Overview of the JVSG Companion Program Series of NVTI Articles
Over the past year, NVTI has featured a series of articles that focused on federal agency programs which can contribute a comprehensive, solutions-based model of support to our veterans and their families. Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) personnel are encouraged to research, network and collaborate with these companion programs to enable increased effectiveness and efficiency to their service delivery. This overview will recap those articles in chronological order and serve as a one-stop index and link to information for service providers performing under the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) programs.
The DOL VETS Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) was the first in this series of program overviews. HVRP is intended to support homeless veterans’ reintegration into society by preparing and placing them into jobs that are part of the local economy. However, obtaining a job alone cannot end veteran homelessness; stable housing and access to support services make it easier to sustain employment by addressing some of the significant barriers they may face. There are multiple discretionary grant awards issued by DOL VETS, collectively referred to as HVRP, that include the Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families (HFVVWF), the Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program (IVTP), and Stand Down grant awards, all discussed in more detail under this article.
The DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) administers federal government job training and worker dislocation programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. For veterans, ETA sponsors impactful resources such as Military Spouses, O*Net and My Next Move, HIRE Vets Medallion Award, Federal Bonding and Work Opportunity Tax Credit to name a few. These services are facilitated through DOL ETA, state and local workforce development systems and your American Job Centers.
The Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) Housing First strategic approach is a collaborative program between two federal agencies that combines Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rental assistance vouchers with VA supportive services to help homeless veterans and their families find and sustain permanent housing. The HUD-VASH program is more than a rental subsidy. Each voucher recipient receives ongoing support from VA case managers for issues such as recovering from substance use, connecting with community support, finding a reliable source of income, and dealing with barriers stemming from a legal situation or poor credit history. HUD-VASH staff members help the veteran find safe, affordable housing and then make regular home visits to ensure that the veteran is managing and benefiting from the services they might need to remain stably housed.
In September 2020, the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Veterans Affairs (VA) renewed their Memorandum of Agreement to partner their respective Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and Veteran Readiness and Employment Service (VR&E) programs. These two agencies are currently conducting a pilot designed to increase the number of VR&E participants who enroll in apprenticeships, providing benefits to both veterans and employers. In this article, readers will review resources available through this VR&E partnership—an integrated approach and proven match with the VETS mission to prepare veterans, service members, and spouses for meaningful employment.
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) facilitates the use of all SBA programs by service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses. The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is an OVBD initiative that oversees VBOCs across the country that offer resources for veterans who are interested in starting or growing a business. Located at 22 institutions nationwide, these centers provide business plan workshops, concept assessments, mentorship, and training for eligible military and veteran entrepreneurs.
When veterans seek employment opportunities with the federal government through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), they want to understand veterans’ preferences, how agencies staff federal jobs, and how unique veteran appointing authorities help veterans find federal jobs. A veteran’s first steps when seeking these opportunities will be to reach out to an American Job Center (AJC) in their community and meet with a designated veteran employment representative. From there, JVSG staff and associated AJC team members can facilitate the application process for eligible veterans seeking federal employment.
Stand Down grant funding available under DOL VETS Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) is awarded to community and non-profit organizations that support veterans and their families with their transition from homelessness and incarceration. Stand Downs may be single or multi-day events, catering to the various needs of the veteran communities benefiting from the program. Organizers consider the size of their unhoused veteran population (both sheltered and unsheltered), and the requirements of that population, including other special or vulnerable populations such as women veterans, the families of veterans, justice-involved veterans, and veterans with disabilities. Each community is unique, both in the assets it has and the veterans it serves, and thus leads to a variety of Stand Downs specifically catered to the needs of their audience.
The DOL ETA Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program provides funding for justice-involved youth, young adults, and adults who were formerly incarcerated. REO projects promote collaboration and coordination between community-based organizations, foundations, state and local justice agencies, and the workforce system for the delivery of focused services. AJCs and the JVSG program facilitate the availability of these resources for job search assistance, federal bonding, employer tax incentives, education, and training, and should include information about community, state, and private grant-funded programs that assist justice-involved veterans (JIVs).
State Workforce Agency personnel serving under the DOL VETS JVSG program may support veterans living in rural areas, and therefore will need to identify services that are available to this special population. Challenges for rural veterans include travel distances to access services, lack of transportation and housing options, internet availability, and scarcity of employment and business opportunities. In this article, readers examine the many U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services available to veterans, with a focus on those who live in rural communities.
American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) veterans face traditional significant barriers to employment (SBE) and live in rural areas where they encounter poverty, lack of direct healthcare, reduced economic growth, and limited access to supportive resources, transportation, and connectivity. In this article, readers will examine DOL and VA programs that are designed to support AIAN veterans.
Women characterize the fastest-growing population in both military service and the veteran community. But while they are consistently and impressively breaking down barriers, women veterans still experience unique challenges and gaps in transition, care, and employment during transition to civilian life and employment. Veteran service providers should be aware of these Transition Challenges for Women Veterans.
Teaming between JVSG personnel, federal companion programs, and government-funded grantees can be leveraged to bring the greatest benefit and impact to veterans and their families. Through communications and networking, resources such as these can serve as the basis for delivering coordinated workforce solutions and effective wraparound support. Our nation’s public workforce system depends on close and productive collaboration between multiple providers to address the needs of veterans experiencing significant barriers to employment.