U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of $47,600,000 In Training Grants to Help Homeless Veterans Re-enter the Workforce

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transitioning veteran shaking hands with employer

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the award of 163 Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $47,600,000. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services to more than 18,000 homeless veterans.

“While serving in the military, veterans learn many skills desired in today’s workforce,” said Secretary Acosta. “These grants will help thousands of homeless veterans reintegrate themselves into society and secure good jobs.”

Funds are being awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards; local public agencies and nonprofit organizations; tribal governments; and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills training, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance.

This year’s HVRP awards provide 40 first-year grants totaling nearly $13,000,000. Previous awardees will receive first and second option year grants totaling $34,600,000.

Grantees under the HVRP program will coordinate their efforts with other federal programs, such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

More information on the Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at www.dol.gov/vets/. For more information about the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), please visit veterans.gov or follow on @VETS_DOL twitter.

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Easterseals serves 20,000 vets and their families in 2018

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Angela Williams-Easterseals

In 2018, nearly 20,000 veterans and military family members received support through Easterseals through an extensive list of programs, including; advocacy and education and employment programs and job training.

Other programs include; military and veterans’ caregiver services, veteran community services and support and health and wellness programs. The organization is led by President and CEO Angela Williams, a retired United States Air Force officer, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The iconic nonprofit kicks off its 100th anniversary celebration, furthering its mission of supporting the disabled and their families. Over the past century, Easterseals has provided a multitude of disability services to more than 1.5 million people, helping to meet individual and family needs.

Easterseals Military & Veterans Services
Our mission is to ensure that it’s possible for veterans and military families to live their lives to the fullest in every community. We work to break down barriers, engage organizations and communities, and connect veterans and military families with what they need for meaningful employment, education and overall wellness. Our grassroots outreach – through 71 local affiliates in communities nationwide– provide unmatched, accessible, and indispensable resources and support for veterans and military families.

Grassroots Solutions through Easterseals
The needs of veterans and military families are evolving, not disappearing. That’s why Easterseals specializes in identifying the needs of veterans and military families, particularly with employment, job training and support like family respite opportunities. We work to make solutions easily accessible in communities.

Learn More about Easterseals Military and Veterans Services

Discover how we’ve been successful so far in our mission.

Our work in action

  • Advocacy & Education
    Veterans and military families deserve services delivered in an appropriate, timely, and accessible manner. Our Washington, DC-based government relations team works to influence federal and state legislation affecting veterans and military families and actively engages with Congressional staff in pursuit of these goals.
  • Employment Programs and Job Training
    Our employment programs provide the necessary tools to achieve and maintain meaningful employment and a steady income. We offer skills training, job search assistance, employment preparation and guidance. For example, we partner with the Direct Employers Association, which has a membership of about 800 employers who want to hire veterans and people with disabilities. Through this partnership, Easterseals is offering a job search portal at easterseals.jobs, which features job postings from these employers.
  • Military and Veterans Caregiver Services 
    We strive to ensure military caregivers can access what they need to take on the enormous responsibility of caregiving—often, while still needing to work, navigate family life and take care of themselves. We embrace and support military caregivers, particularly as they transition into this new experience, life-long trajectory and unfamiliar — yet vital role — within their families and communities.
  • Veteran Community Services & Support 
    Veterans come home to their families and communities, so serving them must be a community undertaking. That’s why, across the country, we are delivering services that veterans and military families need to live productive, successful lives.
  • Health and Wellness Programs
    We aim to reach as many veterans and military families as possible to provide health resources and programs, including adult dayand medical rehabilitation services.

Additional resources

What are many veterans asking themselves these days? “What to wear?!”  As military members return to civilian life and face the job search, figuring out the right suit to wear to an interview can be the biggest challenge, while the job responsibilities are a breeze. Watch the video below to see why, and help spread the message that veterans are highly skilled and valuable employees. See all three of our military themed public service videos. 

In November 2015, Easterseals hosted Heroes Work Here, an event to educate corporate leaders on hiring and retaining veterans. With friends and partners, we gathered important advice about how to hire America’s best and brightest. Find tips on why and how to hire veterans here!
Watch Travis Mills explain how you can hire veterans with Easterseals’ help right now.

Veteran and Dancing with the Stars winner JR Martinez and veteran and author Travis Mills play word association with Easterseals, our veteran edition!

Sailor Spotlight! U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Remely Culas

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U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Remely Culas, from Garden Grove, California, directs an MH-60R Sea Hawk, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Chung-Hoon is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

The men and women in U.S. Navy are deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Logan C. Kellums).

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

Navy Office of Community Outreach is the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information national community outreach field activity. NAVCO’s primary means of outreach is through Navy Weeks, which work to bring a concentration of Navy personnel and assets to cities and towns across Middle America.

Mathematician inducted into Space and Missiles Pioneers Hall of Fame

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Lt. Gen. David Thompson, Air Force Space Command vice commander, presented Dr. Gladys West with the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers award for her decades of contributions to the Air Force’s space program. West was unable to attend the formal induction ceremony that took place August 28, where three others joined the elite list of professionals who have greatly impacted the Air Force space program.

Dr. Gladys West is among a small group of women who did computing for the U.S. military in the era before electronic systems.  Hired in 1956 as a mathematician at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, she participated in a path-breaking, award-winning astronomical study that proved, during the early 1960s, the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune.  Thereafter, from the mid-1970s through the 1980s, using complex algorithms to account for variations in gravitational, tidal, and other forces that distort Earth’s shape, she programmed an IBM 7030 “Stretch” computer to deliver increasingly refined calculations for an extremely accurate geodetic Earth model, a geoid, optimized for what ultimately became the Global Positioning System (GPS) orbit.

The Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Award pays tribute to the leaders of the early years of the Air Force space program, as well as the subsequent innovators whose vision and perseverance overcame the obstacles of the unknown, those who transformed the cutting edge of technology into operational systems, and those who dedicated their lives to exploring space in support of our national security concerns.

Continue onto The 45th Space Wing to read the complete article.

Native American helps Soldiers find solace

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During certain mornings in her 28 years in the Army, Julia Kelly would take her troops outdoors, where she could feel the cool air coursing through her lungs and the warmth of the sunshine upon her cheeks. 
The now-retired command sergeant major would ask her Soldiers to take deep breaths and clear their minds from negative thoughts and emotions.

Travelling through the countryside became her welcome retreat growing up in rural southern Montana in one of the largest settlements of the Crow people, a tribe of Native Americans who originally settled in the Great Plains. Also known as the Apsaalooke, or “children of the large-beaked bird” her people share a sacred bond with the land.

She applied Crow principles during her Army career that helped her rise to the service’s highest enlisted rank. Since her retirement in 2010, she still contributes to the Army as an ammunition test coordinator at the Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She also volunteers her time speaking to women on overcoming domestic abuse and she helps serve food to homeless veterans.

Her service to other Soldiers spanned her Army career.

DESERT CALM

Before she deployed to Iraq in 2008, Kelly asked her entire battalion to join her outside for a peaceful walk and deep breathing session. She wanted to show her troops that the dangers of a deployment could not rattle them, because nature would grant them an inner peace, even in Iraq’s harsh climate.

After her 299th Brigade Support Battalion from Fort Riley, Kansas, arrived in Iraq, she would gather troops together before the brigade combat security team departed for morning runs through the streets of Baghdad.

With sage and cedar mailed to her from relatives, she would bless the vehicles and Soldiers and recite a morning prayer — a sacred Crow tradition to give thanks. More importantly, she performed a ritual called “smudging,” asking for protection from the Creator.

During smudging, she would burn sage with abalone shell and a feather to clear the body and mind of negative energy, and to protect her Soldiers from harm. She would ask her Soldiers to face toward the east into the sun which signals the start of a new day.

Spirituality is believing “in something greater than yourself,” she said.

Continue onto The Army Newsroom to read the complete article.

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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Soldier using a laptop to code at desk

It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

Sailor Spotlight! Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Alton Laussade

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Two Sailors aboard USS Chung-Hoon

Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Alton Laussade, (left), from Raceland, Louisiana, and Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Remely Culas, (right), from Garden Grove, California, clean the main rotor pylon of an MH-60R Sea Hawk, with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93).

Chung-Hoon is underway conducting routine operations as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 in the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. The men and women in the U.S. Navy are deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Logan C. Kellums)

Careers for Veterans in the Oil and Gas Industry

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The Oil & Gas industry is a global powerhouse employing hundreds of thousands of workers worldwide as well as generating hundreds of billions of dollars globally each year. While the oil & gas industry is always changing, a career in the industry is steady, since the need for oil is always present across a variety of industries. Oil is not just used in automobiles and airplanes, but in everyday items, such as plastic, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, and even clothing and cosmetics contain oil compounds.

Because of the technical knowledge and intangible skills gained in the military, a career in oil and gas is a natural transition for veterans. “There are a lot of similarities between the military and the oil and gas industry,” explains Steve Casey, Vice President at Orion. “Managers in this industry today are looking for disciplined, hard working, reliable, get-your-hands-dirty, technically capable, and trainable people who want to learn and grow. They’re looking for people who have no problem working in the field and handling tougher environments, and who don’t want to sit inside of an office all day,” he says.

There are many benefits to a career in the oil & gas industry. Compensation is historically higher than most other industries, with entry level Operator positions earning $70,000-$80,000+ in the first year, and Engineers earning well over $100,000. There are also many opportunities for promotion and growth, with the option to move around all over the U.S. and internationally. In addition to compensation, the oil and gas industry allows its employees the opportunity to work with some of the most advanced technology available today. “Many candidates don’t realize how high-tech the oil and gas industry is. Whenever I tour one of the facilities I’m amazed by the technology,” says Casey.

Continue onto Orion Talent to read the complete article.

Caponera Earns Military Excellence Award at Recruit Training Command

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CAPONERA.MEA

GREAT LAKES (NNS)—Seaman Recruit Martine Caponera, Division 405, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command, earning the Military Excellence Award on Oct. 12.

Caponera, from Fountain Valley, California, was inspired to join the Navy after volunteering with Compass 31, an organization based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that works to bring females out of human trafficking. “I joined the Navy to be a part of the greater cause in helping those in need,” Caponera said. “I witnessed so much pain and suffering, and the Navy provides me the opportunity to finish nursing school and go forth and help those people as well as others all around the world.”

Caponera, 22, is a 2014 graduate of Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, California. She was employed as a restaurant manager in Newport Beach, California. Caponera is assigned the rate of Fire Controlman.

The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award is the top award presented to the No. 1 recruit of their graduating training group. The MEA is awarded to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork. The award placed her at the pinnacle of today’s newest Sailors. Caponera is awarded a flag letter of commendation.

Caponera said her selection as the MEA was humbling.

“There are so many brilliant, talented Sailors, not only in my division, but throughout all the training groups that I am proud to serve with,” she said. “Coming in the first day of boot camp, I had very little knowledge of the military or the customs of the military, so winning this award shows me how far I have come and how much my hard work has paid off.”

Caponera credited her Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Robert Zahrn, Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Adam Gonzales, and Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Heather Townsend for their leadership and guidance.

“My RDCs have portrayed such incredible examples of how a Sailor should conduct themselves, always showing examples of honor, courage, and commitment,” she said. “(Chief) Gonzales’ dedication to what he does has shown me that I can do anything. His pride in being a part of this incredible organization motivates me every day and the training tools he has provided me will continue to help me succeed in the fleet.”

Caponera also said her mother has been a constant source of inspiration.

“My main sources of motivation here at boot camp were my RDCs and my mom,” she said. “As I have changed my majors and my mind over the years, my mom has been steadfast by my side, always encouraging me to do what I am passionate about. I would not be where I am today without her support.”

Caponera said the transition from civilian to basically-trained Sailor was her biggest challenge at boot camp.

“It was the culture shock of never being around the military sector before, then fully immersing myself in it through boot camp,” she said. “I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and studying every night until I was completely confident in my knowledge and ability to navigate military life.”

After graduation, Caponera will attend “A” School at Great Lakes. Fire Controlman provide system employment recommendations; perform organizational and intermediate maintenance on digital computer equipment, subsystems, and systems; operate and maintain combat and weapons direction systems, surface to air and surface to surface missile systems, and gun fire control systems at the organizational and intermediate level.

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 30,0000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit navy.mil/local/rtc/.

Sailor Spotlight! Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jerry Jimenez

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 2018 La Habra High School graduate and La Habra, California, native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, home to the U.S. Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Ramirez is a Navy yeoman serving with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 (CPRW-11). A Navy yeoman is responsible for performing various administrative and clerical duties. “I like that I get to meet everyone in the command,” said Ramirez. “I’m in customer service so I get a chance to meet everyone.”

Ramirez credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in La Habra.

“I learned to always have a good, positive attitude,” said Ramirez.

The P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission aircraft that is replacing the legacy P-3C Orion. Those who fly in the P-8A hunt for submarines and surface ships as well as conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The P-8A operates with a smaller crew than the P-3C, and it also delivers an extended global reach, greater payload capacity, and higher operating altitude. It also has an open-systems architecture with significant growth potential.

According to Navy officials, there are more than 15 Navy patrol squadrons in the U.S. and eight of those squadrons belong to Wing Eleven, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. This means that those who serve here are part of the first “Super Wing” in Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance history, ready to deploy and defend America and allies around the world.

Wing Eleven recently added the Navy’s newest squadron to its arsenal: Unmanned Patrol Squadron Nineteen (VP-19), flying the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The P-8A and MQ-4C will serve as the future of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, according to Navy officials.

When asked about his plans following his assumption of command ceremony in June, Capt. Craig T. Mattingly, Commodore, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 said, “Our focus will be to take care of our most precious assets, the men and women of (Wing Eleven). We will sustain current readiness of our P-8A squadrons and reserve P-3C squadron while incorporating the MQ-4C Triton into the maritime patrol and reconnaissance force.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Ramirez is most proud of earning a promotion to petty officer.

“I was really nervous taking the exam and when I passed it was a great relief coming off my shoulders,” Ramirez said.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Ramirez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

“It means having a great responsibility and being more independent and responsible,” said Ramirez.

Source: outreach.navy.mil

National Veterans Memorial and Museum to Open October 27

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NVMMC

There are more than 20 million living veterans throughout the United States, from our Greatest Generation to our recent heroes coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq. And yet, there is no single monument or museum dedicated to the Veteran’s experience.

There are institutions that focus on specific conflicts or branches of service, but there hasn’t been a place for us all to join together to celebrate and honor the sacrifice of all of our veterans, past and present…until now.

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM), officially designated by the Federal Government, will officially open on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The NVMM will host a dedication and grand opening ceremony that will feature distinguished veterans whose stories are highlighted in the museum, military leadership and appearances or performances by men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Reserves. General Colin Powell (U.S. Army, Retired) will deliver the keynote address. The public is encouraged to attend the dedication to celebrate the opening of this historic institution.

The museum, located at 300 W. Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215, will open immediately after the dedication and will remain open until 9 p.m. that evening to allow as many guests as possible to experience the exhibits.

Please RSVP for the Dedication and Grand Opening Ceremonies at nationalvmm.org/grandopening/.