For Immediate Release - September 09, 2010

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $1 MILLION IN RENEWED EMPLOYMENT GRANTS FOR MASSACHUSETTS VETERANS

Workforce training grants awarded to 187 cities and towns across the Commonwealth

QUINCY - Thursday, September 9, 2010 - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to supporting Massachusetts servicemen and women, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today announced $1 million in renewed workforce grants for Massachusetts veterans from the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service under the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program. The $1 million awarded to the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) includes two Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) Grants totaling $500,000 and one Workforce Investment Program (VWIP) Grant for $500,000 that will be allocated to 187 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

"I am proud of Massachusetts' position as a national leader in providing veterans' services," said Governor Deval L. Patrick. "So many of our servicemen and women have fought tirelessly to protect the Commonwealth and it's our responsibility to ensure the fight ends upon coming home. Providing the opportunity for job training and gainful employment is an important step in that direction."

"Putting people back to work continues to be our top priority, and this federal funding will allow us to train some of the most deserving men and women in Massachusetts," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, chair of the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services. "We thank our Congressional Delegation for their support as we work together to make every effort to ensure a smooth transition back into civilian work and life for our veterans."

"We have a sacred and lifelong obligation to our nation's veterans who have served and sacrificed on our behalf," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "This measure of federal funding will help veterans in our communities who now find themselves in difficult circumstances, transition back into the workforce and civilian life."

"I want to commend the hard working staff at Father Bill's & Mainspring as well as Commissioner Kelley and the MA Department of Veterans Services for their dedication to assisting returning veterans with both their housing and job training," said Congressman William Delahunt. "These young men and women put their lives on the line for us and the least we can do is lend a helping hand to those struggling to get back on their feet during these tough economic times."

Within the HVRP program, the only federal program solely focused on the employment of homeless veterans, $300,000 of the grant will fund programs that involve emergency shelter, job counseling and referrals, and employment assistance in 30 cities and towns in the Central and South Coast regions. In Fiscal Year 2010, as a result of the Urban HVRP Grant, 103 veterans were employed. For this year's grant, DVS has partnered, again, with Veterans, Inc. in Worcester for the Urban Homeless Veterans' Employment Initiative.

This program will work to accomplish three key objectives: 1) assisting homeless veterans as they reintegrate back into the workforce; 2) assisting veterans in obtaining more independent housing; and 3) stimulating the development of effective service delivery systems to address the issues facing homeless and unemployed veterans in the Commonwealth.

"We have seen great success through our veterans' workforce grants over the past year," said Secretary of Veterans' Services Tom Kelley. "The Department of Veterans' Services is looking forward to continuing to work with our community partners to provide veterans with the training and assistance they need to rejoin the workforce."

Also within HVRP, an additional $200,000 will serve 14 cities and towns in the South Shore region as part of the HVRP Non-Urban Grant. DVS has collaborated with Father Bill's & MainSpring (FBMS) for a consecutive year to assure effective delivery of services to eligible veterans. In FY 2010, DVS and FBMS employed 41 veterans with HVRP funding.

John Yazwinski, President & CEO, Father Bill's & MainSpring, said, "We are proud of the work we have done thus far with veterans under this grant. The renewal of funding will allow us continue to help all veterans, but particularly those of more recent conflicts, who are finding it particularly challenging to find work and housing and this frail economy. We are grateful to be a partner with the state in this effort."

"Through this HVRP grant from DVS, Veterans Inc. can now invest $265,000 in helping homeless veterans find employment, which helps end the vicious cycle of homelessness due to lack of income. In addition, Veterans Inc. recently was awarded $544,220 for VWIP, Non-Urban and a new Women and Families HVRP grant from the Department of Labor. Working with our partners including DVS, we continue to attack the insidious problem of homelessness among our military veterans," said Vincent J. Perrone, president and CEO of Veterans Inc.

The $500,000 VWIP Grant awarded to DVS will provide funding to assist veterans in obtaining "green" jobs. Through this grant, 143 cities and towns will be served as DVS partners with the Veterans' Northeast Outreach Center (VNOC) in Haverhill to assist eligible veterans along the I-495 corridor. In Fiscal Year 2010, the VWIP Grant employed 200 veterans, including 63 veterans placed in green job sector. 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.

"This grant is not just about finding veterans jobs, it is much more than that," said John Ratka, Director, Northeast Veterans' Outreach Center. "We are able to work with these veterans and facilitate comprehensive community services which prevent homelessness, keep families together, and provide the support these veterans may need. We are proud to be a part of this program which is helping to enrich the lives of some of our most deserving men and women."

"Rutland Nurseries has proudly employed 15 to 20 Veterans Inc. residents every year for the past 15 years, on landscaping and snow removal jobs. The veterans have a tremendous work ethic and I recommend them to any employer. While serving in the military, these men went above and beyond on behalf of their countrymen. They deserve any assistance we can give them now," said Brent Besse, Vice President of Rutland Nurseries, an employer in Rutland that has worked with Veterans Inc. to hire veterans through the HVRP grant.

As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to "green energy jobs," the VWIP grants will help veterans from targeted groups overcome employment barriers and ease their transition into unsubsidized jobs and projects, which propose a clear strategy for training and employment in the renewable energy economy. 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.

Massachusetts will utilize its extensive network of veterans' programs and services to outreach and promote awareness of these new programs to veterans throughout the Commonwealth. 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. DVS has successfully managed and administered HVRP and VWIP grants in prior years and, as a result, expects to see continued results as veterans gain training and employment.

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