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Michigan to Start Major Revamp of Veterans Nursing Homes

Below is a summary for the article : Michigan to Start Major Revamp of Veterans Nursing Homes by USNews

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LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is starting a major revamp of how nursing care is provided to veterans, with plans to ultimately transition from two homes in the western and far-northern regions to seven new, smaller ones spread across the state.

The initiative – billed as the most substantial change to the system since the first veterans home opened in Grand Rapids 131 years ago – stems from new, bipartisan state laws that officials say will lead to higher-quality care for more veterans.

Talks began last year after a state audit uncovered insufficient care, inadequate staffing levels and other problems at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Institutional veterans homes need to be replaced in favor of smaller-scale housing and expanded to other parts of the state, state officials say.

“If that were to come to fruition, we would be providing care much closer to where the veterans live now, and their families are going to be closer to them,” said James Redford, who Republican Gov. Rick Snyder named to lead the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency in February 2016 as part of a shakeup after the critical audit was released.

A third of the state’s 640,000 veterans live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

The overhaul comes as veterans homes grapple with rising health care costs, an increasing inability of residents to afford the care and standards that are out of step with best practices within the long-term care industry.

Though the state is getting more per-diem reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, they are not offsetting declining resident income – meaning the state’s general fund spending is higher.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan is among some in Congress who are pushing to more than triple what is typically allotted for constructing and renovating state homes, to $300 million nationally, said Brad Slagle, interim CEO of the Michigan Veteran Health System.

“We think our projects are going to be near that No. 10 spot on the new list,” he said, adding that roughly 150 state veterans homes across the U.S. assist more than 30,000 veterans in need of long-term care – more than the VA does and at a lower cost.


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Salem housing for homeless veterans should open soon

Below is a summary for the article : Salem housing for homeless veterans should open soon by KGW

*Note: Image used belongs to CAPI LYNN / Statesman Journal

*Note: Image used belongs to CAPI LYNN / Statesman Journal

Everything is warm and welcoming, just as organizers of a transitional housing program for veterans envisioned three years ago.

It would provide temporary housing for 15 homeless veterans from Marion and Polk counties.

“It doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but just to be frank, anything at all that adds to the housing stock and housing options for our clients is a net positive for the community,” said Jimmy Jones, director of the program that oversees ARCHES. His program offers WestCare, a network of nonprofit organizations that provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in residential and outpatient environments in 18 states, a lifeline while it awaits other potential funding sources.

WestCare hopes to get a piece of the Measure 96 pie, which directs 1.5 percent of net lottery funds to be used to provide veterans’ services, including housing.

Funding has been but one of the obstacles for the program, which originally was supposed to open during the winter of 2014-15.

It has a commercial kitchen, which makes Powers and Switzer dream of a culinary program for veterans someday.

The first order of business is providing not only temporary shelter and food for homeless veterans but resources to help them stay off the streets.

Salem no longer has a veteran-specific transitional housing program and nearly 17 percent of the homeless population in Marion and Polk Counties are veterans, Jones said, which is slightly higher than the national average.

Compounding the problem in Salem is a low vacancy rate and the fact that many of our homeless veterans are dealing with other issues such as chronic medical, mental health and substance abuse problems.

Among the sponsors, who purchased linens, drapes, rugs and other furnishings that decorate the rooms, are Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Creekside Rotary, Chemeketa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Salem’s American Legion Post 136 and Capital Post 9, and Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 271.


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Helping Oklahoma veterans find civilian jobs

Below is a summary for the article : 4 Our Vets: Helping Oklahoma veterans find civilian jobs by KFOR

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Jobs are an important piece of the puzzle when veterans make their move from the military to civilian life.

Wendy Schopf, a U.S. Navy veteran, says she was on active duty for five years and didn’t realize how much competition there was in the job market.

After creating a resume, she says she still wasn’t getting any job interviews.

She says it was a frustrating and embarrassing time in her life.

Warren Griffis, with the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, says that veterans need to be realistic when it comes to job expectations.

He says veterans need to do some research about the industries they are looking for a job in, and connect with people who can help.

The organization’s Employment Services Program can help veterans with resume preparation, managing expectations and interview coaching.


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Veterans get new mission on the farm

Below is a summary for the article : Veterans get new mission on the farm by The Wilson Times

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Elliott, executive director of The Veterans Farm of North Carolina, will speak to the Wilson County Extension Master Gardeners on Monday.

The 37-year-old Marine veteran considers himself lucky to now live and farm on 850 acres of property near Louisburg where he grew up.

“When I grew up, I watched bankruptcies happen, everything on the farm get sold off in the ’80s and ’90s and I watched the trials and tribulations of an American farmer,” Elliott said.

Growing up on a farm was not attractive at all to Elliott as a young man.

“I had to do something other than farm and that’s why I chose the military. I served five years in the Marines and then I was a contractor for them,” Elliott said.

“With the median age of farmers being 58 years old, there is not a very interested generation to come back into agriculture. Most people who are my age or younger, they see the hardships on the farm when they grow up on one and they don’t want to go through that with their families when they get to be of age and most of them are going to cities and looking for bigger and better jobs that are going to pay well and not be such a life of hardship.”

Elliott said his job today is to help veterans learn about jobs in agriculture that are not only sustainable, but also conventional and profitable, to show them how to make a living and find solace on the farms after a life of military duty.

“They all tend to have the same needs. Veterans are so disconnected to the agricultural community today that they all need to have a basic introduction to agriculture and then they need mentors to keep them going and some assistance programs, because getting into farming can be very tough. They need solid directions and guidance from people who have been there and done that and know some of the ins and outs.”

“Myself and quite a few other veterans across the U.S. worked together to develop new ideas and help each other and other veterans in our own individual states,” Elliott said.

“A lot of these vets are coming into farming and they are buying land. They are buying a home. They are having to buy equipment, and all of this stuff starts to really add up. It’s very expensive to get into farming. What we are trying to do is figure out ways to alleviate some of those costs and assist vets in building a farm.”


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Veterans are providing resources for veterans in need

Below is a summary for the article : Veterans are providing resources for veterans in need by Lubbock Online

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Dave Lewis, who spent 29 years as a fighter pilot in the Air Force, is a key to his understanding of how some veterans struggle when they come home from military service.

Lewis, who admits he is failing miserably at retirement by taking on two full-time jobs, heads the Veterans Resource Coordination Group and teaches full time as a professor at Texas Tech.

It’s the one out of 20 that is the focus of Veterans Resource Coordination Group, known also as VetStar.

His organization meets on the first Wednesday of each month to offer to veterans the resources they need to cope with the transition into civilian life.

“Part of our job is like a search and rescue mission – they’re out there, and somebody knows they’re out there. So, the question becomes, how do we get the veteran to connect back to us for the resources.”

The Young Lawyers Association here in Lubbock put on a big golf tournament to help us out, and the Sheriff’s Department put on a big golf fundraiser that helps us out.

“The Hub City Crossfit, and other Crossfit organizations in town have put on a competition around Veterans Day to raise money for us.”

The Veterans Administration provides a national grant that VetStar applies for.

“We work with the Homeless Outreach Team. They say they love it when they find a homeless person who is a veteran, because they can wheel them right up to our front door here, and we’ll take good care of them,” he said of the organization’s facility at 3804 Interstate-27.

“That’s the thing we do best. We are veterans, and we try to connect to other veterans. Veterans will relate things to me that they won’t relate to traditional social workers or traditional mental health people.”


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How Veterans Turned Entrepreneurs Are Disrupting The Pentagon’s Weapons Program

Below is a summary for the article : How Veterans Turned Entrepreneurs Are Disrupting The Pentagon’s Weapons Program by Fast Company

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Like DIUx, are now attracting the attention of Silicon Valley and other entrepreneurs, drawn by a desire to serve – and to be part of a defense budget of around $600 billion.

Similar to DIUx, NSTXL connects private-sector companies with military customers that need particular problems solved.

Organizations like DIUx and NSTXL are now helping cut through the red tape, and letting founders like Zeuss, Inc.’s Brandon White serve their country in ways that might otherwise be out of reach.

White found a different way to serve: working with DIUx to provide intelligence- and information-management software to the U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, which oversees joint special ops missions across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

Without a handler like DIUx or NSTXL, “Going the DoD or IC route can be suicidal,” White says, which is why most Silicon Valley boards advise companies to steer well clear.

While there are attempts afoot to overhaul the acquisitions process from the top down, it’s bottom-up initiatives like DIUx and NSTXL that are already having an effect.

DIUx provides a way for the armed services to rapidly prototype new technologies, but moving those technologies into bigger procurement contracts may prove more difficult.

DIUx has so far moved more than $45 million to the more than two dozen companies it has worked with, which make products that range from air-support drones to wargaming platforms, cybersecurity services, data analysis, and more.

The “Superpower” DIUx plans to use to get its companies through that valley is a provision in the 2016 defense budget bill that lets DIUx prototyping stand in for a more traditional acquisition process.

These days, Newell can be found in the offices of BMNT Partners, a Palo Alto consultancy with a role similar to DIUx orNSTXL: connecting government customers with innovative private-sector problem solvers.


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Council should get out of way of project for homeless vets – Press Enterprise

Below is a summary for the article : Council should get out of way of project for homeless vets by Press Enterprise

*Note: Image used belongs to Rick Sforza/Redlands Daily Facts

*Note: Image used belongs to Rick Sforza/Redlands Daily Facts

Last year, the San Bernardino City Council made an absolute mess of addressing a proposal to construct a permanent supportive housing facility for homeless men.

After first voting in July to approve it, the council reversed itself in August.

In October, the council brought it back because one of the council members who supported it in July before opposing it in August apparently changed his mind.

Finally, in December, the council reversed itself and voted to allow the project to proceed.

All it did was cause headaches for supporters of the project and make the city council look silly.

At the end it was a positive that a majority of council members were able to see a good opportunity and allow it to move forward.

At the meeting, a handful of individuals spoke out against the project.

A month later, on Feb. 21, the City Council was expected to take up a vote on the project before inexplicably removing it from consideration.

On April 18, several veterans, along with Riverside County Supervisor James Ramos and District Attorney Mike Ramos, showed up to the Redlands City Council to urge consideration and approval of the project.

At the same meeting, the council adopted a “Charter of Compassion.” As nice as the symbolism is, the council has had a long time to actually back it up but simply hasn’t.


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Chicago coding bootcamp trains veterans for IT

Below is a summary for the article : Chicago coding bootcamp trains veterans for IT by Medil Reports Chicago

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Conlin McManus, 23, heard about Code Platoon, a coding school in Chicago geared for veterans, two weeks before the end of his active duty as a Marine.

Code Platoon, a Chicago nonprofit that puts military veterans through an immersive 14-week coding boot camp, is aimed at turning them into quality programmers.

The survey of 1,300 Chicago-area veterans released by Loyola University Chicago and the University of Southern California showed 65 percent of post-9/11 veterans left the military without a job.

“Veterans step forward to serve our country, they deserve our help,” said Rodrigo Levy, founder and executive director of Code Platoon, who shifted his career from trading to nonprofit three years ago.

Levy went to Dev Bootcamp, a pioneering for-profit coding boot camp in Chicago, in 2013, where he found the model effective to give career changers an entrance into tech in a relatively short time.

Coding boot camp, as a kind of vocational training, rams student through intense crash courses in precisely the software-development skills that employers need.

Students end up paying $2,500 out of the $13,000 price tag, only a fraction of the tuition of a for-profit code school such as Dev Bootcamp, which charges $12,700 for an 18-week session.

Code Platoon was founded in 2014, the year coding schools started to spring up, and graduated its first class in 2016 with nine graduates.

After graduation from Code Platoon, he started an internship as a software engineer at DRW Holdings Inc., one of seven Code Platoon’s sponsor companies.

Photo at top: A student works on coding at Code Platoon’s downtown classroom.


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Return The Favor: Veterans Expo and Job Fair

Below is a summary for the article : Return The Favor: Veterans Expo and Job Fair by ABC27

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YORK, Pa. – It’s not always easy to find a job, and sadly that’s especially true for our nation’s veterans.

It’s the third annual Veterans Expo and Job Fair.

The second part of the event is all about helping veterans who are looking for work.

The jobs cover lots of different fields including construction, sales, customer service, and computers.

Veterans can also take advantage of the resource center.

They’ll also be able to help veterans looking to start their own businesses.

Organizers of the expo say the need for this type of event is still there, and that’s why they hold this year after year.

“It’s so completely unfair that veterans go and fight for our freedom and have to come back and fight for jobs,” organizer Mariah Hammacher said.

“We decided there was also need to have a job fair so veterans and their families could get connected with veteran-friendly employers.”

The Veterans Expo and Job Fair is open to all veterans, active military members, and military families.


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Hancock County should invest in veterans

Below is a summary for the article : Hancock County should invest in veterans by Daily Reporter

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More than 5,000 Hancock County residents are veterans, about 10 percent of our population.

He gets help from many veterans organizations, especially the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the local veterans community is organizing even more to help him reach the young veterans just back from duty.

We all read Samm Quinn’s excellent article on Mr. Nyikos’ ITT dilemma Now is the perfect time for the Hancock County Commissioners to beef up our veterans service team.

We hope that in the future, Mr. Nyikos will be able to find out about his benefit change, not from a friend, but from a robust operation at a full-time staffed local veterans center, where staff and veteran volunteers are standing by to help him navigate the maze of Department of Defense and Veterans Administration bureaucracy.

Because of our close proximity to Fort Harrison, we have local people with the skill set to work with these veterans.

The leaders in the veterans community in Hancock County are working to bring resources to bear to help the county in its mission.

Currently we have many supportive private organizations doing great things in our community for veterans, and our hope is that we can begin to create a “Love INC-style” central office for our county vets.

Just as Love INC is a clearinghouse to help local churches work together and not duplicate efforts, such an office for veterans could form a network between existing groups.

Disabled American Veterans, Team Rubicon, and American Legion posts in Fortville and New Palestine and Greenfield all are in the business of helping veterans.

We hope the residents of Hancock County will continue to invest in us.

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