By DVS Secretary Coleman Nee
All of us at the Department of Veterans’ Services can sense excitement around this year’s Veterans’ Day (even beyond the fact that since it falls on a Friday it means a long weekend!). First, it is significant because of the date: 11/11/11. Also, as President Obama recently announced the complete drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq, many of us are eager to welcome home the remaining troops still stationed there and in surrounding areas. Lastly, as we approach the day where we honor all our veterans and their families, we as a Commonwealth continue to be mindful that our communities and country are secure and our civil liberties are in place thanks to the nearly 400,000 Massachusetts men and women living here today who have answered our Nation’s call to serve in its Armed Forces.
Several months ago President Obama gave a call to action to America's businesses to train, hire and support veterans and military family members. Massachusetts has always had a strong commitment to its veterans and their families and this commitment extends to ensuring that they have access to meaningful economic opportunities once their service has ended. The Commonwealth and employers within it do this not only out of appreciation for their service, but also out of recognition that hiring veterans makes good business sense. Among the many qualities that today's veterans bring to the workforce are: strong leadership skills, training in advanced technology, diversity, interpersonal skills, a mission-driven focus and the personal integrity and pride that are the hallmarks of America's Armed Forces.
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services has consistently delivered on this commitment . Over the past three years, we have administered three federal grants that have trained and placed more than 660 veterans in jobs in Massachusetts, many of which are in "green" industries. Also this year, DVS worked with the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership to train and place over 30 veterans in manufacturing jobs, many of whom were previously living on temporary financial assistance or unemployment insurance. We have initiated a pilot program with Comcast Corporation to help link veterans with employers through the use of On Demand television. Look for this exciting new program next month.
In this spirit, last week Governor Patrick announced a comprehensive support package that includes several initiatives related to employment, housing, financial assistance, health promotion and self-identification to facilitate services for veterans in the Commonwealth (click here for more).
To all of our veterans and their families, we say thank you. And to everyone we wish you a memorable and safe Veterans’ Day. We appreciate what you do everyday of the year but especially today!