For Immediate Release - August 20, 2009

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES AWARD OF U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR GRANT TO ASSIST UNEMPLOYED VETERANS AND PROMOTE "GREEN" INDUSTRY PRACTICES

WORCESTER - Thursday, August 20, 2009 - The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced that the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) has been awarded a $500,000 U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) grant to assist veterans in training and employment in green industry professions. This grant was one of only 17 awarded nationwide, totaling more than $7.5 million dollars, to provide approximately 3,000 veterans with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers. The grants are administered by DOL's Veterans' Workforce Investment Program (VWIP).

"This funding will allow us to train some of our most deserving men and women for the jobs of the future," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, who chairs the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services. "After the great service they've given to us, we must make every effort to ensure a smooth transition back into civilian work and life and this is one way to do that."

The VWIP grant awarded to DVS provides funds to assist veterans in obtaining "green" jobs. Fields of employment include energy efficiency and renewable energy, modern electric-power development and clean vehicles. The Green TEAM (Training and Employment Access for Massachusetts) Veterans Initiative will utilize prior military experiences while training veterans for licensing, certifications and credentialing to help them become dutifully employed in this growing sector of our state and national economy.

"Providing training that leads to green industry jobs for veterans is a win-win," said DVS Secretary Tom Kelley. "This grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor demonstrates that the Commonwealth continues to be a leader in veterans' services while providing effective stewardship of our resources, which will yield a sustainable, greener future for our citizens."

"The transition from service in the military to civilian employment can be a challenging one, and I am thrilled to see such a substantial grant going towards the reemployment of our Commonwealth's veterans," said Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Suzanne M. Bump. "These funds enable us to provide a comprehensive approach, including skills assessment, job counseling, and retraining, which is necessary to ensure rapid and sustainable job placements for our service men and women."

DVS has partnered with the Veterans' Northeast Outreach Center (VNOC) in Haverhill, Massachusetts to assist eligible veterans along the I-495 corridor to include Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Fall River, and New Bedford. DVS and VNOC will work to reintegrate veterans into meaningful employment while also stimulating the development of effective service delivery systems that will address some of the employability problems facing veterans.

"This opportunity for the veterans we serve to receive training in green technology and placement in green technology jobs is huge," said Veterans' Northeast Outreach Center Director John Ratka. "We are proud to be partnering with the Department of Veterans Services to offer these services. Combining this with the mainstream services we are currently providing through other DVS contracts and Federal grants certainly will improve the quality of life for our veterans and their families."

The VWIP grants will help veterans from targeted groups overcome employment barriers and ease their transition into unsubsidized jobs. Through this program, veterans receive skills assessments; individual job counseling; labor-market information; classroom or on-the-job training; skills upgrading and retraining; and placement assistance and follow-up services. Under this program DVS will network and coordinate efforts with various local, state and federal social service providers, including the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development and local career centers, when appropriate.

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