CA*
Augusta, GA Cleveland, OH* Fayetteville, NC* Los Angeles, CA Oklahoma City, OK* San Antonio, TX
Austin, TX* Colorado Springs, CO Fort Walton Beach, FL Louisville, KY Orlando, FL* San Diego, CA
Baltimore, MD* Columbia, SC* Honolulu, HI Memphis, TN* Philadelphia, PA* San Francisco, CA*
Boise, ID* Columbus, OH* Houston, TX Miami, FL Phoenix, AZ Seattle, WA
Boston, MA* Dallas, TX Indianapolis, IN* Milwaukee, WI* Pittsburgh, PA* St. Louis, MO
Buffalo, NY Denver, CO* Jacksonville, FL Minneapolis, MN* Portland, OR* Tampa, FL*
Charlotte, NC* Detroit, MI* Kansas City, MO Nashville, TN Richmond, VA Washington, DC
Chicago, IL Cincinnati, OH Killeen, TX* New York, NY Riverside, CA

 

Under the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative, communities will develop scalable, sustainable models in the next two years that will include:

  • Developing ongoing public-private partnerships focused on employment and economic opportunities;
  • Fostering employer networking and encouraging hiring commitments on the Veterans Employment Center™ (www.ebenefits.va.gov/jobs);
  • Supporting events such as career fairs, job and employment summits, and roundtables to boost economic competitiveness for Veterans;
  • Sharing best practices and training and supporting employers who are considering hiring Veterans; and
  • Facilitating the development of learning or resource hubs to help connect Veterans to economic opportunities including entrepreneurship, credentialing and skills building.

 

Author

Megan Moloney

— Megan joined VA in May 2013. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. Curtis Harold Wadlington    

    Why are there so many redundant questions asked when the VA has access to the answers. This is why you have such a backlog not working or thinking. This is definitely not helping.

  2. daniel munoz    

    As a US Navy veteran (1974-80) I used to hire veterans for jobs as first priority and I have started a new business providing IT services for the greater Houston area. It’s very difficult these days to find qualified IT support engineers. I’m willing to train new employees to complete Computer Science degrees and IT certifications but this requires resources. Who can I contact to research IT related educational programs for my new hires?

    Regards,

    J DANIEL MUNOZ / RiverCity IT
    e: Daniel.Munoz@RiverCityIT.com t: 888.402.0715 x 101

  3. Ronald E Gibson    

    Still to many bugs not worked out of the Choice Program, and after being in the hospital for 30 days and having my kidney removed in the VA hospital/ Scott and White, I am still not getting any follow up care for my one kidney through the VA nor are they allowing me any Travel Pay to go to and from my dialysis which is three times a week for four hors at each dialysis. My kidney was removed 2 Octorber 2004 and I have been on dialysis since 03/17/2013. I am still trying to get VA Temple TX to assist me in covering my kidney dialysis and followup.

  4. matthew white    

    we need funding in hazel green,AL…tru war veterans live here…

    1. Nicole Meier    

      I am sorry you are going through all this hassle. I am also a veteran, service connected for kidney stones. For 24 years I have been struggling to get care by the VA, I ended up in Civilian ER and now the VA want to stick all these bills with me and they have almost killed me on 3 different occasions from allowing my kidney to have hydronephrosis for 4 months before damage was done to my ureter. And to this day I have gotten NOWHERE with the VA. I was diagnosed with MS and no one is doing a thing. I have been I their system for 8 years and my health has deteriorated dramatically. They could careless! It sad and pathetic that we lay our lives for the government and what do we get in return~0.

  5. abe whitacre    

    As a post 9-11 honorable veteran I have to say this doesn’t seem much different from what is in place now. Resume building seminars, job fairs and other “helpful” resources on “how to get and maintain a job”, yet no actual employer or government entity aiming to hire veterans. It is insulting when you think about it while unemployed.

  6. Eric J Corbin    

    I applaud the VA’s continuing efforts in helping veterans.

    Here’s the problem.

    1.) They have yet to develop an effective method in measuring the efficacy of all of these non-profits, support groups, etc as well as their own performance in “helping” veterans.

    2.) Resume building classes, luncheons, networking events are all fine and good, and a great way to show that you’re “helping” the veterans but are they truly leading to any long-term progress?

    3.) What constitutes “helping” veterans achieve success? Does anybody even know what this implies, or better yet, what it should imply?

    When it comes down to it, you need skills. Tangible, valuable skills, that an employer is willing to pay you for. Deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan, and having a N.A.M. is not going to get you a desirable job. At the very least, you need communication skills, how to present yourself professionally and communicate effectively, articulately and concisely. You need computer skills, Excel, Word, PowerPoint. Business management skills, technical skills, etc.

    First, the military needs to overhaul its transition process. Two weeks of resume classes, dress to impress classes, and Boots to Roughneck videos, are no where near enough and leaving veterans ill prepared for the civilian world.

    Second, veterans NEED to use their GI Bill. They NEED to be offered the opportunity to begin classes while they are still active duty, DURING duty hours, if they are within a 120-day window of E.A.S. Forget the rifle range and field training, leaders need to afford transitioning troops all the opportunity they require to properly prepare for the civilian sector. I saw it time after time, Marines “checking-out” while they are in the barracks sleeping, or out in town. Many of these guys are still very young, and need that guidance well into the civilian sector. Unfortunately, many leaders show little interest in the welfare of transitioning troops.

    Third, DoD needs to develop a Transitional Unit on base, to accommodate troops and serve as an intermediary between their final unit, and being discharged, while within their 120-day window of E.A.S. This should be oversaw by both civilians and military, and will create an environment and schedule that is conducive to the success of the veteran. College classes, mentoring, checking-out, VA claims, medical/dental, networking, business conferences, etc

    The VA needs to be involved with veterans, BEFORE they become veterans. “Helping” the veteran comes through education, preparation and support, as well as a commitment on behalf of the veteran to take responsibility for their own success.

    We’ve all served together on the battlefield, and our dedication to each other does not end there.

    Eric J Corbin

    Sergeant/USMC
    2002-2012

    Operation Iraqi Freedom 2nd MEB
    Operation Enduring Freedom 8th ESB, 2nd MSOB SOTF-82
    Operation Unified Response 24th MEU

  7. Michele Shick    

    LETS FIX THE OLD ONES THAT DONT WORK BUT ARE NOT DISCONTINUED JUST FLOUNDERING? Veteran and their families are so sick of hearing about new programs and not really having a chance in hell finding their way to benefit from them. It’s an election time so these “break though” new ideas will be popping up and fizzled out by Election Day. SENATOR JOHN McCAIN Is more interested in another free vacation on us that he would rather complain about what The President is or isn’t attending instead of helping my Husband a veteran of The Gulf War and 9/11 like he and his personal staff PERSONALLY PROMISED. If we put our faith in government programs funded and run by our government…….. SOCIAL SECURITY AND VETERANS ADMINISTRATIONS don’t offer much to aspire to and dare I remind you of FOOD STAMPS AND WELFARE!! Please stop giving us great new opportunities and just give us what we earned by serving already. Maybe then we wouldn’t need so much help!! Michele Shick
    SORRY A BIG THANK YOU V.A. CRISIS LINE ALSO.

  8. Michele Shick    

    Why do all the comments that are written to you need monitoring before you post them??

    1. Gary Hicks    

      Mostly to weed out the large amount of spam we receive every day and the occasional profanity. You can read the entire policy at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/disclaimer/.

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