The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently hosted and participated in a series of partnership events in Puerto Rico to advance the economic success of service members, Veterans and families living on the island.
Led by VA’s Office of Transition and Economic Development (TED), the events, which were held Nov. 8-14, resulted in tangible, coordinated and targeted support from federal and local government, Veteran service organizations and other entities.
“VA’s programs to advance economic success for our nation’s Veterans are comprehensive,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “They involve education, employment, housing, health and much more. TED, with the steadfast support of the San Juan Regional Office and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Buchanan, is mobilizing resources from across the Veteran service community to meet the various needs of Veterans and their families in Puerto Rico.”
The activities in Puerto Rico included a benefits and claims clinic and economic partnership roundtable at Fort Buchanan, which served approximately 600 customers; a service project in Arecibo, conducted in partnership with Team Rubicon, Wounded Warrior Project and The Mission Continues, which repaired homes of Veterans as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Maria; and a Hiring Our Heroes job fair hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
As a result of the economic partnership roundtable, VA is projecting the following outcomes:
- The Transition Assistance Program, administered by TED, will deliver briefings about a variety of benefits at U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector San Juan for USCG service members on the island.
- The Warrior Training Advancement Course will be offered at Fort Buchanan in fiscal year 2019. Among the pool of graduates, 25 Veteran service representatives will be hired.
- The Puerto Rico National Call Center will expand through the hiring of 15 agents.
- Five full-time employees will be hired to work at the San Juan Regional Office.
TED was created in summer 2018, and is part of VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). VBA delivers nonmedical benefits programs for millions of Veterans, including disability compensation; pension and fiduciary; education; home loan guaranty; life insurance; and vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits.