Departments of Labor and Veterans and Emergency Management Announce $2 Million Grant to Support Veterans in Partnership with Easter Seals Maine Bookmark and Share

October 7, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 7, 2014
Contact: Labor— Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009; DVEM—Norman Stickney, 207-430-5759; Easter Seals—Amie Marzen, 207-449-2896

Focus on connecting transitioning veterans and their families in rural areas with employment

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Labor announced today that it has won a $2 million grant to assist veterans who are transitioning to civilian life in rural areas of the state gain access to employment, healthcare and support services and resources. Partner agencies in the grant include DVEM and Easter Seals Maine. Northern Maine Development Commission will also receive funding due to the grant’s particular focus on Aroostook and Washington Counties.

“This grant will provide much-needed supports to our veterans, who have given our country so much,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Commissioner Paquette directed her staff to identify grants that could benefit our workforce development programs. This program is a beneficiary of her successful efforts and will do a great deal to help our veterans transition back into civilian life with a new career.”

The grant was awarded as part of the Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Rural Health. Veterans Count, a program of Easter Seals Maine, provides military members, veterans and their families with emergency funding, counseling, legal assistance and other services when regular channels of assistance are not available.

Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette stated, “The LePage Administration has made great progress connecting the pieces of the state’s workforce development system to make them more collaborative and be more responsive to businesses’ hiring needs. This grant funds staff to bring those connections together to work for real people, our veterans—by transforming their career options and improving their financial situation.”

This grant will provide outreach to transitioning veterans and their families, increase coordination of healthcare and benefits for veterans, and provide employment assistance to transitioning veterans and their families. The resources it provides will include support service dollars and the development of an education database to assist veterans with transferring military skills and training into civilian occupations.

Easter Seals Maine Executive Director Gail Wilkerson stated, “The Maine Easter Seals' Military and Veterans Program is honored to work with the Maine Department of Labor to expand our veterans services from southern Maine into Aroostook and Washington Counties. Working in partnership with local community agencies, we look forward to helping assure the independence, dignity, health and well-being of veterans and their families in the northernmost and easternmost reaches of the state.”

A key component of the proposal includes $200,000 for a Veterans Flexible Employment Fund that will provide gap funding for work-ready and employed veterans to help them obtain or maintain employment, including uniforms and/or tools needed for a job.

The grant provides funding for 11 full-time positions statewide with the partner agencies, with hiring preference given to qualified veteran applicants. The project period for the grant runs from Sept. 15, 2014 to Sept. 14, 2016.

Through collaborations with other VA program offices, Federal partners, state partners, and rural communities, the VA Office of Rural Health works to optimize the use of available and emerging technologies, establish new access points to care, and employ strategies to increase health care options for all rural Veterans. Learn more about ORH at http://www.ruralhealth.va.gov/index.asp.

Maine CareerCenters offer specialized employment services to help Veterans find jobs, get trained, or access services, including job search assistance, career decision-making guidance to translate military skills to good jobs in the civilian workforce, information on training or education opportunities and referrals to other state and federal resources available to Veterans.

Veterans with questions about this grant or other services should contact the veterans representative at their local CareerCenter, http://www.mainecareercenter.com . Veterans and eligible spouses are given priority of service for the receipt of employment, training and placement services provided under most Maine Department of Labor-funded programs. All CareerCenter services are free of charge.

Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

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Supporting documents

Veteran Richard Mariello of Old Orchard Beach speaks about the support he and his family received from Easter Seals Maine’s Veterans Count program while he was on active duty and after his return to civilian life. The $2 million grant awarded to the Department of Labor will expand these services statewide, providing military members, veterans and their families with employment assistance as well as emergency funding, counseling, legal assistance and other services when regular channels of assistance are not available.

Department of Veterans and Emergency Management Commissioner Brigadier General James D. Campbell

Gail J. Wilkerson, Executive Director of Easter Seals Maine