June 3, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Building on his commitment to strengthen employment, economic opportunities and services for California’s veterans and their families, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today launched Operation Welcome Home, a first-in-the-nation, statewide campaign to connect every returning veteran with the services they need to transition successfully from the battlefront to the home front.
“Operation Welcome Home is bringing state, federal and local governments, non-profits, volunteers and the private sector together to create a one-stop shop for our men and women in uniform when they return home,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “All across our state, we are demonstrating our commitment to our veterans. We are doing more than thanking them, we are showing them our gratitude through our actions.”
As the Governor first announced in his State of the State address in January, the mission of California’s Operation Welcome Home is to directly connect the 30,000 veterans annually returning to California with the benefits they have earned, and the services that can help them transition successfully from military service to civilian life. This operation will break down barriers and allow veterans straightforward and easy access to benefits and services including:
· Employment Assistance
· Job Training Assistance and Unemployment Benefits
· Education Opportunities
· Housing Assistance
· Health Care Needs
· U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits
· Support for Families
Operation Welcome Home coordinates services provided by governmental agencies and departments, non-governmental entities and volunteer organizations. Newly formed regional outreach teams throughout the state will build local community networks tailored toward veterans. Each regional team will work together to manage and target resources to meet the individual and unique needs of each new veteran with greater efficiency by partnering with service providers, volunteers and government entities such as: The California Department of Veterans Affairs; the California Military Department; the Labor and Workforce Development Agency; CaliforniaVolunteers; Department of Mental Health; Department of Alcohol and Drug Program; Mental Health Professionals; County Veteran Service Officers; Veterans Service Organizations; U.S .Department of Veteran Affairs; and a network of community organizations.
As part of Operation Welcome Home, the Governor introduced the California Veteran Corps (CalVet Corps), a network to reinforce the efforts of the regional teams. The CalVet Corps is comprised of 325 veterans hired by the Employment Development Department in partnership with the California Department of Veteran Affairs, using $20 million in funding. Building on these interagency partnerships, 80 part-time AmeriCorps members will be recruited by CaliforniaVolunteers using a $560,000 AmeriCorps grant which is scheduled to begin in July 2010. The CalVet Corps will be responsible for directly contacting each of California’s returning veterans at least three times in the first six months of separation from active duty. The CalVet Corps members will coordinate access to career services, mental health or substance abuse treatment and assistance with applying for state and federal veterans benefits.
Governor Schwarzenegger has committed and targeted an unprecedented amount of resources and services to California’s 2.1 million veterans and specifically the recently returning veterans. Some examples include:
· Expanding civil service preference points for veterans looking for jobs in state service
· Increasing higher education coordination with the “Troops to College” initiative
· Targeting millions of dollars in grants to help newly discharged veterans find jobs
· Connecting thousands of veterans to employers through the “Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet” job fairs
· Keeping the construction of five new state veteran homes on track
· Expanding home ownership opportunities through the CalVet Home Loan Program to all veterans