Bringing Veterans Back to Work
On October 2nd 2012 United Way of King County, a HandsOn Network Affiliate and Community Blueprint Network partner had a very successful event teaming up with nearly a dozen employers in ending veteran homelessness through the Veteran Employment Project.
The Veteran Employment Project is about addressing long-term homelessness by combining two national best-practices: supported employment and supportive housing. We recognize that combining these two practices will help clients achieve better housing and employment outcomes. In Fall 2012 we are kicking off this effort with a $250,000 investment. Over the next two years, United Way will team with three highly qualified community based agencies to connect 200+ chronically homeless veterans with job training and employment services.
“What about productivity, quotas, efficiencies, and work stoppages….those are our bottom-line” this is an example of the conversation we had at the Veteran Employment Project information session at the Tukwila Community Center. Employers at this event had the opportunity to discuss their concerns, and to raise their questions about hiring from a population where challenges range from chronic health problem, mental health issues and/or substance abuse history.
On the other side of the conversation our team of highly qualified community based agencies had the opportunity to shed light on their programs and to address the employer’s concerns. “If the individual doesn’t belong in a manufacturing line…then they should not be there in the first place”. The “support” from supported employment has to be seen as a “value added” rather than a hindrance. “We screen our own clients before we recommend them to the employers…we want to make sure they are successful on the job…we will never recommend a client who does not fit the positions need” it is important that the individual does work that they can do.
It was a wonderful discussion all around the table. It was impressive to see the flow of business cards being exchanged at the end of the event and even witness one of the employers say they would like to hire veterans now and what are my next steps!
Thank you to everyone who participated in this event.