Providing Triage in a COVID World

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1a:     the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors

1b:     the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care

2:       the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success

The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way American Job Centers (AJCs) triage veterans and staff their offices. AJCs are shifting duties and responsibilities to aid an overwhelming number of customers with a variety of emergency needs (e.g.,  unemployment benefits and short-term jobs), and even consolidating Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) and Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) staff positions. Several offices require their staff to work remotely. Still, guidance and regulation for DVOP specialists funded by Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) requires them to provide individualized career services to eligible veterans.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) has provided guidance for JVSG staff and AJCs to address the wave of customers coming through their doors for assistance. During this time, JVSG staff (both DVOP specialists and LVER staff) may be asked to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities. Questions JVSG staff and AJC offices may have include:

  • Can the DVOP specialist and LVER staff provide initial assessments to determine a veteran’s eligibility?
  • Can states place JVSG staff on leave?
  • Can the DVOP specialist or LVER staff perform unemployment insurance (UI) services?
  • What happens if we don’t meet our performance goals?
  • When will the National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI) resume in-class training?
  • Can a DVOP specialist serve veterans without a Significant Barrier to Employment (SBE)?
  • Can an LVER staff assist clients?

The VETS guidance in JVSG COVID-19 Questions and Answers for State Workforce Staff answers these questions and more so we can continue to serve veteran clients. For instance, the document provides clarification on whether JVSG funds can be used to cover the cost of sanitizing workspaces used to house and serve program staff and participants.
For additional questions on this guidance or the roles and responsibilities of JVSG staff during these times, contact your State Veterans Coordinator.