JUNE 10, 2015

VA announces campaign to increase veterans’ economic potential in Phoenix

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PHOENIX – On June 4, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton hosted a launch event for the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative, a campaign led by the Department of Veterans Affairs to promote economic success for Veterans in partnership with local communities.

veci logoPhoenix is one of the first 25 communities planned to launch in 2015, with 25 more slated for launch in 2016. The initiative is part of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald’s department-wide transformation called MyVA, which is dedicated to putting Veterans at the center of everything VA does.

“Thanks to an unprecedented partnership with the public sector, non-profits, the business community and the faith community, Phoenix was the first city in the United States to end chronic homelessness among Veterans,” said Stanton. “The Veterans Economic Communities Initiative continues to build on that success by promoting further educational and economic opportunities in Phoenix for all of those who have served our country.”

The national kick-off for the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative took place on Monday, May 18, 2015 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. Secretary McDonald was joined by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle White and key industry figures to kick off the campaign.

“The best way to get things done for Veterans is to involve partners from both the public and private sectors – national to local,” said McDonald. “If history has shown us anything, it’s that all you have to do is give Veterans an opportunity and they will go beyond anything you could ever envision. 

The goal of the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative is to improve economic outcomes for America’s Veterans by bringing together local and national partners to coordinate services at the local level. The campaign includes a VA Economic Liaison in each community who will expand and encourage collaboration among private and public organizations that offer resources related to education, training and employment. Through strategic partnerships, and by offering Veterans innovative forms of learning and employment opportunities, these communities will help Veterans gain competitive career skills and knowledge in locally in-demand fields. 

National campaign partners include the departments of Defense and Labor, the Small Business Administration, and national nonprofits, businesses and educators. A number of organizations local to the Phoenix area are coming together to coordinate the local launch, including Arizona Public Service, the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, Tri West Healthcare Alliance and The Arizona Coalition for Military Families. The first 25 VECI communities were chosen based on transitioning Servicemember and Post-9/11 Veteran populations; unemployment, employment opportunity and job growth; and education spending. 

Communities participating in the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative include:
Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Cincinnati, Ohio
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dallas, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Honolulu, Hawaii
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Florida
Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
Louisville, Kentucky
Miami, Florida
Nashville, Tennessee
New York, New York
Norfolk, Virginia
Phoenix, Arizona
Richmond, Virginia
Riverside, California
San Antonio, Texas
San Diego, California
Seattle, Washington
St. Louis, Missouri
Washington, D.C.

Under the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative, Phoenix will develop a scalable, sustainable model over the next two years that includes:
• Developing ongoing public-private partnerships focused on employment and economic opportunities;
• Fostering employer networking and encouraging hiring commitments on the Veterans Employment Center™ (www.ebenefits.va.gov/jobs);
• Supporting events such as career fairs, job and employment summits, and roundtables to boost economic competitiveness for Veterans;
• Sharing best practices and training and supporting employers who are considering hiring Veterans; and
• Facilitating the development of learning or resource hubs to help connect Veterans to economic opportunities including entrepreneurship, credentialing and skills building.

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