Editorial: Bet on U.S.
FROM THE DESK OF TODD BAXTER:
You’ve heard the statistics about our veterans: unemployment is higher than the U.S. average, and 1/3 of the street’s homeless once wore a military uniform, and most disturbingly, the high incidence of veteran suicides- up to 22 lives lost a day.
Make no mistake, these are challenges that we dedicate incredible time, talent, and energy to resolving- and we at Veterans Outreach Center do it very well. Up to 72% of our homeless veterans that seek employment find it with our resources. We assisted over 750 families and individuals last year to secure emergency housing solutions. 121 veterans were given alternatives to incarceration that offered them a second chance at putting their lives back together without the burden of an added criminal record.
These are numbers that show the impressive reach our programs have, but they don’t begin to tell the story of who is behind the scenes making these successes, and so much more, possible.
On February 27th, Veterans Outreach Center hosted many of our most passionate advocates, our elected leaders, to discuss the importance of keeping our programs growing to meet the needs of our veteran community. The support of these officials is vital to keeping our mission alive.
Senator Joseph Robach says, “The Veterans Outreach Center is an invaluable resource for area veterans, providing them with job training, counseling, therapy and so much more. Throughout my tenure in the State Legislature, I have been proud to support numerous measures that will help veterans transitioning back to civilian life, assist them in getting a college degree and provide them with financial incentive to start their own businesses, the work of the Veterans Outreach Center is exactly what much of this legislation seeks to accomplish."
We sincerely thank Senator Robach, Senator Mike Nozzolio, Senator Rich Funke, Senator Patrick Gallivan, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Senator Robert Ortt, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Assembly Member Bill Nojay, Assembly Member Peter Lawrence, Assembly Member Mark Johns, Assembly Member David Gantt, Assembly Member Harry Bronson and Assembly Member Stephen Hawley for pledging their interest in and support for our veterans. These public servants extend themselves to learn more about our success at Veterans Outreach Center and the need we still have to be able to serve with distinction every veteran in our 5 county area.
But there’s more… there’s you. Dozens, if not hundreds, of employers are knocking on our door to send our very best trained and qualified candidates for high tech jobs- and we have them. We have colleges and universities eager to connect with the brightest minds from the military ranks and training schools- and we have them, too. We have national programs and platforms asking us ‘how do you do it?’ because we do what we do so well, and it’s because our community is ready to invest in our veterans to be the driving force behind the next evolution of our economy.
When you want to find the candidate that’s going to put mission before self- who will put your process before self-promotion- who will focus on end results and not just short term gain, you are looking for a veteran of the United States Armed Services. Veterans Outreach Center is the core connection for all of our veterans at every stage of the civilian transition. Investing in our Center, reinforcing our ability to provide our veterans with a central system and supportive transition experience is what is going to fill the gaps in our state and region’s economic development. We intend to be the answer to your needs by providing the answers to theirs.
We know our methods and motivation are on the right track because we’ve been lucky to collaborate with and lead our peers in developing veteran support programs. Our ‘blueprint’ has become a national model for dozens of independent and municipal programs. Our team has served as experts on panels from the White House, to the VA, to The Bush Center’s Military Service Initiative Project. And we know that we owe so much of our progress to the partnerships you have made possible.
Since 1973, our programs have grown and evolved to be better than any other in the nation. Our successes have been long and many- and do we intend to do even better? You can bet on it.