WSOS is one of six Community Action Agencies in Ohio offering the Ohio Vocation, Education, Training & Services (Ohio VETS) program, which is supported by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, R- Ripley.
“Veterans who sacrificed to keep our homeland safe should never have to worry about being homeless,” Brown said. “That’s why community-based programs such as OACAA’s Ohio VETS 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.”
The year-long pilot program is aimed at assisting veterans whose incomes are no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline. That is, for a single person, the annual income should be no more than $22,340; for a two- person household, it should be no more than $30,260; a three-person household, no more than $38,180; a four-person household, no more than $46,100. WSOS will help determine income eligibility.
“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, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 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.”
As the name indicates, the program offers education and training to assist veterans in finding meaningful employment at a living wage, and provides 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. It will not only aid our veterans and local heroes, but will enhance the economic security of Ohio,” said Neil McCabe, President/CEO of WSOS.
Participants will be provided with a case manager dedicated to serving veterans. The case manager will meet with the veteran and his/her family to determine the family’s needs, any barriers to self-sufficiency and create short- and long-term goals, with the ultimate objective of attaining meaningful employment and overcoming economic instability. The veteran will then participate in education, training and supportive services, or will be referred to other services that can help them attain their goals.
Services provided through the program include resume-building, interviewing techniques, computer literacy, vocational training, and WSOS will work with area employers to help them understand the benefits of hiring veterans/these program participants. Supportive services include such assistance as rental and mortgage assistance, utilities assistance, transportation, clothing, food, financial literacy training, life skills, parenting skills, school readiness for children, emergency assistance, and mental health services. WSOS will partner with other community agencies to provide all needed services to the veteran.
For information about participating in this program, veterans should call Ken Sayre at 419-334-8911.