OPERATION PROTECT VETERANS
AARP and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service have launched Operation Protect Veterans to help raise awareness of common scams targeting veterans. According to a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, Veterans are victimized by scam artists twice as often as the rest of the public. Further, the Fraud Watch Network’s recent survey showed 16 percent of U.S. Veterans have lost money to fraudsters, compared to 8 percent of non-Veterans. Some of the scams include:
- Benefit buyout scams involving disability or pension payments.
- Identity theft scams including phishing for personal information or employment offers where the veteran must pay a fee to apply.
- GI Bill education marketing scams that encourage veterans to attend an expensive for-profit educational institution.
- Special deals on loans and rentals.
This information is helpful to pass along to the veterans you work with to ensure awareness that they are at-risk for being targeted by scammers. These scams can be reported by calling 877-908-3360 or by visiting AARP.org/fraudwatchnetwork. Click here for more information.APPRENTICESHIPS AND TRAINING FOR VETERANS IN THE AMMONIA REFRIGERATION INDUSTRY
The Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation (ARF) launched an ammonia industry program for refrigeration technicians last year to address the shortage of technicians in the HVAC&R (heating, cooling, air conditioning, and refrigeration) industry. In addition to finding a solution to this shortage, ARF is also targeting transitioning military personnel to fill apprenticeship roles. This program is tied to the national standards for refrigeration industry apprenticeships, which the DOL approved in November 2017.
As part of its focus on the military, ARF has been building up a scholarship fund and working with the federal government to train transitioning military personnel on their bases. The on-base training is designed to make the transition into appropriate technician apprenticeships seamless. Apprentices with military backgrounds may qualify for additional benefits under the GI Bill and qualify for an additional monthly stipend paid by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Find more information here.
In similar news, the Northwest Technical Institute in Arkansas recently announced an expansion of its ammonia accreditation/training center to help fill job openings. The expansion aims to shorten the current length of the training program from 11 months to four or six weeks and increase enrollment capacity from 12 to 14 students to about 75 students. Construction is planned for January 2019. Find more information here.
This information can be helpful for DVOP Specialists with clients who are looking to enter the HVAC&R industry after military service. For LVERs, connections can be made with companies looking to fill roles in this industry.
DAV REPORT: WOMEN VETERANS: THE JOURNEY AHEAD
The organization for Disabled American Veterans (DAV) released a report entitled Women Veterans: The Long Journey Ahead on September 12, 2018. This report is a follow-up to Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home, which DAV published in September 2014. The report findings and recommendations cover a broad range of lifetime needs including health care, mental health, community care, shelter, legal concerns, education, disability benefits, and financial security. The entire report can be downloaded here: https://www.dav.org/women-veterans/.
General Findings (p. 9):
- Women veterans are less likely to have the family support system that married military men generally enjoy.
- Compared to men who served, women veterans are younger, have a lower median income (or no income), and are more likely to live in poverty and qualify for food stamps.
- Among homeless or unstably housed veterans, women are more likely to have custody of minor children compared to men.
Findings on Shelter:
- Women veterans report “couch surfing” (50 percent) and remaining in a violent relationship (43 percent) as a means to maintain a roof over their heads than the alternative of sleeping in their car (30 percent) or on the street (15 percent). (p. 41)
- Projections provided to the VA homeless program show a 9 percent increase in anticipated demand for homeless services by women veterans between 2015 and 2025 due to their increasing numbers in the overall veteran population. (p. 42)
Findings on Financial Security:
- Women veterans still had the highest rates of unemployment post-9/11. (p. 43)
- DOL has noticed a four-year trend showing the highest rates of unemployment for women veterans are for 18- to 54-year-old women currently enrolled in school. In 2016, this group had an 8 percent unemployment rate, higher than both male veterans and women nonveterans. (p. 44)
- Women veterans are overrepresented in the labor force—they make up 10 percent of veterans and 12 percent of the overall labor force (though much of this may be attributed to the younger age of female veterans compared to male veterans). (p. 45)
- Thirteen percent of the veterans served by DOL’s Jobs for Veterans State Grant program are women. (p. 45)
- Women comprise 13 percent of the veterans referred to jobs and 13 percent of those who retain referred jobs after six months. (p. 45)
Findings on Transition:
- Women and men face similar challenges reintegrating into community and family life after deployments or military service, but women may experience that transition differently than men. Women are transitioning from a male-defined culture of war fighting to a civilian world where cultural expectations cast them as mothers, wives, and family caretakers. Civilians often don’t recognize them as veterans or active-duty military, for instance leaving disparaging notes when women park in spots reserved for military and veterans. (p. 49)
Findings on Education:
- Like male veterans, but unlike female college students, women veterans are often hesitant to seek out help when they have a problem, whether it concerns mental health or academics. Too many veteran coordinators on campus simply expect veterans to come to them when they need help. (p. 55)
Notable recommendations from the report include:
- DOL should partner with VA and Veterans Service Organizations to understand the barriers to full employment for women veterans, particularly those in school and those with disabilities, and adjust their employment programs based on these findings. (p. 45)
- The Transition Assistance Program should collect and publicize outcome and satisfaction data broken down by gender and race. (p 50) [Recommendation is for DOD; DOL not specifically mentioned]