Warrior Gateway Supporting Student Veterans of America at National Conference

Members of the Warrior Gateway team will be attending “The 4th Annual National Conference presented by Student Veterans of America,” December 8-10, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV.  This will be a great opportunity to connect with student veterans, their families, and the organizations and institutions assisting them.  To see the event schedule, register, and learn more information, click here.

Opening remarks and guest speakers include: Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Col. David Sutherland, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Kevin Schmiegel, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The conference theme is “Combating Veteran Unemployment,” which is a predominant issue right now for veterans nationwide.  One of the conference highlights will be the career fair on Friday, which will involve Student Veterans of America partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and RecruitMilitary to bring employers from across many different sectors together that want to hire veterans.  Top tier employers will be in attendance, such as veteran friendly employers Booz Allen Hamilton and General Electric.  Attendees are encouraged to bring multiple copies of their resume and employers are asked to bring national and local job opportunities.

We will provide a live feed from the event through social media, so stay in touch!  If you are attending, or know someone who is, please connect with us. We are excited to network with as many student veterans, military families, and other organizations as we can.

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin and join the conversation!

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Warrior Gateway will be supporting veterans continuing higher education and employment next week at the 4th Annual Student Veterans of America National Conference in Las Vegas, NV.  http://www.warriorgateway.info/?p=2958

Shinseki: cutting claims backlog a top priority

From the Washington Times:

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki (center) is greeted by veterans as the Charleston Vet Center in Charleston, W.Va. Image courtesy Associated Press

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said he is making it a top priority this year to tackle the backlog of disability claims that has veterans waiting months – even years – to get financial compensation for their injuries.

Among those waiting for relief are sick Vietnam and Gulf War veterans to whom the former Army commander feels a special allegiance.

“I’m a kid out of the Vietnam era, I just have enough firsthand knowledge of folks walking around with lots of issues. If there’s a generation of veterans that have had a tough row to hoe, it’s the Vietnam generation,” said Mr. Shinseki, 67, as he traveled through snowcapped mountains in Ohio and West Virginia between meetings with veterans.

Mr. Shinseki, a former Army chief of staff who had part of a foot blown off when he was a young officer in Vietnam, was unapologetic about a decision he made in October to make it easier for potentially 200,000 sick Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the Agent Orange herbicide to receive service-connected compensation.

He said it was the right thing to do, even though the volume of claims will grow and it will likely take about two years to get the average claim-processing wait time back to where it is today, about five months.

Read the full article here.

Visible steps to address veteran homelessness

As we enter December and temperatures continue to drop, we reach the season where survival can be acutely difficult for the homeless. The VA estimates that up to 131,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. This is clearly a time for serious thinking about how to address this persistent problem.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has publicly committed to working to end veteran homelessness within 5 years. In 2010 the VA will spend $3.2 billion to achieve this goal, with “as much as $500 million going to homeless programs and $2.5 billion to medical services,” according to the Washington Times.

Ending veteran homelessness is no doubt a hugely ambitious goal, but this weekend in the news we see a smattering of stories which provide some hope that substantive steps are being taken to help achieve that goal. A new homeless shelter is has been dedicated in Ventura, CA, which will have the capacity for 60 disabled and elderly veterans and was largely funded by the VA. In Shreveport, LA a similar facility is being opened by the Volunteers of America, with a capacity for 56 veterans. And finally, a 32-bed shelter will open today in Chicago in a ceremony attended by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Asst. VA Secretary Tammy Duckworth.

As the Washington Times states,

Our time waiting for soldiers to return from war will be well spent if we are about the shared goal of protecting and defending our country. Protecting those least among us from the inhumane conditions of persistent poverty and defending their right to housing.

Presentation from Business Steps Up: Hiring Our Heroes

Below is the presentation that we gave on November 12th at the US Chamber’s event:  “Business Steps Up – Hiring Our Heroes” and subsequently on November 14th in Las Vegas to a group of wounded warriors and their families as part of the American Airlines Yellow Ribbon Express.

It’s slides only with no audio (sorry) but gives you a good sense of the project messages to date.

Photos from ‘Business Steps Up’

Yesterday we presented at the ‘Business Steps Up: Hiring our Heroes’ event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It was a very exciting event, with a number of important speakers, including Dan Senor, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Secretary of VA Eric Shinseki. We presented on the Warrior Gateway as well, with an introduction by Gen. Boyd and a presentation on the project by Devin.

Here are some photos from the event:

You can view the full set on our Flickr.