LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Department of Workforce Services announced that Arkansas recently received a $1,250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans' Employment and Training Service, to provide employment, training and supportive services to veterans around the state.
Arkansas was one of 11 recipients of the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program grant, which totaled $11.53 million. Arkansas' program, titled the Arkansas Veterans Education and Training Partnership, will assist 450 veterans over a three-year period and train 360 for jobs in heath care and energy efficiency/renewable energy. Each veteran who qualifies for the program can receive up to $1,000 to offset training costs and an additional $500 for supportive services such as child care and transportation.
DWS is the grant recipient and will partner with ARVets, the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges and the Arkansas Apprenticeship Coalition.
"We are excited to partner with these organizations to train veterans for jobs in today's economy," said DWS Director Artee Williams. "The DWS veterans representatives at the Arkansas Workforce Centers stand ready to assist veterans who return from deployment and find themselves unemployed. This grant will help us train and assist these men and women who have given their time, effort and heart to serving our country."
Veterans who meet one of the following criteria may qualify for the program:
• veterans with service-connected disabilities;
• those who have significant barriers to employment such as a lack of education and work experience;
• veterans who served on active duty during a war, campaign or expedition; and
• veterans who apply within 48 months of discharge from the military.
ARVets is a nonprofit organization that links various veterans organizations together. Because of its partnerships with these organizations, ARVets will provide intake, assessment and case management services for veterans selected for the program. Participants will complete the Arkansas Career Readiness Certificate process, which provides a workplace credential that assures employers that they have workplace skills for 21st century jobs.
The ARVets case manager also will assess the veteran to determine if supportive services, such as health care, counseling, rehabilitation and other services, are needed. Once the needs have been identified, an Individualized Employment Plan will be developed.
"ARVets is excited about this opportunity to expand services to our veterans here in Arkansas," said Nicole Hart, founder and CEO of ARVets. "Of the significant number of applicants nationwide who applied, we are fortunate to be one of the few selected. This grant will allow many veterans the opportunity to receive job training, not only increasing their opportunities, but strengthening the quality of the workforce here in Arkansas. ARVets is proud to be on the frontlines of this fight."
Once a plan is developed, the veteran will be referred to one of the 22 two-year colleges or one of the seven apprenticeship programs. AATYC represents the two-year colleges and will oversee the coordination and training for selected participants.
"This grant is exactly what our colleges need in order to provide support services tailored to meet the unique needs of veterans," said Dr. Ed Franklin, the AATYC executive director. "AATYC and Arkansas two-year colleges are proud to partner with the Department of Workforce Services, ARVets and the Arkansas Apprenticeship Coalition on this important project."
The Arkansas Apprenticeship Coalition will assist with recruiting and training participants who choose to pursue an apprenticeship program.
Upon completion of a training program, DWS veterans staff will assist with job placement. Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program Specialists and Local Veterans' Employment Representatives will work with employers and job seekers to assist with their employment needs. The two-year colleges and apprenticeship programs also will assist with job placement upon graduation.
For more information, veterans should contact ARVets at (501) 246-5341 or a DWS veterans representative. A listing can be found at www.ARJobLink.com.