The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new employment program aimed at helping job-ready veterans exiting homelessness, and those on the brink of homelessness, gain stable and long-term employment.
The new program, Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services, relies on Community Employment Coordinators who know their communities and can work with local employers to identify suitable jobs based on a veteran’s skills and abilities.
“Securing long-term, stable and fulfilling employment is important for veterans who are exiting homelessness or are at-risk of becoming homeless,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We know that finding gainful employment can change the life of a veteran. This new program is a key component of the overall strategy to prevent and end veteran homelessness.”
Each VA Medical Center will have a dedicated CEC who will be responsible for connecting homeless and at-risk veterans to appropriate VA and community-based employment services. The goal is to establish relationships with employers who may be able to hire veterans while VA provides the necessary support services to ensure each veteran’s transition back into the workforce is successful.
CECs also will work with existing VA employment programs and local workforce development organizations to identify other employment-related resources for this subset of the veteran population. Veterans exiting homelessness offer a diverse skillset that is applicable to many different fields and leadership roles within organizations. VA offers a variety of wraparound services including health care, housing assistance and other VA supports to increase the likelihood of on-the-job success.
Employers who are interested in hiring a job-ready veteran exiting homelessness should contact a local CEC who can work with them to find local veteran candidates with applicable skillsets. Visit www.va.gov/homeless/cec-contacts.asp for a list of the CECs in your local area.
More information about the VA’s homeless programs is available at www.va.gov/homeless. If you know a veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, refer him or her to a local VAMC, where homeless coordinators are ready to help. Veterans and their families can also call (877) 4AID-VET to get connected to VA services.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.