Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area is one of six pilot Community Action Agencies in Ohio offering the Ohio Vocation, Education, Training & Services (Ohio V.E.TVETS logo.S.) program to aid veterans at 200 percent of the federal poverty level and below. This is an income of $22,340 for a single person or $46,100 for a family of four.
As the name indicates, Ohio V.E.T.S. will assist veterans in obtaining education, training and meaningful employment at a living wage and provide them and their families with other supportive services to help them attain self-sufficiency.
“Ohio has the fifth largest veteran population in the U.S. and with more service men and women coming home, and a higher unemployment and poverty rate for veterans, we feel this program is very important,” said Phil Cole, executive director of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA). “It will not only aid our veterans and local heroes, but will enhance the economic security of Ohio.”
The Ohio VETS program has already received support from many community leaders in Ohio, including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers.
“Veterans who sacrificed to keep our homeland safe should never have to worry about being homeless,” Brown said. “That’s why community-based programs like OACAA’s Ohio V.E.T.S. program are so important. Rather than merely address the symptom, this initiative connects veterans with the skills needed to enter the workforce and other resources needed to live with dignity. This is about ensuring our veterans have the benefits that they have earned and deserve.”
As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and having served in the Ohio Army National Guard for over 27 years, Rep. Stivers believes in this program aimed at helping returning veterans find jobs.
“With the number of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to make every effort to help our returning troops get back to work right away,” Stivers said. “Members of our military give so much in service to our nation and programs like this one help our veterans obtain employment, once they return home.”
There are more than 76,000 veterans living in Montgomery, Greene, Darke and Preble Counties. Nearly one-quarter of the veterans in those four counties are not in the civilian work force. Many veterans, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, often need assistance with childcare, mental health services, financial literacy, transportation and many other issues.
Veterans may need workforce preparation services and supportive services such as utility payment assistance and weatherization. They also need job training, placement and coaching.
“Community Action Partnership has the experience and the services to help our struggling veterans attain self-sufficiency and live happy, healthy and productive lives,” said Deborah Ferguson, CCAP, Director of Outreach and Social Services for the Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area.
The agency has hired Carlos Morrison, Support Services Coordinator and Dominic Flemingson, Program Assistant, to help administer the program. The goal in the first year is to help 50 veterans overcome multiple barriers to self-sufficiency.
Ohio V.E.T.S. will provide assistance and coordinate services to address emergency needs, housing, health, personal finance, education/training and employment. Financial assistance such as work clothing, bus tokens, gas cards, tools and uniforms may also be provided.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to serve those who have served our country,” said John T. Donnellan, President & CEO of the Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area. “We look forward to working with our local partners to help our veterans return to the workforce.”