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Veterans Unemployment Related Articles Week of August 20, 2012

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First lady announces new hiring push for vets
Associated Press –August 23, 2012
NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama chose a naval station in the electoral battleground of Florida to announce Wednesday that 2,000 businesses around the country have hired or trained more than 125,000 military veterans and spouses in the past year, exceeding a White House goal of 100,000 by the end of next year. Mrs. Obama also told a crowd of Navy personnel and their spouses at this Jacksonville base that the same companies have committed to hire or train an additional 250,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014. That includes hiring or training 50,000 military spouses within three years — and helping them keep those jobs as families move from one duty station to another.

Upstate New York retreat offers new hope for female veterans
CBS News –August 23, 2012
(CBS News) For the last century, working women have traveled to Wiawaka, a restorative lakeside retreat in New York state for to relax and recharge. The retreat center is reaching out to female veterans in an effort to help them work through the psychological scars that so often accompany military service. Every summer, the non-profit hosts retreats for female veterans. On “CBS This Morning” Thursday, contributor Lee Woodruff got an inside look at some of the incredible transformations the female veterans experience during their respite at Wiawaka.

Army pilots new transition program
American Forces Press Service –August 23, 2012
Washington, D.C. —  The Defense Department is conducting pilot classes of a new program designed to better prepare service members transitioning out of the military to civilian life. Transition Goals Plans Success, known simply as Transition GPS, replaces the 20-year-old Transition Assistance Program, or TAP. In a sweeping overhaul of the 20-year-old TAP, as part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act passed in 2011, Transition GPS takes military members through a week-long class, compared to the original TAP’s mandatory two to four hours of separation counseling, said Susan Kelly, the Defense Department’s deputy director for the newly formed Transition to Veterans Program Office. “The Defense Department wants our service members to succeed when they become civilians,” Kelly said.

Veterans Tribute Tower to go up in Gautier
The Sacramento Bee –August 23, 2012
GAUTIER, Miss. — The city of Gautier will host an event Friday marking the arrival of the Mississippi Veterans Tribute Tower. The tower will be headed to its permanent spot in front of Gautier City Hall. The Mississippi Press reports ( that the 30-foot-tall bell tower is expected to arrive by 9 a.m. Friday. The tower – designed and built by The Verdin Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio – will be escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders and be welcomes by local officials and members of Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.

Michelle Obama Says 125,000 Veterans, Spouses Are Hired
Bloomberg News –August 22, 2012
First lady Michelle Obama said an initiative with more than 2,000 companies has helped 125,000 military veterans and spouses find jobs, beating a goal of 100,000 hires set a year ago. Obama, who spoke today at Naval Station Mayport in the election battleground state of Florida, set a new goal of hiring an additional 250,000 jobless veterans and spouses by the end of 2014. The White House Joining Forces Program, headed by the first lady and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, began an effort a year ago to help private companies hire jobless veterans. Companies such as Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Xerox Corp., General Electric Co. (GE), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) agreed to step up their hiring of veterans.

Female War Veterans Run For Congress
Huffington Post –August 22, 2012 WASHINGTON — One flew an A-10 Warthog over Iraq and Afghanistan. Another was part of the 29th Infantry Brigade’s medical operations near Baghdad. A third lost both legs and partial use of an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq. All are war veterans aiming to serve in Congress. All reflect an evolving U.S. military. All are female. After more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dozens of military veterans – Republicans and Democrats – are running for Congress this election year as voters have shown a fresh enthusiasm for candidates with no elected experience. This year, as the military has opened more jobs to women closer to the front lines, several of those veterans are females with battlefield scars and pioneering accomplishments.

Crisis Intervention Teams For Vets: Sure Beats Jail
TIME –August 22, 2012
Las Vegas — About 2.5 million troops have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s a lot of people who have seen war up close and personal. It can affect some of them adversely when they come back home. That’s why the nation’s police departments are increasingly concerned about how to safely interact with that small slice of veterans who may be suicidal, disruptive or violent. Although hard data is scarce, police are increasingly being involved in domestic violence, barricades, and “suicide-by-cop” scenarios. The news is full of “seemingly trigger-happy police interacting with the mentally ill.” Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training is the name given to training that police get on how to interact with the mentally ill. First developed in Memphis, Tennessee, the training has spread to police departments across the nation.

St. Louis Celebrates Veterans and Community
The Herald Online –August 22, 2012
The three-day Veterans Festival in Forest Park on Labor Day has snowballed. Beginning Saturday, September 1 from 9 am to 10 am, a 40+ line up parade, headed by the famous eight-hitch Clydesdales, starts at Faulkner Drive and will make its way down Jefferson to Theatre Drive ending at Cricket Drive in front of the Muny. The three-day festival, hosted by Robert R. Hermann, founder and Dave Morgan Chairman was initiated in 2011, to provide a multitude of Veterans’ services and programs funded by the Veterans Resource Foundation–a designated 501(c)(3) foundation. Military exhibits and 16 bands will perform throughout the weekend with something for everyone from rock to blues to country. See absolutely free Vote for Pedro, Freedom-the Navy Mid-South Band, Starlifter-the Air Force Band, Superjam, the Rockin’ Chair Band, Pick’n Lik’n, Zak Weber and Nikki Hill to name a few.  More great activities include: simulators of real fighter jets, golf tournament, bike ride, vintage car displays, fighter jet fly overs and more.

Obama admin achieves goal for veteran hiring commitments one year early
The Hill –August 22, 2012 First lady Michelle Obama announced on Wednesday that the Obama administration has achieved its stated goal for U.S. businesses to commit to training or hiring 100,000 veterans by the end of 2013 “more than a year ahead of schedule.” The initiative, announced last year, is a cooperative effort between the administration and private-sector companies such as Google, Citi, Sears, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Accenture, JPMorgan and AT&T.

New VA clinic will open in Rockford
Journal Standard –August 22, 2012
Freeport, Ill. — A new expanded VA clinic set to open in Rockford next month may end up helping a number of local veterans by providing a closer alternative to visiting the hospital in Madison, said Maryna Misiewicz, superintendent of the Stephenson County Veterans Assistance Commission. “It’s much easier just to (drive) over to Rockford than make the hour-and-a-half trip up to Madison,” Misiewicz said. “Some of the veterans going to Madison for tests will go to Rockford instead. It will make it easier on our veterans.” On Sept. 17, the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wis., will open a newly expanded outpatient clinic at 816 Featherstone Road in Rockford. The new $8 million clinic will be more than double the size of the current VA facility on East State Street in Rockford, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs news release.

Celebrate Veterans’ Success
Huffington Post –August 21, 2012
Recently, Vice President Joe Biden stopped by the U.S.VETS Las Vegas, leaving behind a lot of solid encouragement — and his tie. The vice president and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, joined in one of the life skills workshops at the Las Vegas site, one of 11 U.S.VETS locations in the country. The Bidens expressed their appreciation for the veterans’ service, and focused on the problem of unemployment among veterans — especially young vets. The visit was in conjunction with Joining Forces, the current administration’s ongoing effort to raise awareness of the unique needs of military families. “The U.S. government has only one solemn obligation,” the vice president said at the workshop. “We have many obligations, but only one solemn obligation — to prepare and equip those we send to war and to care for them and their families when they come home.”

Crystal Lake business owner charged with defrauding veterans
Chicago Tribune –August 21, 2012
A Crystal Lake business owner who ran a nonprofit for disabled and homeless veterans was indicted Tuesday on charges that he defrauded veterans and the military for money, federal prosecutors said. John Blanchard, 51, of Crystal Lake, owner of several businesses including the National Association of Systems Administrators, Inc., was charged with fraudulently obtaining and carrying out federal contracts meant to help veterans, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Rockford.

Blinded veterans relax, aid recovery in Galveston
Daily News –August 21, 2012
GALVESTON — Most of the military veterans kayaking at Moody Garden’s Palm Beach on Monday were blinded by improvised explosive devices while on tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those young men were eager to trade their walking sticks for paddles and an opportunity to leisurely cruise the harbor free from the burdens of injury during the 67th Blinded Veterans Association’s national convention. Event organizers from military-assistance groups Operation Peer Support and Team River Runner Houston billed the event as a way to ease the transition from active-duty military to disabled veteran and meet people who had overcome the same challenge.

Veterans Benefits Bill Would Expand Fertility Coverage
Huffington Post –August 19, 2012
WASHINGTON — The roadside bomb that exploded outside Andrew Robinson’s Humvee in Iraq six years ago broke the Marine staff sergeant’s neck and left him without use of his legs. It also cast doubt on his ability to father a child, a gnawing emotional wound for a then-23-year-old who had planned to start a family with his wife of less than two years. The catastrophic spinal cord injury meant the couple’s best hope for children was in vitro fertilization, an expensive and time-consuming medical procedure whose cost isn’t covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robinson and his wife were forced to pay out of pocket, with help from a doctor’s discount and drugs donated by other patients.

Finding a job biggest challenge for veterans, survey finds
The Washington Post –August 19, 2012
Despite a continued drop in the unemployment rate among Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans, a new survey reports that more than two-thirds of their post-9/11 generation believe that finding a job is the greatest challenge they face in making the transition to civilian life. Among the most striking findings of the Veterans’ Employment Challenges study, released last week, is that 44 percent of veterans participating in the poll said they were not ready to make the transition to civilian life. Veterans facing physical or mental-health issues were twice as likely as others to say they were not ready for the transition. In addition, close to half of those who said they were not ready said they needed more education or technical training. The poll was conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Putting veterans to work
Las Vegas Review-Journal –August 19, 2012
As the country’s economy struggles through the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, with a national real unemployment rate of 14.9 percent, remember this: Over the next five years, more than 1 million veterans are expected to leave the U.S. military and re-join the American workforce. Most of these men and women answered the call to serve their country after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but entered service before the Great Recession. Many thousands of them have survived serious injuries. The overall unemployment rate for veterans was 6.9 percent in July, a three-year low that’s far better than the national rate of 8.3 percent (which doesn’t take into account the millions of discouraged Americans who’ve stopped actively looking work). But the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was 8.9 percent for July.

President Obama signs ‘Camp Lejeune Families Act’
Sentinel Source –August 19, 2012
Good news for veterans in general, and those who may have suffered from the tainted water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in particular. President Obama recently signed into law H.R. 1627, the “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act.” The comprehensive legislation contains more than 54 provisions designed to enhance VA benefits and transform how VA does business in the 21st century. It also extends VA health care benefits to veterans and military families exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune between Jan. 1, 1957, and Dec. 31, 1987. VFW worked with members and staff to get the legislation passed so that it would have immediately impact the lives of veterans, their families, and survivors.

New Program Aims to Better Help Troops Transition to Civilian Life
Clarksville Online –August 19, 2012
Washington, D.C. –  The Defense Department is conducting pilot classes of a new program designed to better prepare service members transitioning out of the military to civilian life. Transition Goals Plans Success, known simply as Transition GPS, replaces the 20-year-old Transition Assistance Program, or TAP. In a sweeping overhaul of the 20-year-old TAP, as part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act passed in 2011, Transition GPS takes military members through a week-long class, compared to the original TAP’s mandatory two to four hours of separation counseling, said Susan Kelly, the Defense Department’s deputy director for the newly formed Transition to Veterans Program Office.

How to Successsfully tranisition from military to civilian life
Fox News –August 18, 2012
Whether a service member is separating after four years, retiring after 20 years, being forced to discharge, or separating due to injury or illness, transition can be a difficult time for many veterans and their families. No two individuals experience the same situation, and not all problems can be averted. The White House and Department of Defense have in recent months overhauled how military personnel separate from the military seeking a way to make the transition an effective and positive experience.  The Veterans Administration and US Department of Labor have actively been seeking answers to the rise in the number of unemployed veterans, which has reached 12.1 percent of the nation’s unemployed.

OU welcomes almost 400 student veterans with orientation
The Oklahoma Daily –August 18, 2012
The Student Veterans Orientation was held for the first time to help OU’s veteran students learn about campus resources. Students attended the orientation from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Bizzell Statue. Booths were set up to welcome students and provide them with campus information. Organizations such as the Disabled American Veterans and the Student Veterans Association had booths at the event. U.S. Army and Naval representatives also set up recruitment booths. There are 32 students attending OU this year on the G.I. Bill of Rights or similar military financial aid, with more expected to enroll in the next few weeks, according to documents requested by The Oklahoma Daily.

A break that veterans have earned
Southern Maryland Newspapers –August 17, 2012 There are some advantages veterans have when looking for a job in St. Mary’s County. “If we had a choice between two people, and the only difference was prior military service, we’re going to pick the veteran 100 percent of the time,” the lead recruiter for Smartronix said recently. Executives at many of the more than 200 technology companies with offices in St. Mary’s County whose work is associated wirth Patuxent River Naval Air Station would probably say the same thing. This leg up, combined with an unemployment rate that is below the national average, may make it easier for veterans to find work in St. Mary’s here than in other parts of the country. All things being equal, a veteran has a good chance to land a job.But all things are not always equal. Particularly during the last decade, when the nation has been at war, those who volunteer to join the military have sacrificed the safety, security and stability that civilians can take advantage of when building a career.

Helping female veterans with nowhere to turn
The Navy Times –August 17, 2012
In August 2005, Army Lt. Jas Boothe had one thing on her mind: getting herself – and the son she was raising on her own – ready for her deployment to Iraq. But a phone call and a doctor’s visit a few weeks later changed everything. Boothe, who was 28 at the time, learned her home had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Soon after that, she was diagnosed with cancer in her head, neck and throat. “So, now there is no deployment, there is no home and now I’m facing losing my military career, which is how I take care of my child,” she said in a recent interview. She began to research housing options. The Veterans Affairs Department referred her to social services, where she was told she qualified for welfare and food stamps.

Job Fair’s Mission: Get vets jobs
The Desert Sun –August 17, 2012
There was a certain irony in the fact that Army Sgt. 1st Class Terrance Mitchell — a human resources specialist and recruiter — was looking for civilian employers to hire him Thursday afternoon. “I’ve done it all in the military; now I want to do it on the civilian side,” said 40-year-old Mitchell, who is with the Redlands Recruiting Station and has five months left before wrapping up his 20-year military career. Mitchell was among several hundred veterans and military spouses from the Coachella Valley and beyond who met with employers at the “Hiring Our Heroes” job fair at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio on Thursday. Coordinated by the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce, the event for veterans is part of a broader, national “Hiring Our Heroes” program that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation launched in March 2011.