The Labor Department is committed to serving transitioning service members, veterans and their families by preparing them for meaningful careers and maximizing their employment opportunities.
Veterans and eligible spouses receive priority of service for all employment and training programs available through more than 2,500 American Job Centers nationwide. Within the American Job Center there are two different specialties that focus on veteran employment issues:
1) Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (known as LVERs) help connect veterans with appropriate employment, training and placement services available within each state. LVERs also conduct employer outreach to increase job opportunities for veterans,.
2) Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (or DVOP) specialists assist disabled veterans and those who are most in need of more intensive services.
Every day, veterans receive help at American Job Centers around the country. Take Navy veteran Marcus Townsell: Townsell had an electrical engineering degree, and tested aircraft during his military tour. As a civilian, he designed gas turbines and assessing nuclear plants; however, he lost his job due to an economic downturn and fell on hard times. That’s when he sought career help from Alvin Byers, a DVOP specialist at the KANSASWORKS workforce system offices in southern Kansas.
Byers, himself an Army veteran, helped Townsell develop a career plan for employment, improve his resume and hone his interview skills. That assistance helped Townsell land a good job as an electrical engineer with a large corporation in Oklahoma.
Recently, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 provided the department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service with funds of $175 million. This funding includes an increase of nearly $15 million for the Jobs for Veterans State Grants program, which will support more DVOP specialists like Alvin Byers at American Job Centers nationwide.
Additionally, the population that DVOP specialists serve has been expanded to include two more important groups: Transitioning service members who are in need of intensive services to successfully transition into the civilian workforce, and wounded warriors being treated in military treatment facilities along with their family caregivers.
With the greatest number of service members entering the civilian workforce since World War II, additional DVOP specialists will help ensure those most in need of assistance will get the support they need to find meaningful employment.
Keith Kelly is the assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training.